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August 18, 1999

Vijay Singh


LEE PATTERSON: Thank you. We appreciate you spending some time with us this morning. I know this was a special run for you last year. Kind of a good couple of weeks in a row with some pretty good big-time tournaments going on. Just a couple comments about that, then we will open it up for questions.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah. Last week, obviously, was a big week. This week, I am defending over here. It is always nice. I think it is one of the favorite courses for all the players. Next week, it is a new event. Used to be the World Series. Now it is a special event, a lot of money. So you have a great field. Next week, I think you are going to have the strongest field of any Tours events except for the Majors. The Ryder Cup guys are there and The Presidents Cup. So everybody is playing at their best right now, who is playing next week. We are looking forward to it.


Q. Have you been on the golf course yet, had a practice round? And have you seen any of the new changes on the golf course?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I think the green on No. 8 has changed a little bit. They have done a little bit -- I think they added another extra tee on the back and widened the front of the greens, so it is going to be a lot better green than what it used to be. Not so severe now, so you can actually approach the green -- because we always have to cut the ball into the green there and most of the time when you go in the back left, and it is a hard shot to get close to the pin; now you can actually hit the green that way. Other one is the 13th hole, they have widened the back of the green and there is a little bit more room on the front so it is going to be a different -- a lot more pin placement on 13, put it this way. Apart from that, the golf course is playing really good. The greens are really, really nice. It is nice to be putting on good greens again. (laughs) So it will be, I think it will be a great golf course to shoot low scores.

Q. Can you evaluate the state of your game now as opposed to a year ago this time?

VIJAY SINGH: I feel that I am playing -- my swing is a lot better this year than it was any other year I have ever played. Just that right now, after last week, I am in a little bit of a lull. I have got to get out of that. My confidence is really good, but my golf swing is not as good as what it was three, four weeks ago. So just have to get out of that and start hitting some good shots. I think it is more mental than physical right now, so I just -- I am playing well. I am feeling good about my game and all I need to do is go out there and just trust it and play with it.

Q. Last year you had a pretty good double PGA international two weeks, how hard is it to keep winning like that and like, for instance, how hard would it be for Tiger now to come here and win or is it better?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, you are riding confidence. He has played well for the last four, five weeks and his confidence is sky high right now. I won't be surprised if he goes out there and shoots real low numbers again. It is not -- the pressure of you coming over here and all the pressure of last week is the only pressure he is going to have. But on the golf course I think he will be more free and; his confidence will be sky high, just go out there and play it and let it happen like I did last year. I don't think it is going to affect anybody winning as much the following week than the pressure of the press and what you have to do off the golf course than on the golf course.

Q. You talked a little bit about your swing there. Can you give us a little assessment on your putting right now and how your confidence level is with the putter?

VIJAY SINGH: Putter is the best thing that is going for me right now. (laughs). I have been working on it since last year and each week it is getting better and better, so I have no fear of going on the greens and not making a putt. I feel comfortable on the greens right now and I think it is just going to get better. I feel very comfortable and it is more used to what I am doing, and I am not trying anything new. I am just going out there; it is a good routine.

Q. You like the combination of being real confident with the putter right now and playing on these greens?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, the problem with these, greens you have got to read the breaks very well. You have got to know which way the valley and the way they are breaking make look like a very straight putt and it is not. If you can deal with that and find those little pointers that you need to know about these greens, you will be okay.

Q. You have been through the hot streaks and the lulls. Are we beyond the days, though, where a player can be so on his game that he can win, 8, 11 tournaments a year or is the competition just so much stronger now including the foreign players?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, it is really hard to go out there and win 6, 7 tournaments unless you are really playing well. Because there are so many guys out there that can win. Go out there now and on the draw sheet seeing who can win, you can pick out every player out there that can win. That is the hard part right now. It is so many guys that can go out there and win, it is incredible. Used to be five, six years ago, you can pick out 20 players and that is it. But now everybody can win. Everybody is playing well and that is why if you are not playing well, you are going to miss the cut. That is the way it is. If you are playing well, you are going to win the tournament. That is the difference. It is a very fine line, not playing well and playing well. So that is why I think you won't see that many winners, multiple winners.

Q. Does it bother you that the media and everybody wants to give the attention to Tiger, Sergio and David Duval and what you had accomplished last year kind of gets kind of pushed back in the background a little bit?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really. I mean, I think the golf right now is focused on the present. It is not what has been. Whoever is playing well, like this week, focus is on Tiger and Sergio and Duval is put on the side. I don't know how his reaction is. It would be nice to know what he thinks. I think it takes -- I think it is good for him because he can go out and do what he wants to do. That is the same with me. There was a lot of attention on me last year and this year it is fine. I just feel comfortable going out there not worrying about what I have to do off the golf course, just go out and do what I need to do. My schedule is much easier to follow, if I am just concentrating on my golf and whatever I have to do afterwards. To some point it is a little bit of a bother if you have to have a schedule of every one hour what you need to do off the golf course. It becomes a headache after a while. I just -- I am very comfortable with what I am doing right now.

Q. You and Tiger and David are all fairly serious in terms of your expressions on the golf course. You got a new kid on the block who is running up-and-down fairways and people are getting excited about it. What is your take on that and how do you feel about that if you had him as a playing partner?

VIJAY SINGH: If I had hit the shot on the 16th like he did, I probably would run up the fairway. But he is very young, he is 19 still. He is excited about what he is doing, all the good things that is happening for him. Give him a little bit more time, he is going to simmer up and get a little bit more serious. He is enjoying it and if I was 19 -- I can't remember what I was doing at 19. Probably just as excited as he was just trying to play golf. When you have a 19 year old going out there and almost winning a major event? It is hardly ever. Think the last was Gene Sarazen that did that. It is something new. It is exciting for golf. I think it is really good for golf. You got somebody else from another country that is pulling away all the crowd too, so that is good. You pick up the paper on Monday, it is all about what Sergio did. Tiger is pushed a side a little bit, and he was the winner. It is different. I think it is good. It is going to get better.

Q. Why do you think that is, that -- I mean, he didn't win the tournament; he finished second, what is there about him that makes him so popular?

VIJAY SINGH: Maybe if he hadn't hit that shot on 16; if he had hit the fairway, hit it on the green and 2-putted, nobody would talk about it. Everybody would have said, well, that is it. But that one shot made everything happen and running up the fairway; doing what he did, I think that is what did everything. He is exciting. He is a very nice guy. He comes to you as really a chippy person, talks to you, jokes around and that is unheard of for a top guy to do that. Normally they are very serious. But I mean, he is 19, what do you expect?

End of FastScripts….

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