January 13, 2001
LEE PATTERSON: Questions.
Q. How many balls did you hit on the range?
VIJAY SINGH: 30.
Q. It took you a little while to get going, then you got going. Did you start swinging better during the round? How did you round go, in your opinion?
VIJAY SINGH: I was playing pretty good. I had good chances on 1 and 2. I pulled a hook on the third. Kind of shook me up a little bit. It took me maybe three or four holes to get back. I never pulled a shot like that for a while. You know, it was pretty bad. I made par. But then I played pretty solid. I hit a shot that I thought was pretty good on 5, but I hit it in the hazard, made a par of that. I played it out. I birdied 6. Didn't make any putts from there in. I had good chances on 7, 8 and 9. Ernie was playing really good. I told my caddie we just have to worry about him and me, not about Ernie. But on the Back 9, I started to make one or two putts. Momentum just swung. Ernie made a few bogeys; I made a few birdies. All of a sudden it was that big of a gap.
Q. Ernie said he had the sense, with the conditions like that, if you weren't making birdies on certain holes, you were losing ground quickly. Did you get that sense?
VIJAY SINGH: A little bit. Although it was less windier, the greens were much slower. It was hard to stand over an 8- to 10-foot putt and make yourself hit it. Some of the putts out there, it was downhill. With them conditions, you just couldn't make yourself feel like you're going to roll it. You had to really hit it downhill as well. I think that threw Ernie off a little bit. Ever since I rained, his putting, couldn't get up to the holes. He left it well short on No. 12. 14, he left it short. 15 as well. There were good opportunities where he was making all those on the Front 9, but just couldn't get to the hole. I think the putting was the hard part. I started to get the balls to the hole. I told my caddie after the 12th hole, "I'm not going to lead one-putt short. I'm going to get by the hole." That helped a little bit.
Q. Could you give us a big picture sense of what's gone on since last year's Masters with you? Happy with the way things are going?
VIJAY SINGH: I'm working on my golf swing. I have a new caddie, which has really helped me out a lot. He's so positive. He's working with my golf swing more than the previous caddies. Seems like every time I make a bad swing, he pretty much knows and he gets on me and says, "Listen, you can't do that." That is a positive with me. I'm playing good. I'm just waiting for everything to get together. I'm swinging well. I just need to go out there and just enjoy a little bit more, not get so tense with my whole swing that I can't release it. But it's coming along. I'd like to win again. I feel like I'm close to winning. I've got a good opportunity tomorrow if I, you know, do what I need to do. I'm looking forward. I think I'm going to have a good year.
Q. When you hit that hook on 4 -- was it on 4?
VIJAY SINGH: 3.
Q. What did your caddie say?
VIJAY SINGH: We talked about it walking there. He said, "That's not the way we practiced. That's not the swing that we know. Go ahead and trust it and hit it." If I had other caddies, he would have just said nothing. That was a positive right there. He got me to doing what I'm supposed to be doing. That helped a lot.
Q. You and Match Play, in general, do you enjoy it? Is it not a good test for you? Seems like you're a little out of your comfort zone.
VIJAY SINGH: I don't know. I'm a slow starter in Match Play. I just feel like even when I played with that Taniguchi guy, he was four up, but I never thought that I was going to lose the match. But in an 18-hole match, anything can happen. If I get one or two up early, I'm very comfortable. If I'm down, that's the problem with my 18-hole matches, always when I get down, it finishes too quickly, there's no time to catch up. The guys are pretty decent players. Once anybody's up, you know, their tail is up, it's very hard for them to back off. I feel comfortable with my match play. I think I get a little bit too conservative with my game, try to more or less guide the balls early on instead of just let it go. When you're so far down, three or four down, then you start to let it go, the game comes back, but it's too late.
Q. Name of the caddie?
VIJAY SINGH: Paul T-e-s-o-r-i, Tesori. He's an ex-TOUR player. He was on TOUR two years ago. He knows the game pretty well.
