Golf News for Tuesday, May 10, 2005 | Others

Vijay Singh interview - Wachovia Championship

Q: Congratulations, Vijay, 2005 Wachovia Championship winner. It's been a couple of fun weeks here on the PGA TOUR, down to the wire, and you just added to it with that 66 coming in today. Why don't you just talk about your emotions a little bit right now and then we'll go into questions.

Vijay Singh: Obviously it was pretty exciting there at the end. You know, Sergio made it a little easier for us by bogeying 17. You know, even in the playoff, it was pretty tense. You can't miss a golf shot out there because the golf course will not yield at all. It was tough playing the finishing holes, but I played really solid today. I kept my head and tried to post a score, and I thought 12-under was the number when I started off, and I was right.

Q: Is winning getting old for you yet?

Vijay Singh: No, this is just like the first one I won (laughter).

Q: Talk about the crowd and the excitement and just the drama.

Vijay Singh: When we started off Thursday, the crowds were lined up, maybe because of the grouping of players, I don't know who was in front of us, but Tiger was in front of us, myself, Sergio and then I think Phil was behind, so it was a lot of good players at one time. The crowd just lined up from the getgo. It was a great feeling, like playing a major event. Today was unbelievable. I don't know how many crowd was up there, but there was a whole lot of them.

Q: Could you talk about the year in general? You've been just playing good week in and week out, a couple of breaks you could have even a couple more wins than you already have.

Vijay Singh: I don't know, I'm just playing golf. I mean, I said after Houston -- or before Houston, I said, I'm playing better golf this year than I did last year, it's just that I won more times last year. I feel good about my golf game, my driving; my putting is not as good as last year, but I don't feel like I'm putting badly, just they're not going in the holes.

You know, it's been incredible. I'm looking forward to the next few events. I've got next week and then I've got two weeks off, but I'm looking forward to the U.S. Open when I get back.

Q: Did you keep your eye on the leaderboard to see how Sergio was going or did you just play your own game?

Vijay Singh: After the 11th hole, after I made birdie on 10, I looked up, he had doubled 9, so I said, "Wow, this is game on" because that's when I was just one back. I went on and birdied 11, 12 and 13 and I got ahead. Once you're within one shot or two shots of the lead going into the last nine, it's anybody's game. I was playing well. You know, I was in the middle of everything.

Q: It seems like you're in contention virtually every week. When you go into a tournament right now in the mode you've been in the last two years, do you just feel like you're going to be there at the end with a chance?

Vijay Singh: Yeah. I mean, you just don't want to put yourself out of the tournament the first two days. That's the key. If you go ahead and shoot good numbers the first two days, that's a different story, but you just want to play consistent the first two and see if you can get in the lead going to Saturday. It was a little different this week, but that's what I try to do.

When I come to a golf tournament I feel like I should win the golf tournament the way I play. It doesn't normally happen, but that's the mind thought that way.

Q: Six down going into today, how did you feel your chances were? Sergio had been playing well all week.

Vijay Singh: Yeah, I told my wife, she kept asking, "What do you think?" I said, "I think 12-under is going to be the number." If Sergio went on and played the way he did yesterday, then obviously he would have blown us away.

You know, when I started off today, I saw Phil, and he was 8-, 9-under through 14 or 15 holes. That told me that it was out there, that the score was out there if you played decent enough. It kind of lifted me up and got me fired up.

Still, you need to post it. That's what my intentions were.

Q: What was different today? There hadn't been a lot of low numbers shot, and today all you guys, pursuers, really lit it up. What was different?

Vijay Singh: Well, the pin placements were not over ridges, so you could actually attack your approach shots and your putts. That was one main thought. And there was a little less wind, as well. I think the wind was a big factor.

Q: First hole of the playoff, you guys all sort of chuckled after you rolled the green. I guess you left your putts short. What was so funny out there?

Vijay Singh: I told the guys, "Good, good, good, let's go to the next tee box."

Q: I believe this is four playoffs for you this year.

Vijay Singh: This year? Is it? I think three, right?

Q: I've been to two of them I know.

