June 5, 1999
VIJAY SINGH: Tough day today. A lot of people out there.
LEE PATTERSON: All right. Maybe just a couple thoughts about today and heading into tomorrow. Then we'll open it up for questions.
VIJAY SINGH: I played really good. Missed quite a few putts in the beginning but then got it back. I kept it going, didn't lose my head. Played well. You know, I'm looking forward to tomorrow. If I keep playing the way I am and make a few putts, it will be a nice story tomorrow.
LEE PATTERSON: Any questions?
Q. Take us through 18, Vijay. You were off to the left.
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I pulled my tee shot. The wind, not enough. I wanted to go high, go under the tree. The shot was to play in the bunker. If you got through the gap, it was just a lucky break. It was actually either going in the bunker or just to the left of it. And it was a pretty simple bunker shot, best place to miss it was right there. It came out okay.
Q. What shot did you hit to the bunker? What club?
VIJAY SINGH: I only had 150 to the front. 6-iron.
Q. How did you find the conditions?
VIJAY SINGH: It's getting much firmer. The greens are getting very crispy out there, especially 15 and 16, 17, 18, all those old greens. They get really firm. So apart from that, it's playing really good. The surface is really smooth. If you hit the ball on line, you have a good chance.
Q. At any point today did you have to alter your release factor to make up for the firmness, how far the ball would release after it landed?
VIJAY SINGH: A little bit. I mean, the only hole you have to do that on is 13 because of the slope from front to back. Apart from that, if you have the right club, go at the flags.
Q. Vijay, you had a chance, I think, at 12, if you would have made your birdie, to tie him. Would that have done anything, do you think psychologically for either one of you, or were there too many holes left for that?
VIJAY SINGH: You can't win the golf tournament today. You just try to play -- I was -- although, you know, Tiger was playing with me. I wasn't taking any notice of the scoring. I was just trying to play my own game. We discussed that with my caddie, after the very first few misses I had. I said if I just play my own game and don't worry about what other people are doing, everything will be fine. And that's how I played it. You know, if he makes a lot of birdies or whoever makes a lot of birdies, I can't do anything about it. I have to play my own game. That's what I did. Bottom 12, I hit a good putt. I must have missed right obviously.
Q. When you're missing putts for birdie, but making putts to save par, is it frustrating or are you grateful for the ones that go in?
VIJAY SINGH: You have to take what you can, you know. It's frustrating to miss putts from 3 feet, you know, no matter what it is for, birdie or par. But I missed a few short ones in the beginning. I made some nice par saves, I made a good one on 9 and another one on 13. But apart from that, I played pretty solid I think. To the green I was solid. I missed one driver, on 6, but then got away with a good lie, knocked it close. And on 18. But both times I made pars. If I keep hitting fairways and greens, you know, putts are going to fall if you're patient. If you get a little bit too anxious, I think it's -- that's what I didn't do today. I was patient and I know I put on a lot of putts. If I do the stroke I've been doing on the putting green on the golf course, it's going to work out. Yesterday, I said I wasn't comfortable on the golf course with my putter right now. But it's coming along. If I keep putting like I did on the back nine, I think everything's going to be all right.
Q. How difficult is it playing with Tiger?
VIJAY SINGH: I enjoy it. I played with him before. I think it's okay. I didn't, you know, I didn't mind. It's just like playing with everybody else I guess. You don't have to worry about what clubs you hit, because I think he hits a 1-iron further than I do. He hits his driver a lot further than anybody else. You just don't worry about what he does, but, you know, the crowds were great. They were all cheering pretty good. So that's the thing you have to deal with. If you can deal with a crowd, I think you can deal with anybody else.
Q. You mentioned before about making sure early in this round that you played your own game and not try to play against Tiger. If you're as close throughout the day as you were today, is it the same strategy?
VIJAY SINGH: It's only him and me left coming down the stretch. And obviously, you know, I'm going to play aggressive. It's the type of golf course that you cannot really be too aggressive. It's a golf course where if you just miss hitting a shot and finish on the wrong side of the hole you can't get up-and-down. Most of the times -- I was fortunate on No. 13 that I hit it on the correct side. But like 16, if you hit it over the green, or 17, you have to be careful coming down the stretch tomorrow what the game plan is, depending on how we stand. You have to be aggressive at the same time, but very careful not to lose too much ground. But, you know, hopefully I don't have to wait until the end of the round tomorrow. The thing to do is make up ground earlier on. Because the scoring nine is the front nine. So if you can score a few early birdies on the front nine, I think that will be interesting, the back nine.
Q. Vijay, you said you got to play your own game, hit your own clubs, not worry about what Tiger hits or anybody else. Now 13, I think it was, Tiger, did he hit an iron off of 13? Do you remember?
VIJAY SINGH: He hit a 3-wood and I hit a driver.
Q. You killed the driver then?
VIJAY SINGH: I'm not a shot --
Q. You were 60 yards ahead of it.
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I know. But he's not going to drive me with his 3-wood. (Laughter.) VIJAY SINGH: I'm not that bad. (Laughing).
Q. Vijay, do you recall the playing conditions when you won here two years ago?
VIJAY SINGH: Totally different. It's so soft out there, when I won it was so soft. I mean it's -- it's totally different. The balls are running, if you hit a good one -- like the one on 15, I hit a very soft drive there, thinking it was going to be on top of the hill when it must have -- the run out there is over 320 yards I think, or 330 yards. I never hit driver 3-woods on that hole and today I hit a driver 7-iron. That's a difference right there. 17 and 18 and, you know, every hole out there the ball's running at least 30 yards if you hit a good drive. So the greens are much firmer and it's just a totally different golf course.
Q. Greens more difficult today?
VIJAY SINGH: It's much harder. Although you're going in with short irons, I think it's a harder golf course because if you do miss it, you are struggling -- the greens are so firm and so fast that you are starting to get up-and-down.
Q. Is it satisfying to know that you've played the course well under both of those conditions, as different as they are?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah. Yeah. You can play well. And, you know, you're going to score. I'm playing really good. I feel a lot more comfortable over here. I've won it and had some good finishes. So I like the golf course and I like the way it's set up.
Q. You obviously can't know what everybody else is going to do. But if you shoot something around par, would you feel pretty good about that?
VIJAY SINGH: If I shoot par tomorrow, I don't think I'm going to win. I think the winning score, he's 12-under, I'm 10. I think 14 or 15-under is going to have a good chance of winning. If the condition stays the way it is. Then again, I may be wrong. (Laughing).
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? Bob?
Q. The scores didn't fluctuate that much today in these conditions. Why do you think it's going to take 14 or 15 to win tomorrow?
VIJAY SINGH: Nobody wants to, you know, shoot themselves in the leg today. You can't win the golf tournament today; you have to keep in touch. So you can lose the golf tournament today. You can't win it, but you can lose it. So anybody within 5 or 6 shots has got a good chance, because this golf course plays well, you get your putter rolling, you're going to make a lot of birdies. So you have Duval out there at 7, see what he did on the back nine yesterday. It gets hot, you never know what's going to happen. So I'm not counting anybody out within 6, 7 shots.
LEE PATTERSON: Anything else? Thank you. We appreciate it. Thank you, Vijay.
VIJAY SINGH: Thank you.
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