November 13, 2001
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome the Fiji team to the EMC2 World Cup. We have Dinesh Chand and Vijay Singh. Let's get started. First, you guys played a practice round today. If you could give us a comment on the course first?
DINESH CHAND: The course is very different to playing the Masters a couple of weeks ago. The greens are very quick the course is in good condition. I showed Vijay what I had to do; he showed me what he had to do, and so I think it's going to be fun.
VIJAY SINGH: Pretty good golf course. Probably one of the best ones I've played in Japan. Tough approach shots off tee, to the greens and the greens are one of the best greens I've putted on in Japan -- matter of fact, anywhere. They are very fast, very undulating greens. You've got to know where to drop the ball. I think it's going to be a good tournament. It's not a short golf course, but very accurate iron shots are needed as well. A lot of shots, they are elevated, tee-to-green, especially the par 3s; so club selection will be very important. I think it will be good. I think Dinesh is playing well, and I'm glad to be here. It's the first time I've ever played this tournament, so I'm actually looking forward to it.
Q. How well do you two know one another? I know you're from the same town, and did you know one another -- did you know Vijay when you were growing up?
DINESH CHAND: Yeah, I knew Vijay when I was a kid, when I was like 10 years old, 11 years old. When he was hitting balls, I used to collect balls and caddy for him. I used to caddy for his brothers. I've known Vijay maybe since I was ten years old, sense I've come to understand golf.
Q. It's going to be really cold this week, and you're from Fiji and it's very hot there, I think, have you ever played in a really cold country before?
VIJAY SINGH: I played in Europe for six years, so it was pretty cold then. I played in Atlanta not too long ago and it was freezing there, too, but it doesn't mean that we are used to this weather. I don't like cold weather, and I don't know if Dinesh likes it or not. I don't think he does. I don't think anybody does. But the weather is for everybody here, so we just have to deal the best we can. The ball, it's not going to go as far, and with the weather like this, hopefully we'll be able to manage. Got to wear warm clothes, I guess.
Q. How are you playing coming in to the tournament?
DINESH CHAND: I'm hitting okay, Vijay is hitting okay, as I said before. This is the first time we've teamed up together for Fiji. We have been playing stroke-play ; like we played 18 holes today and we have been hitting our own balls. Tomorrow, we're going to play alternate-shot, and this is a little bit different, so we have to get used to that. And tomorrow, that's what we are going to do and see what happens.
Q. Dinesh's swing has changed a little bit the past few years. Do you think that he has improved?
VIJAY SINGH: I think so. I think he doesn't want to hit it -- when I first saw him, he was really trying to hit it as long as he can and wasn't too worried about which way it was going to go. He's toned down a lot and hitting a lot of fairways. And he's got somebody that he looks up to, a teacher over here and he's got some nice tips from him. I played with him at the British Open and I was impressed with the way he hit it there. So, it was good to see.
Q. How far apart physically were the houses that you two grew up in, and also, how much of an influence was Vijay in your deciding to be a professional golfer? Would you have been one without his example?
DINESH CHAND: I think we were about 10 to 15 minutes away. His dad was working at the airport and so they used to live close to the airport. I was more like to the countryside. It's about 10, 15 minutes. I was watching Vijay, and after playing in Fiji, he went and I grew up and I turned pro in Fiji. There was nobody that I had to follow, so I guess he opened the doors for me. He went out and got started, and so I said to myself, maybe I'll do the same thing what Vijay did. So I stuck with it and I turned pro when I was 19 and came to Japan straight from Fiji to Japan. It took me five years. I turned pro here on the sixth year, and I won my first tournament on the first year. So it was like what Vijay was doing.
Q. What were you doing those five years you didn't get on the tour in Japan?
DINESH CHAND: I was based on a golf course hitting balls every day, doing a little bit of work, cleaning up the driving range, picking up balls from the driving range and I'd practice when there was no people on the range. My goal was just to turn pro. To play in Japan, you have to turn pro. You have to get a license from the Japanese Tour, and then so it took me five struggling years to go through, and I made it on my sixth year.
Q. Do you have ambitions to play on other tours?
DINESH CHAND: Yes, I was going to go to Q-School in America, but I pulled out just because of this, concentrating more this week. The school is, I think, a week from now, next week or in two weeks, and I was ready to prepare myself for the Tour school. But I'm going to go next year. I'm trying to qualify -- I think it's my dream to play in America. The U.S. tour is the last stop, I suppose.
Q. Your driver has been improving. What's the key point of that?
VIJAY SINGH: I don't know, I've been hitting my driver pretty good for a while now. But I think getting all of the new technology is pretty important. We have new balls now that goes forever. Every six months to a year, they come up with a new club. So you kind of have to get adjusted to that, and forgiving clubs are coming up, with bigger heads. And as the years go by, you improve the golf swing, you fiddle with it. You tweak it and with time it gets better and better; then, obviously, the more impact you are going to get. That's pretty much it.
Q. I remember you said several years ago that it had been a disappointment to you that you had not been selected to play in the World Cup for Fiji. Just how big of a deal is it to be here now and why didn't you play last year?
VIJAY SINGH: It was too far last year. I think I was playing favorite or six tournaments in a row and -- I don't know where I was, I think I was playing in -- I had to go from the Grand Slam all the way there, and before that I was playing Asia, as well, so it was a pretty hectic trip for me. This year, I decided to play -- at beginning of the year I committed myself and I have a good partner, as well. Playing the World Cup is fine; and you want to play to win, and I think Dinesh, playing in Japan, he knows the golf course, so you have a good chance of winning, you could say, and I think we have a good chance. That's pretty much why I came here. It's a big deal. It's the first time I ever played the World Cup and I'm looking forward to it. I'm excited about it.
Q. In the alternate-shot, what kind of golf ball are you going to use?
VIJAY SINGH: I think we play the same ball, the Pro V's. It makes it a lot easier for us. He's playing the Titleist as well.
Q. You practice very hard, for a very long time, and how long do you usually practice per day?
VIJAY SINGH: Depends how bad I'm playing. (Laughs). If I'm working on something, then I probably practice three or four hours a day. If I'm not, then I'll just -- depends what you call practice. Hitting balls is -- you can't hit them in three or four hours and then chip around and putt around, play a round of golf. So it takes pretty much most of the day to do all of that. But to really practice on the driving range, probably about two or three hours.
MODERATOR: Thank you for stopping by and good luck this week.
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