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January 5, 2007

Vijay Singh


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Vijay Singh after a 4-under 69 for the second consecutive day at the Mercedes-Benz Championship, the lone bogey on No. 4 right on back of an eagle and you went from there. Why don't you talk about that scenario, birdie, bogey, eagle.
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I had a good birdie on 3. It was just beginning to get really tough. The wind was howling. I hit an okay tee shot on the next hole and hit it a long way and almost impossible to get close. I made a good eagle on 5. I hit driver, 4-iron to about 15, 20 feet and just rolled it in.
You know, I just played very consistent from there in, did not do too much wrong, kept my ball flight the way I wanted to, controlled my ball flight and just played solid golf.
TODD BUDNICK: Talk about the other two birdies on 14 and 15.
VIJAY SINGH: 14 I hit a very good 3-wood and pitched it perfect to about a foot.
And 15, it was kind of, wasn't sure where to go. I hit it left of the green and let the wind take it or just aim right at the hole it. I went right at it and hit the bank and went right. Hit it to about 15 feet and made the putt there.
TODD BUDNICK: Disappointed with the drive on 18?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, I was in control of my whole game all through the day and just tried to let one go on the last hole and just got quick. I hit a good drive yesterday and made par and a bad drive today and made a par so kind of evened out.

Q. Were the conditions just as bad, different as yesterday?
VIJAY SINGH: When you made the turn it was almost getting to the state where, you know, could have called it. Ball was oscillating on the greens and just kind of getting a little too difficult there. The wind was howling. Must have been blowing at 40 miles an hour. When we made -- when we got around the corner, 13, 14, started to come down a little bit, so it was playable then.

Q. Based on what you've done the first two days here in these conditions, would it be nice to have them be the same for the weekend?
VIJAY SINGH: I would like to see it calm down a little bit. (Laughter).
You know, just a little too difficult out there. I would like it to be like it played the last four or five holes. It wasn't blowing that much, but it was manageable. I think the forecast tomorrow already is dry but still windy. We know which way it's blowing, so you're getting used to it.

Q. What are some of the adjustments you've had to make to counter the wind?
VIJAY SINGH: Just really try to keep your ball flight low, especially into the wind, control your ball flight is the key to conditions like today and yesterday. You know, whoever can manage that -- you just can't go out and try to bomb drivers all the way down there. You have to control what part of the green is best to hit it to and try to be short of the holes where you're putting uphill and not going downgrain. Those are the keys.

Q. How do you find the greens this year compared with last year? You've been here for many years.
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, the surface is really good. The grass, it's a new grass, so it's putting really well. We just haven't had the conditions to putt on. I think if the conditions get a little bit puttable, I think we can really answer that question correctly.
But right now, there's a lot of grass on the greens and it's rolling really well, but you know, with the wind conditions like it is, it's very hard to gauge it.

Q. Was your game today just more of a continuation of yesterday or was there a difference?
VIJAY SINGH: You know, I think it was a little bit more difficult today to control your ball flight. Today was a lot harder. The wind was more gusty today than it was yesterday.
But I played very well. I played very solid golf. Missed three, or four greens, but that's understandable. I like the way I'm striking the ball, and I'm in control of my game, so looking forward to the weekend.

Q. Yesterday you had trouble getting close, your approach shots, you said.
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, conditions like this, it's really hard to get close. There are holes out there, you know, 14 is a very birdieable hole if you hit a good shot, and 15 as well. You have to take advantage of those holes; 16, as well, if you get it out there, you can gauge where the pin is and play past the pin and let it spin back.
Those are the things that -- I'm familiar with this golf course so much that I know where to hit it.
TODD BUDNICK: You've come close here a number of times and you're in contention on the weekend. Is this one of these that you really want to win?
VIJAY SINGH: Any golf tournament you want to win, obviously. This would be a good one for the start of the season, just kind of relax me and let me play more freely. But I cannot get ahead of myself, just have to play a day at a time.

