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March 14, 1999
CORAL SPRINGS, FLORIDA
JAMES CRAMER: All right, we have Vijay Singh with us. 277, 11-under par for his 8th career PGA TOUR victory. Congratulations, Vijay. Just tell us how you feel.
VIJAY SINGH: I feel good. Pretty unexpected. I started the day, I just went out there and I said just play solid and see what happens. You know, being five shots away, you know, with conditions like that you never know what's going to happen. I had to play good and, you know, hopefully the other guys did not, and that's actually what happened. I consider myself a little lucky, but then again I played good golf under these conditions.
JAMES CRAMER: Questions for Vijay.
Q. Vijay, did 9 kind of kick start you a little bit, did you have any soul searching?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I was really, really upset with that bogey. I made a lot of mistakes with that little 50, 60-yard shot and I kept doing it. I did the same thing on 17. I just had 7 to the front and left it short. I was really annoyed with that bogey. I made a good putt on 11 that calmed me down. I had plugged the face in the bunker, blast out to about 8 feet, 10 feet, made that. I said that's fine, that's even out the ninth hole, that kind of cooled me down and I played good from there.
Q. Did the eagle give you an early hope that, hey, this is -- you can catch them?
VIJAY SINGH: Yes, you needed to score on the first four, five holes. All downwind and, you know, all you need to do is just judge the wind correctly and you can make -- you have good birdie chance. I bogeyed from -- 3-putted, that was kind of a let down a little bit. Then came back with an eagle on four that got me going and played very well from there. 6, 7, 8, went into the wind. I birdied 8th hole with 2-iron. That was really unbelievable. Birdied 15 again, so that's two, two, people making bogies.
Q. Can you describe the eagle in a little detail?
VIJAY SINGH: Hit a driver 3-wood in the front bunker, no way of getting it on the green because if you pitched it on the green it would have gone over, so the play was to play up into the face of the bunker then have an easy bunker shot which came out really nicely and rolled straight in. Played it the way I wanted to.
Q. How far away do you think you were from the hole on that, on the bunker shot?
VIJAY SINGH: The pin was 5 yards on the green and I was on the face of the bunker, so it was no more than 7 yards, 20, 21 feet.
Q. On the 17th green you look at the leaderboard, you see Booker is 12-under, you're 11-under, what's going through your mind there?
VIJAY SINGH: I was really, again, you know, with the very easy second shot I left it short, now I have got, you know, a 90-foot putt and I'm telling myself, that's nice, you know, especially when you're not putting really good you leave yourself a 90-footer, I had a good lag putt and made that. Then when I walked off 18, I had a good drive and had a good second shot on the green, and I saw Booker made a double on 16. I never want to wish anybody bad, but I was kind of relieved to see, you know, he did that. I just proceeded to 2-putt. That was a very -- that was the biggest put right there, was the second put on 18. I think I had a 6-footer left-to-right, struck it the way I wanted to and it went in.
Q. Vijay, can you recant a little bit why the -- why you picked up the putter earlier this year, what was your decision in going back to the --
VIJAY SINGH: It was Wednesday night where I was putting and I just didn't feel comfortable with my own putter, I just wanted to see something different and I got -- I had 3-putters in the bag Thursday morning and decided to take See More out there and I just didn't putt well with it. I struggled all day, you know, at the end of the day I gave it away.
Q. You gave it to a little kid?
VIJAY SINGH: The caddy said if you don't give it away, I'm going to break it, so I gave it away and I went back to my own putter.
Q. Do you feel a little redemption after last year here, you had the lead at the turn and Mark got hot?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, if anybody plays well and beats you, it's fine. Mark played really good. He shot 66 or 65 in that last end, you expect yourself to go out there and shoot back, usually 67 doesn't win. Today was different, the conditions are hard. Yesterday was pretty hard conditions, too, you know, playing two solid rounds, you know, I told everybody all week that I was playing well, all I needed to do was score and shoot my game.