Q. You're down 7 to Ernie.
VIJAY SINGH: I was talking to guys on the range. I was 7 down with 8 to play, finished 2 ahead.
Q. What are the chances of that?
VIJAY SINGH: Pretty much never. Ernie was playing pretty good. Never looked like he was going to miss-hit a shot. Hit two bad drives. He hit a bad drive on 15 where everybody was making birdies and eagles. He hit a really bad drive on 18. When you start forcing things, that's what happens. That's pretty much what I didn't do. Although I wasn't making birdies, he was making all the birdies, I just kept very positive and kept playing, knew that there was a lot of holes tomorrow to play, as well.
Q. Today, as well?
VIJAY SINGH: Today, as well. I wasn't making the putts. All week I hadn't made a decent putt until 17 today. He said, "This will be the longest putt you made all week yet." I made that one, and the same on 18. That was a good way to finish.
Q. Can you go over those last four?
VIJAY SINGH: 2-putted 15 from quite a ways out. Made a 6-footer on 16. 18 to 20-footer on 17. Same on 18.
Q. Now that you've had all the success, two majors, you've made it basically, is it hard for you to go out and work as hard on the range? You have a family, you're in your 30s.
VIJAY SINGH: I want to play well. I think I've still got another five years. If you keep physically in good shape, you should be able to play as long as you want to. Look at Greg, for instance. He's probably in better shape than 90% of the guys out here. He just doesn't have the motivation to go out and play. I have. I want to play well. I don't want to come out here and just be part of the show. I want to go out there and win golf tournaments when I tee it up. I'm probably more motivated this year than I've ever been. My family is the same way. My son is growing up. He wants me to play good golf. Same with my wife. It's a good feeling to have when your family is behind you to go play good golf. I want to work hard.
Q. Late in the day when things were changing around, 17 and 18, did you feel like momentum was on your side when you made putts?
VIJAY SINGH: I looked up and saw Rory was 16. All of a sudden he was 13, now he's 16. He was playing 18. As long as he is, I thought he was going to make birdie there, too. 18 holes to go, four shots, you've got to play well. That's what really got me going. I said, "Come on, we've got to make one or two birdies coming in, 17 or 18." I birdied both of them. I was fortunate to make -- the way I was putting, I didn't feel like I had a chance of making them, but they rolled in. Had a good line, good, positive putts. The conditions were so perfect, you know. There was no wind. You could play the shot you wanted to play. If you're swinging well, you're going to make birdies.
Q. When did you switch to the midsize putter, was it after Augusta?
VIJAY SINGH: Yes.
Q. You didn't have that in Augusta?
VIJAY SINGH: Westchester was the first week last year.
Q. You were left hand low before that?
VIJAY SINGH: Still, yeah. I'm putting really good. I've never felt so comfortable with a putter, no matter what the conditions, windy or not. I'm lining my ball up. I've got a mark on my ball where I line my spot. I watched Faxon do it yesterday. He putted great. It was good to know I'm in the same boat as him, lining up the ball the same way (laughter).
Q. Did you say he gave you that tip last year? You talked to somebody.
VIJAY SINGH: No. You know, I've seen many people doing it. Faxon does it. Woods does it, too. All good putters. Must be something there.
Q. The line is pointing towards the target?
VIJAY SINGH: To where you are aiming. I have a mark on my putter, as well. Where those two lines match, I've got the right line. All I need to do is swing it. With the putter I have now, I don't need to work so much with my stroke. Once I get it anchored in there, you know, whatever happens, it swings the same way every time.
Q. Was the wind the same all day or did it die?
VIJAY SINGH: The wind died on the fifth hole for us. Absolutely no wind. It was amazing. Played the 6th hole with no wind. 7th hole, slightly into the wind. Unheard of. The 9th hole, for instance, Ernie hit a 3-wood and 2-iron onto the green. I hit a driver through the fairway. Last three days, two days, couldn't get up there with a driver, driver.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you, Vijay.
VIJAY SINGH: Thank you very much.
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