Vijay Singh: I screwed up in Bay Hill.

Q: Not Bay Hill, you had a playoff at Honda and a playoff here, and Houston.

Q: Anyway, you've been in enough playoffs this year to last a career. Is there some different attitude you have toward playoffs?

Vijay Singh: I mean, you've got to just go ahead and just play it. You know, you shouldn't be disappointed that you can lose. Of course you're going to be disappointed, but playing playoffs is just like -- I don't know, it's a coin toss. You just have to go out there and just play and hit the best shots you can. If one beats you -- straight away it's a match play. Whoever gets one up, that's it. That's how you've got to play the playoffs.

Q: Do you have an extra gear when you get into a playoff? Like at Whistling Straits you seemed to be able to turn it up there, hit the shot on 17, and you hit the shot on 17 today.

Vijay Singh: I don't know, you have more focus. In a playoff you only think of that one shot at a time. You're not even worried about anything else that's going on, just one particular shot, and probably that's why it's a little bit easier to go ahead and play it. Maybe I should do that all the time.

Q: Did you enjoy being paired with a Tour rookie like Trahan, and kind of what were some of your impressions of the way he played out there today?

Vijay Singh: I've played with him before. He's a really good kid. He's really laid back. He didn't play as well as he wanted to, but he learned a lot today. It's not just pull a driver and hit it whenever you have to. I guess you learn from experiences like this. You've just got to show up. He's got a lot of talent, and he's a good player. His name is going to be up there many, many times.

Q: You said you thought 12 was the number. Did you seem to think that Sergio couldn't really go any lower, or where did you sort of feel that?

Vijay Singh: Sometimes it's harder to play with a big lead. I've found that myself. If you're five, six up, for some reason you don't want to lose the golf tournament. Instead of trying to win the golf tournament, you don't want to lose it. So that's a big factor there.

If guys are catching up, you know, you've got a six-shot lead at the start, and within four or five holes, you've only got three or four, you kind of start to get a little nervous. I don't know why, but that happens. Guys are getting closer.

That played a little bit, I bet, in his mind. And also, I'm thinking he was a little bit nervous himself trying to go out there. I guess anybody would be. He played well. You can't go out there and shoot low numbers every day. It's just a tough golf course.

Q: For the past couple years your rise to No. 1 was kind of your motivation. I mean, other than winning, is there anything that motivates you right now?

Vijay Singh: Just winning, I guess. I just want to go out there and win golf tournaments. I've done away with trying to be No. 1. I mean, it seems like I've got to win five times to get up there. I totally forgot about that. That does not cross my mind anymore. I just want to go out there and win golf tournaments.

Q: Did this golf tournament have kind of a major feel the way that the week went?

Vijay Singh: Yeah, I said that earlier on. It's incredible. I mean, the golf course is so good. All they need to do is grow rough over here and it would be a U.S. Open golf course. The greens were hard and firm like we normally play the U.S. Open, a major golf tournament, and it's a demanding golf course. You've got to hit fairways and you've got to hit greens, and if you're on the wrong side of the greens it's difficult to get a two-putt going. And the fans were incredible, plus the weather.

Q: You said that there was tension in the playoff. When Jim hit his drive on 18 left, does that change things? Does that loosen things up a little bit?

Vijay Singh: Well, everything was still okay until he laid up. And once he laid up, I said, I don't know what kind of lie he had or if he had an option to go on the other side of the creek. I don't know why he chose to hit it from the other side. Maybe it didn't cross his mind. But I think he could have got a better lie from the other side of the creek.

But once he laid up, I said, well, hit it to the right of the green and try to get up-and-down and try to make a 4 that way, and there was no guarantee he was going to get up-and-down for a 5.

Unfortunately once his ball hit the flag I knew he was going to go backwards. It didn't matter anymore. I was going for a 5 and I hit that bunker shot.

Q: Can you talk about your game being in better shape than a year ago at this time? Where do you feel that most?

Vijay Singh: Just the whole swing. You know, I'm not fighting my golf swing anymore. I'm setting up over the ball and putting a good golf swing on it. I think my golf swing has gotten more and more consistent from last year. Last year was the start of it and it's gotten better as the weeks went by. Right now I feel very comfortable with my golf swing. My driving has been decent, the whole game is pretty good.

