October 28, 1998
LEE PATTERSON: Maybe just some impressions of the golf course, then we'll entertain questions.
VIJAY SINGH: Well, Lee, if I had a choice, I wouldn't be playing these roughs. It's unbelievable. It's probably the hardest roughs I've ever played. Probably everybody out here is going to feel the same. It can get you really cheesed off. You can be only 100, 150 yards from the green; you can't advance the ball more than 50 yards. In one way it's really tough, and in another way it's pretty unfair, I think.
Q. In what way is it more difficult than Sahalee?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, the roughs, you know, just unforgiving here. You hit in the rough, you got to get really lucky to get a lie that you can advance it. Even though, like I said, even if you're a hundred yards away, it's almost impossible to move it sometimes. The fairways are a little bit more narrow, a little bit more slopey at places where you have to move the ball, yet you don't want to hit your driver. If you do miss the fairway, you know, it's almost an automatic bogey. Then on the greens, it's almost as bad. You have to hit a lot of fairways and a lot of greens. Whoever hits a lot of fairways and greens is going to win this week.
Q. Is it as hard as Olympic was this year?
VIJAY SINGH: I think this is harder rough here. You can get away from some lies in Olympic. But over here, no, nothing going give over here.
Q. What kind of score would you be happy with right now?
VIJAY SINGH: You know, like today I played, mostly shot two, three, 400 today. On the practice days, you're more aggressive with your driver. You can go ahead and take on shots that you aren't necessarily going to do in the tournament. But I don't know. I think whoever shoots around 8-under is going to win, I think, this week.
Q. How are you viewing the Presidents Cup at this point? Are you excited about getting it in place other than the US? Do you sense from some guys you're going to be playing with on that team there's some more anticipation this year?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah. I mean, it's not in America. You know, the crowds are not going to be so biased this time, although the Australian crowd is a little loud, too. You've got a lot of Australians on our side. We need Norman fully fit, because they love him out there. I'm really looking forward to it. It's close to my country, as well. I think it's in our favor, the crowd especially. And the golf course is such a great golf course, it's going to favor whoever plays well. I don't think the American side has a very good team.
Q. Have you played there before?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, many times.
Q. How do you play and how do you like the course?
VIJAY SINGH: It's one of the best golf courses I've ever played. If that wasn't in Australia, if it was in America, it would be rated one of the top two or three in the world. It's as good as that.
Q. Can you play driver there as much as you do at Augusta?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, give you a chance to hit driver every hole. It's big, wide fairways, but you have to drive it on the correct side of the fairways to shoot a good number. And the greens are as fast or faster than Augusta at places. It's a good course.
Q. What do you expect from Greg Norman in the competition? Do you think he'll come back emotionally ready? Do you think it will pass along to the rest of the team?
VIJAY SINGH: I haven't seen him for however many months he's been out. I haven't heard from him. It really depends. What I've heard is, he's doing really good. He's going to be playing the Shark Shootout. His presence over there is going to mean a lot to the team. Obviously, boost everybody's confidence when he's there. I just hope he's playing good, as well. We need him on the side. It's going to strengthen the side a little bit.
Q. What are you going to play after this and the Presidents Cup?
VIJAY SINGH: I have a tournament in Asia, then the Grand Slam, then that's it, then the Presidents Cup.
Q. You're not going to play the Australian Open before that?
VIJAY SINGH: No. I'm going to be home practicing, taking it easy, doing whatever I can to pass some time.
Q. In retrospect, what does that PGA Championship mean to you? Has it changed your life a whole lot?
VIJAY SINGH: No. It's pretty much the same. I get more invites to playoff season. Maybe a little bit more in demand now. Apart from that, it's a little bit more autographs and all that. Apart from that, I'm the same as I've been. I kind of like it. It hasn't changed me or my family or anybody.
Q. Do you relive that week a lot? Do you have anything on tape?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah. You know, I've got tapes of it. I've sat down and watched it with my wife, just the final round. It's pretty nice to see yourself playing and winning. I've never seen that before. It was nice to do that.
Q. When you saw that, did it look like you played better than you thought you did?
VIJAY SINGH: You know, I played really good the front nine. I think there was two holes or three holes that I played pretty average out there. I think 13, 14. Apart from that, it looked really good. I was impressed with the way I stuck it out there, you know.
