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November 9, 2005

Vijay Singh


GORDON SIMPSON: We welcome Vijay to the HSBC Champions Tournament. It's been an interesting season for you, four victories, $8 million in the States. Can you assess the 2005 season?

VIJAY SINGH: I was focused on 2004, but still, it was a good season. On paper it looked very satisfying and I was very disappointed with the way I played the majors; I didn't win one.

The second half of the season wasn't as strong, and that was the disappointing part. I've learned from it, and you know, trying to start a new season much more strongly than what I did last year and trying to build up my endurance on my physical side and trying to make sure that my golf swing is back to the way it was three years ago.

Q. Just wanted to ask you, can you talk about your recent victory in East Lake, because it's amazing how the two times you've played there before, you had the lead all the way up to the 54th hole. So what is it about that hole that is so difficult, and what do you have to do to yourself this time to make this spell?

VIJAY SINGH: At East Lake, you mean?

Q. East Lake, yeah.

VIJAY SINGH: It's a very, very difficult golf course. We had to deal with Bart Bryant, who started off with 8 under par the first day. We didn't see any part of him until he was in the clubhouse on Sunday. I played really well. I was having problems with my driver all week, and that's a golf course where you need to hit the driver very good.

In the previous years, if you hit 70 percent of the drivers on the fairways, you can shoot a good score. The greens are very tough and it's very difficult to get close to the pins. I was happy with the way I finished, because with the way I played, I didn't play as good as I wanted to, especially the way I drove the ball.

So in the end it was a very satisfying fourth place on paper, but deep down, I felt if I drove the ball well, I could have had a much better finish.

Q. Just want to find out from you basically this tournament will feature PGA TOUR players together with the best in the world, how do you think this opportunity helps the Asian Tour players?

VIJAY SINGH: I think playing in a tournament like this with the good players, they can raise their level of playa and see how much more they need to improve to get to the level that we are playing at. And they can learn from the way we score and performing out there on the golf course.

You know, I don't think Asian players really need to learn so much the way we need to go out about on the golf course. They need just to go out and play more competition and get away from the Asian Tour to get experience. I think that's one of most important things. They are very comfortable playing in Asia, and when they get out of place when they go in abroad, food is one. And you look at all European players, American players coming over here, the food is not an issue. We just come and we adapt to the surroundings, to the environment and just go out and play golf. I think that's what the Asians need to do when they go abroad.

Q. You said the second half wasn't as good as the first half; what have you learned, scheduling, fitness?

VIJAY SINGH: I think I got very complacent. I worked really hard last year, and towards the end of this year, I kind of slowed down with the way I was practicing and the way I was working out.

I think a lot of distractions, as well, and my mind wasn't as free as it was last year or the beginning of this year where I could just go out there and play golf and not worry about anything. There was a lot more obligations to do, and it kind of got in the way that, you know, you do one and then you've got to do another one. And the end of the week, you have not done your normal routine of work that I normally do on the golf course. And if you keep doing that, week in and week out, the end of the tour or three months, you see you kind of, you know, go behind.

But I have reenergized myself and started working out again two or three weeks ago, and I'm going to start off the next season as strong as I've ever been. That's what I'm targeting myself for.

Q. I saw you in Fiji and you were pretty relaxed there. I remember you saying that you were enjoying the break. How long after that trip did it take you to get back to focus, and an update on your Resort?

VIJAY SINGH: I think straight after that, I was fine. I came back, I had a week off and played pretty good. The year before, it was a very hectic season, and actually I won a tournament two weeks after I came back or three weeks after I came back.

Q. Just an update on the progress?

VIJAY SINGH: It's still out there. I mean, they have had some problems with the land, but it's supposed to be breaking ground in September. So I'm making another visit earlier next year.

Q. You said you became a little complacent the second half of the year. Did you enjoy the business of being less intense after a while or did you feel guilty?

VIJAY SINGH: If you don't go to the gym one day, you feel okay. And then you don't do it again, you feel even better. And by the end of week you feel bet great, you've never been to the gym, but then you pay the penalty for not being fit when you go on to the golf course.

