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June 9, 2006

Vijay Singh


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Vijay, good round today, 64. Currently the leader in the clubhouse. Maybe some opening comments on a very tough day on a tough golf course.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, it wasn't easy at all. Yesterday with the conditions so soft and spinning the balls with 7 irons, 6 irons wasn't very easy. I managed to play a good round yesterday, and today I went out there and was struggling in the beginning not struggling, but hit a few shots over the green and got up and down on 3 and 4 and then just I don't know, just started making some putts and putting good shots together.

I made an eagle on No. 9 that really relaxed me and just gave me a really good mood to go out there and play relaxed golf on the back nine.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You finished the round off with a nice up and down on 18 there. Talk about that. The pin was kind of tough there on a slope, probably a tough shot.

VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I was talking to my caddie, one of these days I'm going to break this 5 wood over my knee. It was such an easy shot, just straight looking at the pin and I just blocked it straight right. He said, "just focus on the shot, forget about the last shot," and I just hit a good pitch shot to about six feet and made a good putt. So that was a good way to finish.

Q. You've set the bar pretty high for yourself over the past few years in terms of winning as often as you have. Can you just characterize your year to this date?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, this year has been horrible, really. I don't know if it's my game or it's my head. I've been very impatient with my golf game. I haven't won guys started talking about if you're going to win or not, but that doesn't bother me, it's just the way I've been hitting the ball. I've not been driving the ball very good, and that's been the main problem. Distance was not a problem, but the straightness. You cannot play the game of golf from the long grass, and that's what I've been doing. Today finally I started hitting fairways and seeing a lot of good positive things. I found a very good 3 wood that I can hit almost as far as my driver, so that's been the trick.

Q. Did you come here trying to maybe find your game in time for the U.S. Open at a place where you've had success in the past?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't think so. I mean, after the way I finished last week, I thought maybe I should not come over here and go home and practice for the U.S. Open. But I thought, just keep playing. You cannot have a week off after a bad round and think you're going to come to a major and play well. But this golf course has given me a lot of good things in the past, and I've won here, I won my first event here, and hopefully this is the start of my comeback you might say. I don't know what it is, but it's a good feeling to come back out here and play well. It's a tough golf course to play well. I'm lucky enough that today I played really good.

Q. You mentioned the driving the ball, and you said also you don't know if it's your game or your head. What is it about your head? Are you like getting in your own way on the weekends these days or how would you characterize your mental state?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I haven't been in position except for Wachovia where I was one back or two back, but I haven't been in position to play well or to attack the leaders, and maybe I just wanted to try too hard. I've just been very impatient. I wanted to be patient today. You cannot be patient if you think that way; that's being impatient. I just have to take whatever the golf shots give me, and I wasn't accepting that.

Q. You've always been competitive here and played well here. I was hoping you could weigh in on some of the speculation that the tournaments such as this one and the Booz Allen, their shift to later in the year for next year. How will that affect your decision to play here and stuff like that?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't think this is moving, is it?

Q. To the fall for next year.

VIJAY SINGH: Really? I didn't know that (laughter). There you go, I'm going to think about that one.

Q. Sorry to switch the subject.

VIJAY SINGH: Barclays is still staying, though, isn't it?

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: It's going to be one of the four final tournaments, during the FedEx Cup.

VIJAY SINGH: That's going to be even bigger. I think it'll be an even bigger thing for Westchester to move it to that time of the year. You'll really see the true Westchester then. It doesn't rain that time of the year, though, does it?

Q. It can be stormy.

VIJAY SINGH: This golf course plays hard no matter what the conditions, but it plays harder when it's firm.

Q. You mentioned about focusing. New York area U.S. Opens tend to be noisier than today. Is there something you can do to prepare mentally for noise?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, the crowd here is enthusiastic, but that's not the way we focus anyway. We focus when we go out there and play, and focus doesn't mean you lock everybody out. Focus means you stand on the tee, how you see the shot, how you're playing the shot, how's your pre shot routine, if you're keeping up to it, and just things like that, walking from the driving range to the 1st tee how your focus is then. The crowd does not really affect I think the crowd affects people that play bad. You kind of notice things more.

Q. You're a dedicated practice maven. Because of your so so year, have you increased your practice time hoping to get better, decided to cut back because you've been practicing too hard, or what you feel on a particular day?

VIJAY SINGH: People have told me that you should take some time off and get away from the game. I may have practiced too much, I don't know. I've practiced pretty good for the last six weeks and probably overdid it. My golf swing is getting tired, maybe it needs a rest and come back. The golf swing doesn't go away. I think the strength leaves you and maybe your timing leaves you, but the golf swing stays. I think I've just tired out my golf swing. It comes to a point of how frustrated you get and are you willing to walk away for a month or so and come back and see what's going on.

I've always thought if you go out there and practice good enough, if it doesn't work you go and practice a little bit more and try to fix it that way. It's worked so far.

Q. It's almost like it's against your nature to cut back, correct?

VIJAY SINGH: I don't think it's cutting back that's going to do it. You know, I think I either have to take two weeks off and just not even play golf at all, just go out somewhere and I don't know what to do (laughter). But that's probably what it's going to take, and we'll see what happens after this week and next week, if it requires that or not.

Q. Two things: First of all, you mentioned you thought about not coming. How close did you come to withdrawing from this tournament?

VIJAY SINGH: It wasn't close at all; it was just a thought (laughter).

Q. The other thing was I believe it was at Wachovia, you said that your putting was one of the things that was holding you back. Do you feel like your putting is okay and it's more off the tee now?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, I got this new machine, where was that, in Dallas at the Byron Nelson, that I started doing, and for some reason I think that just suited my putting stroke. You just put your putter in it and it's on a rail, and I've putted well since the Byron Nelson. Unfortunately for me my golf game hasn't been up to standard. But somebody told me that I was leading in putts per green at Memorial was it? A caddie told me, and I said, yep, I only hit three greens, I think, that day. But that's how it's been going.

I'm feeling really good with my putter. I've got a lot of confidence in the way I'm putting, but I need to hit a lot of greens. Yesterday I hit 17 greens and did not putt as good because the greens were really, really slow, but today I went out there and rolled the ball much better.

Q. You've been a pro since 82, you joined the Tour in 93. How much do you shape shots now compared to when you were first a pro? Obviously the equipment these days, a lot of people say it doesn't allow you to work it left and right, right and left as much. How much are you able to still do that?

VIJAY SINGH: You can shape the longer shots better than the short ones. The ball flies so much straighter now that it's almost useless to even try it. If you want to fade the ball, you really have to move it left to right to get something out of it. If you can hit it straight and long, why try to shape it (laughter)?

Q. What's the longest stretch of time you've ever put the clubs aside and not touched them?

VIJAY SINGH: I've done it before. When I get injured it's a forced rest. My trainer back home said, you know, maybe you need to crack a rib or something (laughter). I've taken five, six weeks off, no golf at all. That's through injury. But I haven't done it for a while.

Q. Is golf the kind of game where it maybe just clicks in and away you go? Has that happened to you before in your career?

VIJAY SINGH: Well, probably. It's confidence. I may not be hitting my shots as bad as it seems to me. I really want to play good golf, and winning golf tournaments comes from hitting good shots, and if I don't hit good shots, you know, I just don't want to be out there hitting shots. That's not an attitude to have.

I won some tournaments playing really badly, but that's if your mindset is good, you can do that. I was telling somebody the other day, my last five finishes or four finishes were in the high 30s. If I had good mindset I probably would have still been in contention in all of those, but one bad shot kind of gets me over the edge. I don't know why right now, so I need to control that.

End of FastScripts.

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