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August 3, 2008

Vijay Singh


LAURA HILL: Congratulations, first World Golf Championships win and your first win of this season. Tell us how you feel about this victory.
VIJAY SINGH: Well, really relieved. I had a good finish there at the end. But I kept hitting a lot of good shots, and my putting was not the best all day, although I made a lot of birdies on the front nine. I hit it pretty close. But towards the back nine I started missing those four-footers and five-footers, and I was wondering if -- I tried to hit it as close as possible so I didn't leave myself a putt.
But I was very confident because I practiced so hard last week on the putting, and I kept telling myself, put the stroke you've been putting with. The five-footer, four-footer or whatever I had on 17 was a good putt, went straight in the middle, and the last putt I hit on the right edge and it actually started right where I aimed and went in the hole. At the end of the day, it paid off.

Q. It's been a while coming, but you're now officially the winningest international player on the PGA TOUR. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on that.
VIJAY SINGH: I'm so worried about that (laughter).

Q. There have been a lot of guys.
VIJAY SINGH: It's good to know. I didn't know that, and I guess it's good to know that I am that one person that won the most on this TOUR.
I really was not that worried about that today. I was out there trying to win a golf tournament, and that was my goal.

Q. How important was it for you to win now since it's been a while, and also going into next week's major?
VIJAY SINGH: It gives me a lot of confidence. You know, I struck the ball really well, especially with my irons. Except for the second day, my driver was really good all week. But it gives me -- puts me in a really good frame of mind going into next week and the rest of the season.
I was really confident, and although I hadn't won, I was confident I was going to win. I told everybody that knows me that it's just a matter of time, it's going to come. So I'm glad that it's happened so quickly. I mean, this was a six-week run, and I was geared up to win. I'm glad that it happened the first week out.

Q. I was just wondering if you could describe how you felt at 18. Was your stomach going crazy the last putt?
VIJAY SINGH: I don't know why I left myself a four-footer.

Q. You did it on 17.
VIJAY SINGH: Well, 17 was just an uphill putt, I thought I hit it high enough, and it just obviously wasn't hard enough. But on 18, I had a good line, and I said, just cozy it down there. If it goes in, fine; don't leave yourself a four-footer (laughter). I left myself a four-footer. Yeah, that shows that if you really practice -- I've been practicing four- and five-footers all week last week, and at the end of the day it pays off. And 17 and 18, it showed up. Those four- and five-footers I've been practicing, I told myself, just like home, go ahead and make the stroke, and it went in.

Q. Last time you feel you've played this good with your 13 regular clubs, pretty good ball-striking this week?
VIJAY SINGH: I played well, too, made a lot of birdies. Although I missed quite a few, I made some nice putts. The whole game was good.
But my iron play was really better than the rest of the -- my driver or my putting. My iron game was about one of the best weeks I've had for a long, long time. It was good to see and good to know that it's happening at the right time. We've got some good tournaments coming up, and I'm just looking forward to playing next week now.

Q. Why were you practicing the four- and five-footers specifically?
VIJAY SINGH: Because I miss a lot of those (laughter). I'm very, very uncomfortable with four- and five-footers. But I think after 17 and 18 now, I just can't wait to get another one (laughter).

Q. The first couple holes of the final round when you're in contention or obviously very critical, and today you birdied three of the first four holes, how does that tend to carry over to the rest of the round?
VIJAY SINGH: You know, you try to play one hole at a time, but when you're making so many birdies you try not to look ahead. I knew there was a lot of holes to come. I knew there was a lot of difficult holes to come ahead, and this is Firestone; there's so many ways of making bogeys over here if you don't hit it right.
But I just -- the key to my whole round was trying to hit the ball on the fairway, and that's what I was doing so well today. Once you get the ball in the fairway, you have a chance of attacking the flag or hitting to the right side of the flag where you can make pars and birdies. I just played a hole at a time. Lee kind of started making birdies, so we kind of played -- I rode the wind with him there a little bit. He started making birdies, and I thought, well, you know, I felt good about it, too, and I wasn't playing bad at all. So we kind of fed off of each other, and it was good to see that.

Q. Do you feel ten years younger now?
VIJAY SINGH: Ten? I always feel ten years younger. Now I feel like 20 years younger (laughter).

Q. Do you get anything out of Kenny Perry being three years older than you, winning three times?
VIJAY SINGH: Not really. I'm happy for Kenny. I think he's done great this year, and it shows that you can still play no matter what your age is. It's just a number.

Q. In all the times you've been here and just the significance of this tournament, what it means to you, you really didn't want to talk about that yesterday.
VIJAY SINGH: I've played here I don't know how many years in a row, and I came close one time. I don't know if I lost in a playoff here once at Firestone. But I did come close. You know, you need to hit the ball well here. You need to bring your game over here. You can't just come over here and get it around and win. You can have one good round like that, but you can't have four solid sounds, you have to play golf. My driver was unbelievable, a Cleveland Hi-Bore. That's the way to go.

Q. From the standpoint of performance and/or execution, is it possible to rate this along any other victory, say Whistling Straits?
VIJAY SINGH: Goodness. It's hard to say. I mean, different golf courses have -- you play them differently, and I just think I hit the ball, except for the second day, like I said, I drove the ball beautifully and hit really a lot of good iron shots. I felt really comfortable. If you want to take something from this week, I felt really comfortable over the ball with my irons. That's what I was practicing all week last week, just hitting a lot of iron shots.
I think the swing that I've changed the last year, towards the end of last year, is finally coming together, and it just feels good, and I don't have to feel -- think about anything but just swinging the club, and that's a good way to play.

Q. A lot of players when they reach their 40s, maybe they appreciate wins a little bit more. You never know for certain how many more you're going to win. Is that the situation perhaps today?
VIJAY SINGH: I don't know if I'm -- I just feel comfortable right now. I am not worried about being 40 or 45 or even next year for that matter. I feel like I'm -- I have a great trainer who's taken me to the next level, and I think he's done wonders for me. I've got to give all the kudos to him. I think he really took me through a difficult program and it's showing up now.
As you get older, I guess you just have to work a little harder, and that's what he's done to me, and I just have to thank him a lot for that. That shows that if you're physically fit, you can play as long as you want to play. Look what Greg Norman did. He looks pretty much the same as he did when he was playing the TOUR. He's as fit as he ever was.
LAURA HILL: Vijay, congratulations.

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