I've struggled also with my golf game. When you're struggling, you feel like even when you're in the playing well, you can get through with the endurance side. Coming through the last day or so, you still have the energy to go out and focus and play good even if you're not playing well.

But that was the thing, I didn't I was just one track mind last year and just nothing was going to interfere between me and my golf. And this year, I started off like that, but you have to oblige to a lot of other things. I can still do it and do my workouts, and do my practice, but you have to draw the line somewhere.

And somewhere along the way, I lost my way. But it's a good experience, it's a good lesson to know that if you want to play the best game of golf, you have to focus on what you're doing. And I did not do that. So, you know you learn from your mistakes. It's not a mistake I think did. It's just a lot of my way along somewhere. I'm refocused. I feel I missed playing well, I missed winning golf tournaments and I want to start doing that again. I have plenty of opportunities next season to start really, really strong.

Q. Is your revitalization related to Tiger at all? Has he given everybody a wake up by going 1, 2, 1, 4, in the majors?

VIJAY SINGH: You know, Tiger always played well. He's played well for the last however many years he's been on TOUR. I've played with Tiger so many times. It's just that he scores better than anybody else out there. He doesn't play as good as quite a few guys sometimes, but he manages to get around. You know, he is really focused. I'm sure a lot of guys have looked at Tiger's performance and said, you've got to catch up.

You know, I have assessed my game according to how I play and how I perform, and that was the reason why. And my trainer, Joey, he said, you have missed so many years and so many months of working out, for you to get back to where you were; he had a chart on my performance, as well. So it was his doing, as well, telling me that I needed to pick it up; otherwise you just slide down the hill.

I found it's harder to take one step up. It's so much easier to slide down the hill and take one step up and then you look up and it's a huge step to take back up again. You know, it's just like sliding down a cliff; it's so hard to climb back up again, and I just don't want to slide any further down than where I am right now.

Q. From where you first started back in the 80s, the Asian Tour is now a $2 million purse and now this one, $5 million purse. Any advice that you have for emerging Asian talent?

VIJAY SINGH: I think the Tour is incredible. I wish this had happened when I was playing here the first time. We were playing for purses where the first prize over here, wasn't the full first prize over here those years ago.

I think it's a big advantage for the Asian players and the foreigners, The European Tour players, the Australian Tour players and the U.S. Tour players are coming over here and playing. I think it's a great, great region for new talent to come up and see the top players are playing.

The advice I would give to everybody, not only Asian players, but all the young players that are coming up, the only way is to go up is to go out there and get a good coach and get on the range and do some work. It's not going to come to you sitting down and look at the pictures, so you've got to work at it from there, as well.

I think the golf courses nowadays are so much better than what we had before. The facilities are incredible. I was looking down the range walking down here; you couldn't tell if this was America or China. The greens are similar, incredibly nice. There's no reason why you're not going to see more talent coming up.

Q. Can you talk about what Thongchai Jaidee has achieved on the PGA TOUR this year, and can you talk more about his opportunities there?

VIJAY SINGH: You know, I feel like he's played a lot of college golf in America, so he's very, very familiar with the surroundings. He goes out there and place practice rounds with American players and plays practice rounds with me so he's very comfortable with America. He did great in America this year. Almost won twice and had a few Top 10 finishes. He's very comfortable and I think he's going to go on and, you know, win a tournament here soon.

I think next year, or the year after, he's played quite well. Thongchai Jaidee, he's one of the stronger Asian Tour players or Asian players around right now, but the only problem is he's uncomfortable in America and he goes out and plays practice rounds on his own and sits around in the locker room on his own. I think he needs to go out and enjoy the company of other players and feel a little bit more comfortable.

I've been talking to him a little bit, but they have really good food in America, as well, good Asia food. I love eating; they have great Thai food in America, as well. So there's no reason for Thongchai Jaidee not to qualify. I think he's got all the ability to be able to qualify and play good in the States. It's only a matter of how much he wants to stay there and play.

GORDON SIMPSON: Vijay, thank you very much, and enjoy a good week at HSBC.

End of FastScripts.

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