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May 30, 1997

Vijay Singh


WES SEELEY: 70-65--135, 9 under par, and one behind Tommy Tolles. This is Vijay Singh. Tell us about your bogey-free day.

VIJAY SINGH: It was kind of strange, because I started off not well on the driving range, and I got on the first tee and hit an okay drive and okay second shot and left my first putt about four feet short, and I said, well, it's going to be a long day. But I made that and just the momentum started to build up. I birdied the fourth hole, hit a good 6-iron there. Did not birdie the 5th hole, was going in with a 3-iron there. I made an incredible birdie on 6. I hit my driver off to the right side and found a good lie in the rough and knocked it 15 feet and made it. That was the start of my play today.

WES SEELEY: Let's go through the birdies. 6-iron on four to how far?

VIJAY SINGH: About six feet. Then on 6 I hit driver, 9-iron about 15 feet. 7, hit a driver, laid up with a 3-iron and a sand wedge and made that. 10th hole I hit a driver, pitching wedge to about 15 feet.


VIJAY SINGH: Hit a driver, pitching wedge, again about eight feet. 16 I hit a 4-iron to about 20 feet and holed that. 17 I hit driver, sand wedge about 25-foot and holed that one.

WES SEELEY: In danger of a bogey?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I think the 8th hole I tried to hit a little 6-iron, and it jumped back in the bunker and got up-and-down. If I missed it I didn't think I had a chance to get up-and-down. On 14 I missed the green on the left side again with an approach shot and blasted to about 15 feet and holed that one. So I 3-putted the next one and it evened out.

Q. You played well here at times.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I think this is my fourth appearance. I've missed the cut one time, and I was always in contention going into the last day. So this sort of was the first tournament I played over here well in America that allowed me to hold my card. I think it was '92, when I first played and this tournament kept me going. I should be thankful to Jack for inviting me over here.

Q. What has been the state of your game? We haven't seen a lot of you on the leader board.

VIJAY SINGH: I was telling, it's pretty unusual ground for me here. But I've been playing really good. I've been hitting the ball really nicely, but just not scoring. So I think this is the first time that I've been out there and enjoyed putting on the greens. It's difficult for me -- well, it has been difficult for me to get on the greens and try and make a putt. I never was comfortable. Now this putter I've had, I've been putting great with it. So hopefully I'll keep it going over the weekend.

Q. It's not a new putter?

VIJAY SINGH: It was given to me by Jim Colbert, back home in Ponte Vedra practicing, and I seemed to have lined up better with his putter, and he had a spare one in the car and gave it to me. And if he's out there I should thank him. I'll probably call him if I do well in this tournament.

Q. This was this year?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, about two weeks ago.

Q. This is the first tournament you're using it?

VIJAY SINGH: I played last week in Europe, and I didn't make too many putts, but it felt comfortable. Today it felt good. I putted well yesterday, too. Hopefully it will keep me going through the U.S. Open.

Q. Well, what's the name of it?

VIJAY SINGH: It's Odyssey.

Q. How frustrating was it not to be putting it well? Now that you've been out here on this TOUR several years and know the courses and really should be --

VIJAY SINGH: I've always been a pretty reasonable putter, I could always putt, but I think it just plays with your mind a little bit. And then it kind of creeps into your confidence. Then your chipping kind of goes sour because you have to chip close to the hole. If you don't, you chip it four or five feet, you have a problem putting it. So I think it slowly eats into your chipping game and then into your long game. But when you've been putting well, you're not missing the greens, so it kind of works into the game. I've been hitting the ball really, really good. I think this year I've hit the ball better than I've ever done, but just not showing in my game; maybe it starts this week.

Q. Have you been putting in more practice on the putting?

VIJAY SINGH: Not really. I mean I've worked pretty hard the last two weeks trying to figure out how to score well, playing a little bit more. But it's a matter of getting your confidence high. This is the first round I've shot I think under 68 for a long time. And I don't even know how I did it, I just went out and played today, not expecting anything. We'll see what happens tomorrow.

Q. Vijay, that three par-4s that you birdied on the back were driver, wedge for you. Is that normal or are these conditions allowing you to hit more drivers off the tee because the ball isn't going anywhere?

VIJAY SINGH: The fairway is pretty generous over here all the time. And when it's soft like this you can actually go out there and hit drivers. I think coming home 16 and 17 were downwind, I hit driver, sand wedge, so it makes a little difference there. Then 10th hole is downwind and I hit driver, pitching wedge. The wind helps a lot, too. It's still a long hole.

Q. Has your success sparked any interest in your homeland?

VIJAY SINGH: I hope so.

Q. Are young men taking it up?

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, quite a few of them are taking up golf. But Fiji is so far away, and I think it's hard for them to keep in touch what goes on over here in my game. Unless I start winning it doesn't -- the media doesn't really say anything back home. But I've been back over there and did one or two outings in Fiji to promote it a little bit. They are so much into playing rugby back home, that's their main sport. They enjoy doing that.

Q. Did you start at the World Cup as a professional?

VIJAY SINGH: No, I started in Australia when I first turned pro. I've never played World Cup for my country yet.

Q. Vijay, considering the way your game has been lately, you shot so well today, is there any way you'll get ready your frame of mind for the last two rounds here?

VIJAY SINGH: I played well one tournament this year in South Africa. I won the tournament, I was in contention -- for some reason when I'm in contention my game improves, as well. Like today coming back, my concentration was a little bit better than I've had. I'm in contention again this time and we'll see what happens tomorrow. I think it's -- I haven't been around the leader board for a long time, so we'll have to wait and see what happens tomorrow. I'm not predicting anything, but it may go either way.

Q. Vijay, you're obviously the most successful golfer to come out of Fiji, but has Fiji produced any great scientists or business men? Would you be maybe the most successful Fijian ever?

VIJAY SINGH: I refuse to comment there. I don't know, I've never really looked into that. I'm the most successful golfer.

Q. But is that maybe an implied yes, since you can't think of anybody more successful?

VIJAY SINGH: There are a lot of sportsmen, rugby-wise that is pretty big. But business-wise, I haven't been working on that. Former Prime Minister is.

WES SEELEY: Any thoughts on your 36th cut made in a row? The longest streak out here by a lot.

VIJAY SINGH: I wasn't even thinking about that. I don't know, I think it's an advantage -- I don't think there's any advantage making so many cuts. It kind of plays on your mind a little bit. I think somebody told me that two weeks ago, three weeks ago, you make another cut, I said, yes, I'm just going to miss the cut so people stop talking about it. You go out there and if you start off making one or two bogeys, you start thinking about the cut that you're going to keep your streak going, that's not a good way to play golf. I like to play golf and compete, not just make the cut. I'm really thankful I made so many cuts, but I know sooner or later I'll miss one, I'm not going to keep it going forever. Thirty-six cuts is 36 cuts.

End of FastScripts....

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