Q. Vijay, when did you think you had a chance of winning, at what point in the round did you really think you can win?
VIJAY SINGH: You know, when I made that birdie on 15, Booker had bogeyed 14, I said, you know, 15 was playing a driver, you know, par-3 and it is playing a driver. I said that's a tough hole for him to make par. I mean he's got to play really good shots to play good there, he did that. I said, okay, we gotta make another birdie, I didn't, but fortunately he made bogeys on -- it was after 15 when I thought I had a good chance of winning.
Q. You see a guy do what he does over the last few holes, does that make you kind of feel bad?
VIJAY SINGH: I feel bad for him. I know I was in the same situation one time. But that's golf. You just have to keep working at it. He's gotta learn from that mistake, whatever he did, and probably come out a better player.
Q. Especially the cold shot on 16, have you ever done that?
VIJAY SINGH: I didn't see that, so... I don't want to talk about that.
Q. Consecutive weeks you've seen veterans proven winners like yourself come from out of the pack and catch guys who haven't won, how much of an advantage is it to be an experienced winner out here?
VIJAY SINGH: You know, you gotta be patient. I think conditions like this, even if it hadn't blown this hard, you still have to be very patient with the golf course because although it's right in front of you, it's wide open, but it's got a lot of little things he's got to deal with. Conditions today, he's got to be a lot more -- a little more patient than everybody else, really. I had a good guy on the bag, he kept talking to me about just hang in there, hang in there and that's what I did. Shooting 3-under today, with conditions like that, you know, and winning by two shots, I mean it's -- that's what the conditions will do for you. I guess a little bit of experience, play your shot and don't worry about what the rest of the guys are doing and that's what I did.
Q. Vijay, you've had a few close calls in Florida tournaments and have the field -- does it mean anything one way or the other to finally win one in the States?
VIJAY SINGH: Yes, I wanted to win one early this year especially. I was playing well. I feel that I'm swinging the club better than I have ever done, better than the tournaments I won last year, I'm driving the ball great, my swing is good and to win earlier will give me confidence to go into the big events and this was a great win, I thought. I wanted to win and I have done it. Now I'm just looking forward to the other four, five majors that are coming up.
Q. Vijay, your caddy, Dave, was just talking about the relationship you two have together and I guess he may have calmed you down some on the back nine today, can you just talk about your relationship with Dave and how it may have helped you today?
VIJAY SINGH: You know, he's a very -- how can I say, you gotta know him very well. He's got his own way of doing things. I just deal with the way he's feeling. If you make a bogey he gets very pissed off. He's not a person who is going to say, hey, that's all right. He says, come on, what are you doing, how can you make a bogey, or things like that, that fires me up a little bit. He gets down at times, says -- but I guess every caddy has their own little thing. But he is a good guy on the bag. He never gives me wrong yardage and always very good on the club. That club he pulled out on the last hole was really good. I wanted to go with the 4-iron, he said, no, hit a 5 and it came up pretty good.
Q. Vijay, a couple of weeks ago there were these rumors that he might go to Tiger and all that, how much was made of it or not, but were you concerned at all you might lose him?
VIJAY SINGH: He didn't know anything about it. Nobody asked Dave about anything, he just -- he was just as surprised as I was. We just left it at that. If Tiger had asked him, I said, you'd be stupid not to go.
Q. Vijay, do you think overall you have played well because you are a good wind player, are you comfortable on Bermuda more than any other greens perhaps, why have you had so many top 10s, top 5s and now you have won one?
VIJAY SINGH: I'm a good player, you know. I could play all conditions. I don't know, I just hit the ball very solid, I guess. In conditions like this, the windy conditions, you have to hit the ball very, very solid and I did. I think I'm a very good driver of the ball into the wind. I can keep the ball down and I can move it both ways when I have to, people don't give me credit for my driving, but I can deal with the drive better than a lot of them, so -- and, you know, good iron play, I guess you need to play -- your whole game has to be good, playing the wind conditions like today.
