June 1, 2001
JAMES CRAMER: We have Vijay Singh with us, with the low round of the day, to this point, with a 6-under par 66, for an 8-under par 136 total. Good playing, Vijay. Why don't we begin by going over your birdies, if we could.
VIJAY SINGH: 5, I hit a driver to the right rough. I hit a 7-wood out of the bunker. Blast out about four feet. 7, I hit a driver into the bunker and I blast out about 15 feet. Blast out and made birdie. Ninth hole, I hit a driver, sand wedge about eight feet. 14, I hit a 4-iron, sand wedge about ten feet. Then I hit a driver, 3-wood about 20 feet and 2-putted. Then hit an 8-iron about 20 feet and made it.
JAMES CRAMER: Questions for Vijay.
Q. The wind seems to be whipping pretty good, with the rain and the delay, how is it possible that people are scoring like you are scoring and Azinger is scoring?
VIJAY SINGH: Coming down, there's downhill holes. You've got 13 that is downwind, 14 that is downwind, and then 16, 17, 18. Even though the golf course is playing long, downwind holes, it makes it easier for you to hit 3-woods off the tee and medium to short irons onto the greens. With the short irons in your hand and greens like this, you are going to make birdie.
Q. Any part of your game you are particularly pleased with? What carried you today?
VIJAY SINGH: I guess my iron play. I've been hitting my irons -- I've been working on my irons for the last few weeks, and it's coming around. It's good to see them going close to the holes again. Obviously, you need to make putts, and I did make a few today.
Q. Any difference in the greens after the delay?
VIJAY SINGH: No. The greens are so good, though, it was a little softer than when we played the practice round. They were as fast, I thought, and didn't slow down much. That's about all. Just a little softer. They are rolling the same, I thought.
Q. Was it easier on approaches?
VIJAY SINGH: You can fly it by the flags instead of waiting for the big first bounce and attack.
Q. You have a pretty good record here. Do you like the course? Does it set up well for you?
VIJAY SINGH: I think the conditions are so perfect every time you come here; it makes you want to play good golf. The fairways are pretty generous. When you drive the ball a fairly good distance, you can actually open up your shoulders and give it a whack. The fairways are so wide, especially on the par 5's, that you can actually go ahead and take a rip and take advantage of the par 5's.
Q. I notice you were in the bunker on both the par 5's on the front side. Is that something where you are just ripping it, saying, "If I go in the bunker I'm going to blast on out?"
VIJAY SINGH: No. One I pulled and one I pushed. (Laughs). You don't really play for the bunkers.
Q. Jack didn't really like the lift, clean and place today. What did you think?
VIJAY SINGH: I think it is good that we played it. Otherwise, we would be hitting a lot of shots from the rough, because it was all casual. You can't help it, it gets so wet. You need to place the ball. Sometimes you don't need to take casual because you've got the ball in hand. Really, it doesn't make that much difference. The fairways are so good all the time. Around the greens are a little different. I took advantage on 14, I was right up against the collar. I could move it club length and I made the putt. Little things like that, you can take advantage of. The fairways, you've got the ball in hand, it's really the best fairways I've ever played, anyway.
Q. You may be playing tomorrow with Paul Azinger, and given his tie to Payne Stewart, he's looked at as an emotional favorite, maybe, of the crowd. Do you have any concern that people would be rooting for him tomorrow and against you?
VIJAY SINGH: No, absolutely not. I'm just going to concentrate on my game. Paul is a good friend of mine. I actually enjoy playing golf with him. We'll just have a good time out there. I don't think the crowd is going to be like that. I think they are pretty fair over here.
Q. You guys played a practice round Tuesday, didn't you?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah. Nine holes.
Q. Have you ever been in a situation where they are rooting against you?
VIJAY SINGH: You find that in your career sometimes. You have conditions -- the situation now and then, but you just deal with it the best you can. If you let that bother you, then you are going to be the loser.
Q. Do you remember where that was?
VIJAY SINGH: No. But you have to kind of let that feed into your own game. You kind of have to let that situation fire you up, more than anything else, and I don't really take notice of that. Kind of fires me up more than anything else.
Q. Where were you when the delay hit?
VIJAY SINGH: I just hit my second shot on 3.
Q. Are you enough of a veteran that delays like that don't bother you? I heard you say outside that you thought it might be good for you?
VIJAY SINGH: You came back -- it was good that stopped the momentum. I went out and hit balls again. Warmed up. Just like a new round again, because I only had played three holes. But I got a chance to eat something, have a coffee, whatever. Go out and start fresh again. With the condition of the greens slowing up a little bit, you could fly the ball more towards the pins. The wind kind of got up, so that kind of evened things out.
Q. Are you a pretty good wind player normally? Some guys can handle the wind a little better, knocking the ball down, certain situations, and so forth?
VIJAY SINGH: I'm not bad. I'm okay. The wind blows like it is today, I can handle it. It blows any harder, I guess it's hard to judge distance and all that. I'm a pretty high ball hitter, so I can manipulate my shots a little bit. I'm doing it okay -- the wind stays probably no more than 20, 25. If it gets more than that, then it is going to be a problem.
Q. Was it an easier wind today because it seemed to be steadier; yesterday was swirling a little bit more, a little gustier?
VIJAY SINGH: A little bit, but it was stronger today, so it kind of evens things out. It was a little different direction, as well. Playing at 16, 17, 18, were all downwind. So made the golf course a lot easier.
Q. When you won here in '97, the weather condition were very poor. Is it similar this year, and does that affect you at all?
VIJAY SINGH: I don't think so. I just hope it goes 72 holes. I'm playing good enough and the conditions here -- it's going to bother me if it's only for me, but it's for everybody. I'm just going to go out there and play my game and whatever the condition happens, let it be.
Q. We've had a lot of records fall on Tour this year. You shot a 63 in a major championship. Do you think that is a record that could fall this year?
VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. We'll have to wait and see. (Laughs). I have no idea. I mean, Southern Hills is a tough golf course. They made it tougher. I know Lytham St. Annes, they added new bunkers. I know Atlanta Athletic Club is a long golf course and they have lengthened the tees. So they are doing things to make the golf course much harder to stop us from shooting low numbers. I think it will be -- it's going to be harder for us to shoot low numbers.
JAMES CRAMER: Vijay, thank you very much.
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