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May 24, 2001

Vijay Singh


GORDON SIMPSON: Nice to see you winning honorary membership on the Tour. I'm sure that means a lot to you.

VIJAY SINGH: It would be nice. I like this golf course. I've played here many, many a time. Haven't really played this condition. I think the match play, you couldn't bounce the ball on the green with a 3-wood; here you can't even stop it with a wedge. The golf course is playing a lot different than when I played. The last four or five match-plays, it's always been wet. It's going to be different.

GORDON SIMPSON: How about your own game? You've had a very consistent season, with the two wins in Asia; you've been really close in the States a few times.

VIJAY SINGH: I'm hitting it good. I think my whole game is in form right now, and especially my putter. Two years or one year ago, I was ranked over 100 in putting and now I'm No. 1 in America, which is -- it's a lot to say. It takes a lot of pressure off your short game and your approaches to greens. So, when you can miss the green and hit it to six or eight foot and have a good chance of making it, I think the putter has got a lot in it. But, I'm very, very comfortable with my swing. I know exactly why I do mistakes and why not. So, if you know all those factors, then it's a lot easier to play the game. Right now, there's not too many things going wrong.

GORDON SIMPSON: How long have you been No. 1 in the putting stats?

VIJAY SINGH: For this year, I am. So, I don't know how long that's been going on. Probably won't last forever.

Q. Where are you in the other categories?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm pretty decent in pretty much most of it. Driving accuracy is probably the worst category right now, because I use a lot of drivers doesn't mean I'm driving it badly. If I start hitting irons off the tee and all that, it's definitely going to improve. That's not one of my forte, though.

Q. Have you made a radical change in your putting technique?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I've gone to the long one.

Q. Have you been using that all this year?

VIJAY SINGH: For a year right now.

Q. That is the reason why?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, it's more comfortable, and I'm releasing the putter a lot differently than what I used to. It's always the same release right now, and I've seen on the putting green, there's quite a few guys that are going to do the same thing. Sandy, the other guys, so it's one of the best ways I've ever putted. It shows in my stats.

Q. Ian Woosnam stopped using his because he said he could not use it on quicker greens so he's gone back to the short one. Do you find any disadvantages at all with the longer one?

VIJAY SINGH: I think Woosnam was anchoring it on his chest, but I've got it -- I'm actually putting very conventional. You know, if you cut it out from where I extended it, it's my old putter. I'm holing it exactly the same way. All it's doing is anchoring it in my belly and releasing the putter like I do with the short one but it's releasing exactly the same way all the time but my axis is my belly. So, I think was I had a different way of putting, and Sam's old style, if he's still using it, was also anchoring it under his chin. This is a long putter, but not as long as what was I was using.

Q. How much more are we going to see you in Europe?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't know, probably Loch Lomond and -- definitely the Loch Lomond and, definitely the British Open, German Masters, I'm not sure yet. Most likely, I'm going to do my 11.

Q. What are your expectations when you comeback now? Are they higher than they were previously because of success in America?

VIJAY SINGH: I think so. I come all the way here. I expect to win. That's the way I approach every golf tournament I've played in America for the last two or three years. And also, it depends on how you are playing at that particular time. I'm playing pretty decent right now, so I feel like I can go out there and play, and play well. But then again, golf is the kind of game --

Q. But do you expect to win more in Europe than say you would in the States?

VIJAY SINGH: Not necessarily. I think the competition is pretty much the same everywhere. The players, the calibre of playing is the same. The golf courses, you've got to get used to it a little bit, but when I tee it up, I expect to win. Whether I do or not, it's another story.

Q. Do you see a big rise in quality in the European Tour?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I think the depth is a lot better here. There's a lot of young guys. I think the average -- I was talking to my caddy today and he says there's more younger players in their 20s here in Europe than there is in America. And I can't even recognise 90 percent of the guys; they are all new and young, but it's good to see that. I think -- give it another year or so, you're going to hear of a lot of good young guys that are going to be contending, or even in the States.

Q. The problem is then a lot of these young players are going over to the States. You're in a position better than most players to compare the two tours, and how do you see the two of them comparing?

VIJAY SINGH: I think being comfortable is one. The players in Europe are very comfortable over here. Just like the Japanese players in Japan. They can compete in America, but they are more comfortable at home. In America, it's a little bit more serious, like here you can talk to other players and be a lot more friendly than in America. They are more business-like over there. The conditions of the golf course are suited more for the American guys in America. Here the golf courses are suited for the Europeans. So, when you go over there, it's -- you know, everything is so manicured and everything is for the players, and I think sometimes it's overwhelming to know that you go over there and you get a shock or a surprise at how good everything is. I've spoken to Coceres, he's enjoying playing in America; he's won over there, but he says it's different, because, you know, there's no friends in America. He's alone over there. He goes back to his room and that's it after a game of golf. Over here, you can go out and have fun with other players and that's what you don't find too much in the States.

Q. Do you see a time when we can compete?

VIJAY SINGH: Sure. The guys over here right now, they are as good or even better.