Q. When was the last time you hit a driver on par-3?
VIJAY SINGH: Going back some ways, though. I think I did it a few times in Europe, but never in the States.
Q. Never at 13 at Doral?
VIJAY SINGH: No, never, no.
Q. Vijay, you said that you have been in similar situations as Eric, do you recall the largest lead that you maybe have lost in the last round?
VIJAY SINGH: I can't remember that. I was leading a few tournaments, I know that, it is a lot more pressure going out there with probably a three, four-shot lead and conditions like today. Then you have to play well, you know, you drop one shot and the other guy picks up one, all of a sudden you're -- if you have a four-shot lead you are only two in front, then you have to deal with the winds still. It's always hard to be a leader going into the last day, especially when it is your first time. I felt for the guy, you know, what he finished with, like I said, he is going to learn from his mistakes and may turn out to be a better player in the next situation.
Q. When you turn to 14 and you pretty much know you are going into that heavy wind in the whole way back, do you think it almost becomes a test of endurance and you just have to survive that or how does that feel with the turn there?
VIJAY SINGH: The good thing is, except for 15, the other two holes are par 5s. You can play safe and have a decent approach shot to the green, but I was pretty aggressive. I hit two drivers on 14 and two drivers on 16, so, you know, and a driver on 15, so, you know, I had five drivers in three holes. One of those par-3 and I don't remember doing that ever, so -- but, you know, caddy says that's where the tournament is going to start, right on 14, especially going right into the wind and 18 is playing really tough, too, so it showed. I played them in one under, I don't know if anybody else did.
Q. Vijay, in terms of conditions and how well you handled yourself, did you play as well today as you did the final round at Sahalee?
VIJAY SINGH: I think so. It was a totally different situation. Sahalee was no wind and nerves, I guess. Over here was, you know, you have to -- the concentration here was different than the one in Sahalee. Sahalee there's no wind, playing well, you just want to keep going. It was almost a Match Play against Stricker which is a different situation, I played really good here and I played well in Sahalee, just different golf conditions, probably the same -- ended up the same place, but it is just totally different, you can't compare those two rounds.
Q. What's your schedule here through Augusta?
VIJAY SINGH: I play the next two weeks and I have a week off at Atlanta, then go to Augusta, looking forward to it for the first time in so many years.
Q. Do you feel even now a little added boost of confidence or will you have that much more at Augusta?
VIJAY SINGH: I never had a good attitude to Augusta, I changed all that last year when I missed the cut. I'm going to go in there with a fresh attitude and I'm going to love when I go play there.
JAMES CRAMER: Why don't we go over your card now.
VIJAY SINGH: I hit a 3-wood on one an L-wedge. Wedged about 15 feet, made that. I hit a driver, L-wedge again, three to about 25 foot and 3-putted. Hit driver 3-wood on the bunker, four and holed it, which was pretty nice. Hit the 2-iron on 8 to about 10 foot, made that. I hit two drivers on nine and, you know, sand wedge to about 30 foot, 3-putted. And I hit a driver on 15 and holed the putt from probably 30 foot.
Q. How far did you have on 13 today?
VIJAY SINGH: I drove it just on the green side, just in the rough.
Q. I mean how long was the hole playing?
VIJAY SINGH: It was all the way back, 380 something.
Q. I'm sorry, 15, 15.
VIJAY SINGH: Oh, 15, I had 230 to the pin, cut a little driver up there.
Q. Was it a three-club wind sometimes today?
VIJAY SINGH: Pretty much. It was gusting around, you know, 35, 40, so you just kind of deal with whatever -- straight into three-club winds if it comes across you how you are playing, playing with the wind or against the wind.
JAMES CRAMER: Anything else for Vijay?
VIJAY SINGH: Thank you.
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