Q. All the attention this week has been on Duval and O'Meara. You've had a pretty good year, too. If you were to win this week, do you believe you should deserve some consideration for Player of the Year?
VIJAY SINGH: I mean, Duval has a great year this year. He's leading the money list. Sure enough, he's playing pretty much. I don't think he's going to lose that. I think he's going to be the No. 1 money winner this year. O'Meara has won two Majors. Five years from now, nobody's going to know who won the 1998 money list, but they all are going to know that O'Meara won two Majors. In that respect, I think it's not an easy golf tournament to win, any major, and he's won two, and was in contention in the rest of them. Duval is a friend of mine. He's a great player. If you look at the record, I think O'Meara is the No. 1 Player of the Year, in my mind anyway.
Q. How satisfied are you with your game and your place in the game right now?
VIJAY SINGH: I'd like to be hitting it a little bit more straighter, hitting my iron a little more closer, making a lot more putts (laughter).
Q. Wouldn't we all?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah. But, no, I'm playing nicely now. This is the best I've played. When I stand over the ball, I pretty much know where I want to hit it now instead of guessing how it's going to come out. I'm pretty happy with my game. I'd just like to get a little more consistent with my putts and not have -- you know, not have two great weeks and five bad weeks, two great weeks, like that. But it's coming around. My whole game is getting better. I'm pretty satisfied. I'm really looking forward to next year now, you know, since I'm having a great finish to this year. I guess I just have to go and see about this week.
Q. That is the only way to approach it, is to not be content with what you've done, just always expect more out of yourself?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah. Sahalee was a great week for me. But it's been two months already. Got to move on. If you don't, I guess you're going -- everybody's going to pass you by, you know. I just think that was a great week for me. It was a great win. But I just have to go on and do what I have to do.
Q. Which one of the other Majors would you like to win the most?
VIJAY SINGH: I think the US Open. That's the toughest golf tournament, I think, condition-wise. I really would like to win that and the British Open, and the Masters. But I think the US Open would be the next one I'd like to win.
Q. How long has it been since you lived in Ponte Vedra?
VIJAY SINGH: Three years.
Q. Looking back on it, how much has living there, being able to use the facilities at the TPC, the practice area, how much has that helped your game? Was that a good career move?
VIJAY SINGH: It's the best practice facility in the world, I think, for me anyway. In the short game, any part of the game, you can really work on. It's close to my house. I'm pretty relaxed at home, too. There's no hassle from people around me. I think it's probably the best place I can ever live, is Ponte Vedra right now.
Q. I did a dialogue for Golf Digest, David was ranking players, had comments about each player, top players in the world. He said that you should be mentioned in the same breath as Tiger Woods when it comes to championing minority causes, being an out-front type person, somebody minorities should be proud of. How do you feel about that whole issue, especially in light of the history of this particular golf course?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, I try not to get into that. I want to stay out of that part of the subject. I'm here to play golf, to make a living. But we just have to look on the positive side every time. I don't like to dig down and see what happened in the past, because that's past. You can get into a lot of -- you can dig up wrong things when you look into the past. I think if you look in the future and see what we can take from what we're doing here, whatever the minorities, there's a lot of people out here I wouldn't have seen three, four years ago. So they kind of are coming out now. It's good to see that. I think it's good for the game. You have to be positive. You cannot look back and say what happened in the past was bad, because, hey, what's happening now is great. That's how I look at it.
Q. Do you think your relationship with the media has been pretty good, especially since the PGA?
VIJAY SINGH: I never had any problem with the media; media always had problem with me. I think if you write not truthfully a lot of times, when you trust somebody, you give them the honest answers to what they ask, they go ahead and change things around, it kind of piss you off. That's what happened, not once, not twice, but three, four times. When do you that, it just kind of -- I can play hard ball, too.
Q. Do you think things have gone better both ways the past year or so?
VIJAY SINGH: I think a lot of media, the guys have improved. They write honestly nowadays. I have a good relationship with a few of them. I have never had any problem with the media; always media had problem with me.
LEE PATTERSON: Thank you.
VIJAY SINGH: Thank you.
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