March 24, 2001
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, FLORIDA
LEE PATTERSON: A nice 70 today, and in very good position as we head into the final round of THE PLAYERS Championship. Maybe just a couple of thoughts about that, and then we'll open it up to questions.
VIJAY SINGH: Looking forward to tomorrow. I'm playing really good, striking the ball the way I feel I should be doing it, and rolling the putter very good, too. I'm not making enough putts, but they are going close enough to the hole. I'm due for a nice round here on Sunday, and I think tomorrow will be the one.
Q. That's the question I wanted to ask you, Vijay. You've obviously got to feel comfortable because you burned that hole all day today and made the putts that you had to make. I wonder your thoughts there?
VIJAY SINGH: I hit a lot of greens, a lot of good iron shots. The greens were getting really hard and fast, especially hard. It was difficult to attack a few pins out there. So I played very safe, but aggressive/safe. If I had to go for a pin, I did. But, you know, I don't think I made my share of putts this week, yet. I think tomorrow will be the one, hopefully.
Q. We could not tell on TV, you were over to the right of the 13th. Were you in that bunker or just kind of on the upslope of it?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, it was just in -- on the slope. It was a fairly simple shot. I was -- the ball was lying really good, as well. I had my line set, and I knew I was going to get it close. I didn't know it was going to go in.
VIJAY SINGH: Sand wedge.
Q. Tiger said on TV just now that he thinks the greens are almost unputtable right now. Do you feel the same way; that they are getting dangerously tough and fast?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, they are getting fast. I don't know if they are unputtable. They are just getting a little bumpy towards the end of the day. They need to feed them a little bit of water, I think; otherwise there will not be any grass left by tomorrow. They are getting a little bit on the dicey side. But if you hit decent shots and you are on the correct side of the holes, I think you should be all right.
Q. When was the last time you played this well for this long? I can't remember the last time you were not on a leaderboard.
VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. Must be a long time ago. I don't know, I don't keep that kind of stat.
Q. When you went to 9-under on No. 4, you really started getting on a roll there with your putter, and 5 and 6, you really had great chances for birdie there, and you probably could have been maybe 10-under right there. I know today you said you didn't make enough putts, but really your putts --?
VIJAY SINGH: They were getting close. That's what I mean. They were getting close, but they were not going in. Like the one on 18 and the one on 15, and you could keep going on and on. I hit one bad shot. It was on 7. There was a lot of mud on the ball, and, again, you know, I hit too much club.
Q. Did the wind take that shot?
VIJAY SINGH: No. It was just a lot of mud and I again calculated the mud and the spin wrong. So I aimed it left hoping that the -- but it was totally the wrong club and probably a bad shot, too.
Q. That was the only bad one on the front nine for you?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, but I'm hitting the ball solid. I've been doing it all week. I'm really comfortable with my golf swing. I'm not fighting where I'm going to hit it. I'm aiming it and I'm striking it. So I feel really comfortable and confident about my golf swing. Hopefully I can continue tomorrow and pull it off.
Q. You said after yesterday's round, that you have a better than good chance to win this thing. Do you feel like that now that the No. 1 player in the world has moved up the leaderboard?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I still feel that I have a better than good chance of winning. If I'm scared of who is up there on the leaderboard, I'll probably be doing something else. I'm pretty confident of my ability to play well tomorrow. If I play well and not win, so be it. But I'm not going to, you know, sit back and let other people roll over me. It's not going to happen.
Q. Also, you said you are a leaderboard watcher; you like to watch the leaderboard. Were you surprised to see Jerry Kelly stay there all day, someone who has never won an event and never back down from it?
VIJAY SINGH: I heard some of his interviews, and he's hitting a lot of fairways. If you are playing well and hitting fairways you are going to give yourself a lot of opportunities. The problem on this golf course starts if you stop hitting fairways. I know he's capable of winning a golf tournament. Just has not happened. Maybe this is the week for him.
LEE PATTERSON: Can you go over your birdies real quick for us?
VIJAY SINGH: Second hole, I hit a 3-wood just short of the green. Chipped it about eight feet and holed the putt. Fourth hole, I hit a driver, sand wedge about four feet. 7, mud on the ball, over the green, blah, blah, blah. 13, I hit a 9-iron and chipped it in. That was about 20, 25 feet. 16, I hit a driver, 5-iron just left and pitched it. Didn't go in. Good one, went by. 17, just over the green. Put it down six or eight feet and missed the putt. So I made bogey there. And that's it.
Q. How did you feel making the turn? I know you missed some putts and you could have been lower, but did you feel good about maybe the second nine?
VIJAY SINGH: I told my caddy, who was getting a little bit excited. I said, "Listen, we cannot win the golf tournament today. We can lose it today, but we cannot win it. So just be calm and keep going." It's important to be patient out there on Saturday, because on a golf course like this, you can lose it very easily. That was my key: You know, play a solid round and if you blow this hole, that's fine, but tomorrow is the day we've got to go ahead and do the business.
Q. Why was he getting so excited getting swept up in the crowd and the emotion all of that? Excitable?
VIJAY SINGH: He's an exciting man, you know. (Laughs).
LEE PATTERSON: Probably emotional.
VIJAY SINGH: You could say that. But he's good for me. Keeps me up there.
Q. There's supposed to be some kind of front coming through. Do you not just worry about that until tomorrow?
VIJAY SINGH: It's going to be a front for everybody in the field. I'm just happy to be here playing tomorrow and in contention to win. If I start worrying about the weather, then, you know, it's something else I've got to worry about. I've got to worry about my golf game tomorrow.
Q. Since you are at home, what kind of routine will you have tonight and tomorrow?
VIJAY SINGH: Same as yesterday.
Q. Which was?
VIJAY SINGH: Which was, have dinner and be with my little boy and my wife, and I've got some friends staying at home, too. Just enjoy the evening.
Q. Does your son send you out with any goodies to bring you luck?
VIJAY SINGH: He has not done that yet. Hopefully tomorrow, he will give me something. (Smiles).
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