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April 3, 2002

Vijay Singh


VIJAY SINGH: My focus is how I am going to play the golf course tomorrow. My goal coming out tomorrow morning is to go out there and play the golf course the best I can and not worry about next week. If you start thinking about next week this week then you might as well not play here.

Q. You already mastered that course already with that 63, right?

VIJAY SINGH: (Laughs) yeah, different conditions though.

Q. How fast were the greens that day when you shot that round?

VIJAY SINGH: It was rolling about 11, I would say. It's always fast there.

Q. You made everything, I heard.

VIJAY SINGH: I played well. Yeah.

Q. How is your overall game heading into this weekend, heading into the Masters, are you comfortable where you are at?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I am. My whole game is very good, I would say. I did miss-hit one or two shots but that's understandable. Just try to do what I am doing last week this week and see if I can take it onto next week. I am playing well and see what is going to happen. Nothing much to say about that.

Q. When you are playing well, does this course set up well for your game?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, it does. I hit a lot of fairways. It is quite wide open. There is no rough. So it is a bomber's golf course. If you hit it long and straight and hitting your irons good; if you are putter is working you are going to make a lot of birdies. I am doing everything well this week. Hopefully I can just let it flow; don't force anything, just let it happen and see what is going to happen.

Q. When you are playing well is it difficult -- I know golfers are always tinkering with their game, working on things. What do you do when you want to just maintain what you are doing, how could you not mess up and just kind of keep a nice groove going?

VIJAY SINGH: You don't overpractice when that happens. You go through your routine before the round and once you finish, you wind down, hit your shots, just go through your bag and just don't overdo things. I would still work on my putting part - the short game you always work a little bit more, but when you are hitting well just keep maintaining a good rhythm and just let it flow. Don't overwork it.

Q. How do you make the decision to play or not to play the week before the major, what factors come into that, whether you want to play the week before a major or get there and just practice?

VIJAY SINGH: If you are struggling with your golf game then you want to kind of take a week off and see if you can fix what you are working on. If you are playing well, it really depends on the golf course. If it's suited to the conditions of the majors, go play, just like a US Open, always Westchester was a week before and that's a great golf course to practice for the U.S. Open. This week, they say it is great practice for Augusta, so -- the terrain over here is, you know, it is undulation fairways, and it is pretty much similar, the trees are very similar to Augusta, and the surrounding is the same. There's no rough around the greens. It makes you kind of have the same kind of feeling. So it's very similar in that sense.

Q. Are you doing something a little different this year like a little more of a pause at the top?

VIJAY SINGH: That's a practice drill that I do and I have been playing with that actually two, three weeks beginning of the year. Right now, I do it on the driving range, just like a drill that I do, just to slow my rhythm down.

Q. Now that you have played the course talk about some of the key holes the swing holes where you can really take advantage and jump up the leaderboard or some holes that may come up and bite you?

VIJAY SINGH: I have got to remember the holes now.

The 3rd hole, little one around the corner, very birdieable hole but then they (inaudible) -- creek in front of it; not a very wide green, lengthwise, it is very narrow in the middle, so judging the distance there is, you know, it's a premium there, if you pick the right club you have got to hit it the right distance as well. The par 5s obviously the par 5s, some of them are -- the 4th hole, I think they said they had a big tree on the right side. Now there's a bunker, makes the golf course a lot harder they say. Then you have got the creek on the left side. You are either going to take the hole on or play safe or make it a 3-shot hole. Most of the holes that really the key -- the water holes is you know where to hit it. If the ball rolls -- if you just miss-hit it you make sure you miss-hit it on the correct side. I think 12 is one like that. 11 is another one that -- just take advantage of par 5s and don't make any mistakes.

Q. Kind of jumping ahead next week to Augusta your impressions of their lengthening the course to the extent that they have, plus or minus, good for you, bad for you your impressions?

VIJAY SINGH: I think if I hit it straight, you know, I am hitting it long, if you hit it straight then it is a big advantage. They say it's for longer hitters, but when I did play there, I mean, it was -- it was so long last year as well but it was wide open. This year it's for longer hitters if you hit it straight. Some of the holes are so narrow, the 7th hole has become a premium for straightness now. 9th hole as well, trees on the right side where you can bail out and still have a decent shot to the green. Going in with a 7-iron to that green is no easy feat. 11 as well, and 14, they all kind of lengthened it but it narrowed the golf course quite a bit. Whoever hits it long and straight is going to, you know, has the chance.

Q. Do you think 18 will still be the most dramatic change?

VIJAY SINGH: I think so. I won't say it's unfair, I would say it is borderline to being almost impossible to get on the green for some of the shorter hitters. I myself hit a pretty good drive and I did play there, and hit a 3-iron onto green, so if I am hitting a 3-iron, some of the other guys are going to have a problem and you have to cut it a little bit too. But it is The Masters and it's supposed to be a good test of golf. We have enough clubs in the bag that you can reach the hole with, so you hit a decent shot you are going to be able to get up.

Q. Hit wedge in there pretty much in 2000...

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I did, wedges and sand wedges, 3-iron (laughs) -- (inaudible).

Q. For a lot of the guys the shorter hitters -- is that a two-shot hole or most of the guys, do you think will be able to get there on 3?

VIJAY SINGH: It really hasn't changed the nature of the hole because wherever I was hitting my 3-wood. I am going to hit my driver now. So it's just taking the 3-wood out of your hand. The shorter hitters are going to pretty much hit a driver to the corner and if they want to take it on, they will, but there won't be too many guys if they miss-hit going for the green and lay-up. They will probably make more birdies, lay-up to that hole and hedge a little sand wedge in, it is no more double-bogeys and, you know, triple-bogeys. More of them are going to come out, so... But it's pretty much the same hole. Just move the tee back like 15 yards, so that's not a big change to that hole.

Q. Are the changes to Augusta are they going to take the experience factor away, like is that the more you play it the better you know the course? Are those changes going to take that away being a past Masters Champ?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't think so. No. I think the experienced players, their experience is all on the greens, you know, got to know where to hit it on the green, what part of the green to miss-hit it on. In that sense it doesn't really affect the experience side. But it is going to affect the shorter hitters a little bit.

Q. It's still who putts the best that week; isn't it really?

VIJAY SINGH: Pretty much and you have got to be pretty accurate with the irons as well because now you are going to be going into a lot longer irons, no more wedges, you know, instead of wedges you will be hitting probably 8- or a 7-iron. Whoever is sharp with their iron shots is going to be right up there.

End of FastScripts....

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