Q. I was thinking actually more in terms of courses, facilities, money?

VIJAY SINGH: I'm sure -- like this golf course here, it is in great shape. I've never seen the golf course in this shape before. It's in magnificent conditions. The greens are perfect. They have done things to the golf course to make it harder. Obviously, the grass and the condition of the greens are going to be different because of the weather conditions over here, but it's improving. I mean, you're playing more -- better golf here versus than ever before. I think the conditions of the golf course, the standards of the golf course and the place are just going to go better and better.

Q. You still have a home over here?

VIJAY SINGH: I do, yes.

Q. Home and in America?

VIJAY SINGH: I have one in America, yes. No, I have one in Malaysia, as well.

Q. How much a part do you think playing your early years in Europe has meant to the golfer you are now, how big a part do you think that played in that?

VIJAY SINGH: I think it helped me a lot. When I first came over here, I had done a lot of hitting. I practised very hard on my game, but I didn't know how to play the game as well. Playing different golf courses, different countries over here, travelling the way did I and seeing players like Seve at their prime, Faldo, Sandy; I did play a lot of practice rounds with guys like that. And it's experience, really. No matter how long you play in the game, I mean, no matter what work you do, experience is one of the biggest factors in success and I think playing over here, you learn how to start the ball a lot more solidly. You have different condition, different grasses and obviously different weather conditions over here. It's helped me a lot. I think that's the way I learned how to play golf is here, in Europe and I'm happy to be there.

Q. Any courses in America where you bounce over a green using a wedge?

VIJAY SINGH: You can get a lot of greens are really hard and firm, but it's different over there. If you get harder conditions, you know, one week the players are going to be really happy with the conditions of the greens, and then, you know -- there was a -- two years ago when all of the players were saying, well, we need harder and firmer greens. The Tour did that and the players complained so much that, you know, the conditions got a lot softer. You cannot please the players, for some reason.

Q. It's the high-ball hitters against the low-ball hitters?

VIJAY SINGH: Guys like Paul Azinger, he's hitting the ball very low and he's one of the guys who spoke out about firm greens. And, there was other guys doing that, but -- and then when they made the greens softer, the guys are complaining about soft greens. So you can't really win. I'm one that I complain about the firmness of the greens; have never been firm enough. Those greens, I've always thought that the conditions of the golf course should be as tough as they can make it. The tougher the golf course, the better players come out. You know, one week, it's that way and the next week it's different.

Q. So, coming to this course from the U.S. tour, it's a quick adjustment, you don't need time?

VIJAY SINGH: Also, the rain played a big factor. They may have perfect condition golf courses set up the way they need to, and then it rains for an afternoon and it's gone. Like TPC for instance, I don't know if you guys were there, but the golf course was great and I was looking forward to playing on Sunday and then it rained so it becomes, you know -- and the guys are really good ball-strikers now. No matter where you play, if you give them soft greens, they are going to score well.

Q. How do you get about in America? Do you share a jet or do you have your own?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I'm in a program where you share a jet with a company. You buy a share in a jet.

Q. And it's where you want it when you want it?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, exactly. There's a lot of guys doing that right now. It's so convenient. You know you don't lose your luggage, you don't lose your golf bag; it's always with you. For instance, flying home from Dallas to home, if I had to fly commercial, I'd finish my game of golf at 3:30, for instance. I'd go to the airport at 4:30, in the plane and in the air by 4:30, really. I was home by 7:30. But if I had gone commercial, the flight was leaving at 7:00, so I have to be there early, and considering the delays and all that, not necessarily you fly straight to where I'm going, you have to go to Atlanta, change a plane, go home and be home at ten o'clock at night. Plus, your bags, you never know if you're going to get your bag.

Q. I'm not asking you what you pay, but what is the sort of price per year for that kind of service?

VIJAY SINGH: Depends on the aircraft you take. The bigger aircraft, the more you pay. The smaller aircrafts, the smaller you pay.

Q. 100,000 U.S.?

VIJAY SINGH: A little bit more than that I would say. You can pay hourly fares, as well. You buy hourly -- you buy a plane by the hours, and if you're in the program, first you put up front -- you buy a share of the plane and then you pay for 100 hours or 50 hours and then on top of that you pay --

Q. A retainer?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really. For an hour, for instance, for the bigger aircrafts, it's more than $2,000 an hour, $3,000 an hour. The smaller aircrafts are $1,500. So it's a lot of factors involved. That includes the maintenance of the airplane.

Q. Little change in the 12th hole here. Any comment?

VIJAY SINGH: It's very good, I think. It's a lot longer, and the little burn they have in front makes a lot of changes. In one way, it's easier because if you are 220 yards from the green in the rough you don't really want to go for it, you can lay up, now you know there's a burn there. You won't see too many high scores if you are in the rough because guys know you are not going to go for the green; you are going to lay up.

Q. Are you going to go to this meeting tonight?

VIJAY SINGH: No. Definitely not.

Q. Compulsory?

VIJAY SINGH: I'll let the guys fight it out here.

GORDON SIMPSON: We'll let you go back to the putting green and work on your stats.

End of FastScripts....

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