Q. Can you talk about that? There have times when you've had beginnings that have been good, Sony, for example, or last year where it took a while to get a win under your belt. How important to the process of 2007 is getting a win early?
VIJAY SINGH: I think it's important to win early. I want to win early. I think my golf game, I fixed -- I'm swinging the golf club with a lot more control now. If I can do that at the beginning of the season, winning won't be that difficult if I just keep doing what I know what to do. I planned my golf swing well and practised the way I wanted to practise.
It fits. Right now my golf swing fits with me, and that's very, very important. If I can go out and win this week, I think it's going to be -- I'm looking for a great season.

Q. You kind of slipped and said "fix," and then changed it; did you fix something, or is it just a maturation process on your game?
VIJAY SINGH: I had to fix it. I was overpowering my right side of my -- well, whole golf swing was all right-handed. When I was playing well, it was all left-handed. That's the part that I had to fix and to really go out there and try to control the golf swing left-handed. It's not easy to do, and that's what I've been doing.

Q. How long did you work on that in the off-season?
VIJAY SINGH: Every day almost when I go to the golf course. I started the week of Disney and never stopped, and every golf swing is, you know, has some sort of a thought to it about what I need to do for my swing. So far, it's working.

Q. If you had to compare back to a swing that you've had in the past, where would you put it?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, I never did worry about my left hand before. I was already a very left-sided swinger. Last year, trying to hit the ball a lot longer with the driver I had, I was trying to overpower and I got very strong, physically very strong and I think my right hand took over.
It was good that I found out what I was doing, and it's as good as I can swing it right now.

Q. Talking about physically, with the wind and the rain yesterday and all the wind and the rest of it out here, this is a physical golf course, too. How do you feel about that?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, walking is very difficult over here.

Q. That's what I mean, it's physically difficult to walk.
VIJAY SINGH: Walking into the wind uphill is even more harder. You have to stand there and hit the ball at the same time; that's almost impossible.
You know, we train for it. Once we're out there, we don't let it bother us. I think we've got a lot of adrenaline flowing at the same time. End of the day -- we sleep well at night. (Laughing).

Q. So you feel physically fit with this?
VIJAY SINGH: Well, I'm physically okay when I get out there, but at the end of the day, you get very tired. The night, it's just not long enough. You have to wake up and do it all over again.

Q. When you make a fix like you said and you change your driver and you come into these extreme conditions, is this like the ultimate test for that?
VIJAY SINGH: Yeah, lucky enough, I was on the big island, you know, a few days before this and I played some extreme windy conditions there, too. So that helped me get a lot more confidence with what I was doing.
I guess driving the ball is also very, very important out here. The driver I've got now, I feel really comfortable and that's the first bad drive I hit on 18 for the last -- for a while, that kind of shot. But it wasn't the driver's fault. I always tried to hit it too hard.
I'm happy with my driver, and I'm happy with my golf swing, and it's looking good. It's feeling good, which is more important than looks good.

Q. Is it a few driver, and what is it?
VIJAY SINGH: It's a HiBore, it's a new Cleveland driver. The HiBore that came out last year which I used, this is a new generation one, much bigger and it's got some pop in it.

Q. You're obviously one of the best players in the world. Cleveland is kind of a different company right now with a lot of players not playing Cleveland clubs due to the transition to Quick Silver. Are you concerned that you'll be able to get the support that you need to when you want to transition clubs or make changes or anything like that?
VIJAY SINGH: On the contrary. I think Cleveland is a very comfortable company to work with. They are really helpful with me and I've never had any problems with getting whatever I wanted.
You know, some players may think otherwise, but I think they have been the best thing for me out there. I asked for a new driver and they got me this new HiBore , and it's an incredible club. I wouldn't be surprised if a lot more guys don't change to it. It's probably one of the better drivers out here for a while.
TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Vijay.

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