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March 23, 2001

Vijay Singh


VIJAY SINGH: I never had -- I was never in position to -- this close to the lead before. I've always been just making the cut or something like that. It's a good feeling.

Q. It seemed like this was the worst -- (inaudible) -- you were hitting the ball really well, but nothing wanted to go in?

VIJAY SINGH: It started off, I made two really bad mistakes. I had a lot of mud on the second shot on No. 2, and it was on the right side. And normally the ball goes right, and the mud is on the right, so I aimed left and it went really left. Then I hit a bad pitch shot. And then a decent drive on No. 5; and, again it blocked -- indecisive with the club in there and hit a bad shot. Besides that, I played pretty decent. It was kind of a little up-and-down round. The wind was switching and dying and coming up, and the greens were getting firm. So I wasn't really comfortable today as much as I wanted to be.

Q. You've played your best golf on the weekends in the last few tournaments --?

VIJAY SINGH: Hopefully, I can take it out there and, you know, play even better this weekend. I think I need to. I feel like I have some good rounds left in me in the weekend over here. I'm feeling comfortable about my golf game and driving the ball good, which is very important out here. I'm actually looking forward to the weekend. I think that I have a better than good shot to win this thing.

Q. Is it ironic in a national publication, they point out the home-course advantage, but they never say anything when you are not?

VIJAY SINGH: There is a little fact there involved. But when you are not playing well, I guess they are not interested in you. I guess, you know, any time you play in your own backyard, you feel a little familiar with the golf course. I know a few things about the golf course, the bounces and where not to hit it. So that is quite important when you are up in the lead, and being aware not to hit is better than not knowing where to go. I feel at ease on the golf course for the first time this year. So, it's nice.

Q. Did it play just about the way that you had expected?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, the wind got really strong there at the half. But I played pretty ordinary today. I didn't play as good as I played yesterday, but, you know, got away with a good score. That's important not to give away too many shots out there. I gave a few today -- I would have been happy at even par, put it this way.

Q. Going into the weekend, do you notice the fact that you are more experienced than some of the other guys up at the top in some factor?

VIJAY SINGH: Anytime you play on the weekend, you want to know what's going. I'm a leaderboard watcher. I want to know what's going on. I think it is out there for our advantage. Especially on Sunday, if you are coming down the stretch and you don't know what your peers are doing, then it is a disadvantage. If you know what you are doing, and being in a position to win, it is good to know what you have to do. I think it's -- you know, I like to watch the leaderboard and to see all of those guys up there. Scott Hoch has experience, and Azinger, he has played here more times than most guys. Seems like he's playing well.

Q. How much of a priority have you made it -- how important would it be to contend in this tournament, with the strength of the field and the fact that it is in your backyard?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, it is not a major, but probably as close to a major as you can ever get. This is the beginning of the season. You play around here and everybody talks about this tournament. This is one of my priorities, to win this one, when I started the beginning of the year. You know, if you do that -- or you don't, then you concentrate on the majors. But right now, if I can pull this one off, it would be great.

Q. You took a couple weeks off before Bay Hill to come down here and practice. Was that important in hindsight?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I played four rounds of golf before Bay Hill, and it was important because the golf course was windy. It was a little wet, but it was really nice to play, and also the rough was longer than what it is now; they cut it down. So getting used to all that, and put in the back of your mine that the golf course is tough, and this is what you need to do, is hit the fairways and it paid off.

Q. How close are the greens to where, you know, Fred Klauk would like to have them on a Saturday or Sunday?

VIJAY SINGH: It's hard and it's getting crusty, and I think it is going to get even harder. The fairways are drying out, which is, you know, will make the golf course play a lot shorter. But it is going to bring the rough in play, so it is important to keep it straight.

End of FastScripts....

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