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Vijay Singh

  • Haven, Wisconsin, Aug 15, 2004: Vijay Singh wins PGA Championship in playoff-claiming the Wanamaker Trophy and a check for $1.125 million........more


NRI Fijian, Vijay Singh keeps pace with second victory

April 26, 2004

Vijay Singh chased Tiger Woods for PGA Tour Player of the Year honors last year, and this year he might be chasing Phil Mickelson.

Singh won the rain-delayed Shell Houston Open on Monday to earn his second victory of the season, joining Mickelson as the only two-time winners on the Tour.

Among Mickelson's victories is The Masters, which gives him the lead over Singh in season earnings. Mickelson has $3,488,600. Singh, who earned $900,000 Monday, has $3,349,866.

Mickelson is the early favorite for Player of the Year. Last year Woods, who won five times and finished second to Singh in earnings, was voted Player of the Year by his peers.

''Last year he was playing better than anybody when the season was over,'' Scott Hoch said of Singh.

In 11 starts, Singh has six top-10s. Mickelson has eight in nine tournaments. He did not play the Houston Open, but he's scheduled to play the HP Classic of New Orleans, beginning Thursday.

Singh did not make a bogey in either of the last two rounds and finished 11 under par at Redstone Golf Club in Humble, Texas.

He shot 68 Monday and was two strokes better than Hoch (67). His worse score on any hole was a double-bogey six in the second round when he shot 66.

''His normal game is a bogey and then three birdies,'' Hoch said. ''For anybody to play without a bogey, they had to have some really good (saves) or really good putts.''

Singh led the field in driving distance (318 yards) and greens in regulation (61 of 72, 85 percent).

''I was driving the ball well,'' he said. ''When I'm driving it well, it feels like my game is there.''

Singh won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am in February, and he tied for sixth in The Masters.

In Augusta he matched Mickelson in the last two rounds with 69 each day. But he had 75 and 73 in the first two rounds. Both days he had problems at Augusta National's par-5 15th hole. He made eight on it in the first round and seven in the second.

''One hole kind of killed me,'' he said. ''If you take that hole away, I would have played well.''

Singh said he left The Masters with a lot of confidence and he came to Houston sure of himself.

''Today was the best I've played in a long time,'' he said. ''I struck the ball really solid from tee to green.

''I'd like to play this way every day, not because I won but because I struck the ball really solid.''

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Vijay Singh won the John Deere Classic

September 8, 2003

Vijay Singh's sweet swing has earned him more than $5.6 million this year.

That said, Vijay Singh does deserve our admiration, even if it is difficult to put all the other stuff aside.And in golf, Vijay Singh (OK he is a Fijian, but we count him as an NRI!) has displaced Tiger Woods at the top of the table, while Jyoti Randhawa is a homegrown winner on the Japanese circuit. And one shouldn’t forget cricket, where India did after all reach the finals of the World Cup after two decades. Singh won the rain-delayed John Deere Classic on Monday, and simply looking at the raw numbers, you have to say that he is now on the radar for PGA Tour Player of the Year honors.

The victory was his third of the year and pushed him to the top of the PGA Tour money list, ahead of Davis Love and Tiger Woods, past the $5.6 million mark in earnings, meaning he is contender for the tour's money title. It was also his 14th top-10 finish of the year, and when you consider that Singh also has three second-place finishes, you realize that the man is in contention often. Vijay Singh, simply put, is one of the best golfers of his era, even if he rarely gets credit for it.

Amazingly, in a year of many distractions, Singh, 40, is having his best season.

"I actually [have] had no problem playing," Singh said over the weekend at the John Deere Classic. "As you can see, I'm playing pretty good. The most controversial week, I won, so it didn't really affect me that much."

That, of course, came at the Byron Nelson Championship, the week before the Bank of America Colonial in which Annika Sorenstam competed with the men. Singh made it painfully clear that he thought Sorenstam had no business playing.

Fair enough; many of his fellow pros felt that same way. But then Singh made it personal, declaring he would withdraw from the tournament if paired with her (even though it was impossible for the first two rounds). He later made that a moot point by withdrawing from Colonial before it even started.

It makes you wonder how Singh would feel if someone said they would withdraw from a tournament if paired with him because of the color of his skin.

Singh's 10-year career on the PGA Tour has not been filled with pithy quotes. In fact, before his comments about Sorenstam, it probably was easier to paddle to his native Fiji than get him to say anything of substance.

His distrust of the media likely stems from his 1985 suspension from the Asian Tour after he was accused of altering his scorecard at the Indonesian Open. Singh has long claimed it was a "misunderstanding," but never completely set the record straight.

Nor has he expounded much on his remarkable journey to a top-10 player in the world, learning the game in Fiji from his father, spending time in exile in the steamy jungles of Borneo working on his game.

Singh just plays. Renowned for his endless ball-beating sessions on the practice range, Singh is the envy of many of his peers, who say he is a friendly, funny sort who gets a bad rap.

If you happen to just listen to his clubs, there is no arguing his place in the game. Some will say he should be considered for Player of the Year, although that is not Singh's concern.

"Right now I don't think I'm in contention unless I would go out and win the next three or four events," Singh said. "I think the guys that won the majors, they're all first-time winners, I think they should be given the award because it's no easy task winning a major for the first time.

"I think the money title is more important than Player of the Year for me. When you start off -- if you win the money title, obviously Player of the Year, you've got a chance of winning that. For me I think playing tournaments, winning golf tournaments, is the key, and if that leads you to winning the money title -- when we look at the money title, we see who's 1, who's 2, who's 3, and that is my goal, to be up there at the end of the season."



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Vijay SIngh holds up the Wanamaker Trophy after winning the 86th PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Haven, Wis., Sunday, Aug.15, 2004.