Q: Ten years ago would you have thought you'd be enjoying this much success at this time?

Vijay Singh: Yeah, why not (laughter)? I don't know, ten years ago, gosh, it's hard to go back ten years. My intentions were always to play good golf. I don't know if I could have dreamt that I'd be sitting here winning 27 times on the Tour. I don't know if I thought about that ten years ago. It's pretty hard to win one golf tournament.

Q: Sergio tied a record with losing a six-shot lead today. As a player do you sympathize with a guy when he's going to get kind of hung with that title now?

Vijay Singh: Well, yes and no. He didn't play badly. He didn't shoot a high number or anything. I mean, he did go in the playoff, and we actually caught him. He didn't go out there and shoot 5-, 6-over to lose it. We won it. That way I don't think he's going to -- he may feel a little bit -- I don't know what he's going to feel, but he's got to feel pissed off for sure. He's going to feel it a little bit, but not as bad as what Greg did during The Masters.

Q: Could you run through the 17th hole in the playoff, your tee shot, and talk about the putts both you guys had?

Vijay Singh: I hit a pretty decent shot and Jim kind of topped me with his good one. His putt actually fooled me because he did hit it past because it didn't break as much as I thought it would. I gave myself a good two cups out there. Maybe I came out of it. I thought I hit my line, just missed. That's all you can do, stand over it and try to hit your mark. If it goes in, it's fine, but it just missed.

Q: You say you're not fighting your swing. Is that simply a product of hard work?

Vijay Singh: Yeah, hard work of a long time ago; but getting all the mechanics together, I think that's more important. You can work on your golf swing and not know what to do. You can work as much as you want. It's not going to help.

But I think knowing your golf swing, knowing what to work on and getting all the mechanics together and firing in one sequence, that's what my golf swing is right now. Everything is in sync. My shoulders, my hips and my legs are all going together with my club head. Once you do that, you're going to hit good golf shots.

Q: Even when you've won as much as you've won, do you still learn anything on a day like today?

Vijay Singh: You do get nervous. Patience is one. You always go out there knowing that a good number is always going to -- like I was six back. If you go out and post a good number, it's going to show up on the leaderboard and the leaders are going to watch it. That's a great thing to do. But you've got to go out and post it.

Unlike Phil, when he went out early and he was 8-under or 9-under, it got all our attention. You should never give up. When you go out there with 18 holes, you never can tell what can happen.

Q: How will you celebrate this, take a day off?

Vijay Singh: I don't know. I was thinking about going home for one. I haven't seen my boy in a week. I don't know, order some pizza and go to sleep. Wake up tomorrow and it's another day. I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow; I haven't decided yet. Just take it easy, I guess. Stay around the house and get ready to go to Dallas on Tuesday.

Q: Do you and Jim spend a lot of time on the range together in Ponte Vedra?

Vijay Singh: We see each other. I don't think we spend too much time together. You know, he's always working on his own golf swing and I'm always doing something else. But we talk and sometimes we have good conversations, but we never go out and play or practice together, but we're always around there.

Q: What's different -- what's come together in your game at age 42 for these multiple win seasons that you couldn't make happen at age 30, age 28?

Vijay Singh: You guys are better. You guys have molded me a little bit better. That's why, I think (laughing). Consistency, I guess, and working out, also. That's a big part of my success right now is being healthy, being fit. When you go out there, when you're walking, you feel strong. You go out there and people notice that. People tell you that, "Hey, you look really in tune with your body." That kind of gives you a little bit more confidence, I guess. I'm hitting the ball as long as the young kids out there, which makes a big difference.

I guess that's a big help. Look at Nicky Price now. He's 46 years old. He looks like his weight has gone back to where he was some 20 years, 10 years ago. So he's beginning to get -- I mean, he's watching us and he gets the message. I mean, he wants to work out, he wants to play good again. I think that's it. Working out is, I guess, the key to everything when you get old.

Source - Wachovia Championship