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April 13, 2002

Vijay Singh


BILLY MORRIS: Ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to have Vijay Singh, who had a 72 today and remains at 9-under par after the third round of the tournament.

Vijay give us some general comments, please about your round, and then we'll go to questions.

VIJAY SINGH: I played pretty decent. I was quite happy with the way I struck the ball. A few mistakes I made out there, but I was really penalized by not bad shots, collected a lot of mud on the balls. You try to play to the fat side of the greens and hope it goes straight, but you make the best swing you can and you look up and the ball is going sideways. Those are the things you don't have any control over.

Besides that, I played pretty good. I'm pleased with the way I struck the ball. Hopefully, I'll go out there and do the same tomorrow.

Q. 15, a mud ball?

VIJAY SINGH: Very much so. I had one on 7 that although I was in the trees, I tried to draw the ball with the mud on one side of it, but it kind of took off the other way.

9 was the same thing.

I got lucky on 10, I had a huge piece of mud but I was standing in water where I could clean it up and hit a decent shot.

15, 17, 18, they were all the same.

Q. What was it, a 5-iron on 15?


Q. And what was the club on 18?

VIJAY SINGH: 5-iron as well.

Q. There were a lot of comments yesterday by players coming off saying that this is very unfortunate for a major to have this kind of weather and conditions. Do you believe that the organizing committee could have done something different or should have done something different, with all of the mud you were getting on the balls this week?

VIJAY SINGH: You know if it's a regular Tour event, we would play the ball up. But, obviously, it's not.

I was speaking to Tom Meeks there and he said in the U.S. Open, it would be the same thing.

I said, "Why don't you play the ball that you can actually clean it and replace it like you do on the greens." It's just unfortunate that that happens. It's totally out of our control, and I don't think they want the Masters to play the ball up, anyway. There's nothing we can do about it.

Q. A lot of guys have been talking about the mud ball situations today. In trying to determine where they are going to go and how much farther they are going to go out of their normal paths. You are a notable practicer, do you ever practice hitting balls with mud on them to see where they go?

VIJAY SINGH: No. (Laughter.)

Q. Because usually you would play lift, clean and place in this situation; did it make it even more unfair because you are not very experienced at hitting mud balls?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, exactly. And with the greens as fast -- normally you can control a little of it and hit lower shots. But the greens this fast, if you hit it low into the greens it skips through. So it's a position where you have no control. We just aim it, pick a club and try to swing the best we can.

Like yesterday, I did not have much mud on the ball because it was much wetter and the ball was skipping, but today there was a little more than yesterday, so it collects mud.

Q. Would you rather play it up?

VIJAY SINGH: I would rather play it up, yeah.

Q. Besides Retief's putting today, you seemed comfortable on the greens.

VIJAY SINGH: He did putt very well. He's a great putter. Look at the U.S. Open; he does the same thing. He didn't hit the ball as good as he wanted to, but he capitalized on the greens.

Q. Mentally is it easier to shake off a bad shot that results from mud on the ball, or is it more infuriating when it's out of your hands?

VIJAY SINGH: You can't really do anything about it. My caddie said, "Just forget it. It's not anything that you can do about it." Really, you can't -- you just have to shake it off and say, "Hey, let's play the next hole, and go out and find the ball and play the best shot that you can." It's just unfortunate. You know, you just have to shake it off, like you said.

Q. When you look at that leaderboard, what do you expect tomorrow? A lot of us are pretty excited.

VIJAY SINGH: Well, you've got, what is there, one, two, three, four five in the World Ranking up there? So, it's going to be a real battle. I mean, the fourth and fifth place, three or four shots back, it's anybody who gets hot tomorrow has got a very good chance of winning. Whoever plays the best, obviously.

Q. Can I ask you, with Woods in this position, how with the way he's playing, how difficult is he to beat in a major situation when he's tied or in the lead?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, obviously, he's been playing very well, and he likes this golf course, and he's defending champion and he's right up there.

I'm not going to go out there worrying about trying to beat him. I'm going to go out there and try to play my game and focus on what I'm doing, and if I play good enough and putt well enough, I think I have a good chance of winning. But if that's not good enough, then, you know, you can't do anything about it.

Q. What's it going to be like for Retief, final group, with Tiger, Sunday at Masters? Is there any advice you would give him?

VIJAY SINGH: I think Retief is pretty comfortable right now. He's playing well. I don't think his heart rate ever gets over 100. (Laughter.) You know, he's just going to maintain his own rhythm and he's in his own world out there. I don't think anything is going to bother him tomorrow.

Q. Your strategy today must be a little different than tomorrow; how do they differ?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm just going to try to play solid tomorrow. It's going to be the same tomorrow, depending what position I am on the back nine. There's a lot of holes out there to catch up, two shots or whatever shots, but if I go out there and make a few early birdies and be calm and don't try to force things, and see what happens. A lot of positions like this, a lot of players force things and that's when they make mistakes. Just play to the fat of the green and take the birdie chances that you can and see what happens.

BILLY MORRIS: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much, Vijay, and good luck tomorrow.

End of FastScripts....

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