Saturday, September 08, 2012
Singh humming along, in no hurry to join senior circuit
By Steve Keating
CARMEL, Indiana (Reuters) - Vijay Singh will celebrate his 50th birthday in February, making the Fijian eligible for the PGA Tour's equivalent of the old age pension - a spot on the senior circuit.
But the former nightclub bouncer has no plans to go gentle in that good night, saying on Friday he will continue competing against the best and remain on the PGA Tour.
Singh is certainly showing he can still keep up with golf's young guns, firing a six-under 66 at the BMW Championship on Friday for a one-shot lead over three players, including world number Rory McIlroy, 23, and longtime nemesis Tiger Woods, 36.
"I'm going to be on the Tour," Singh assured reporters. "I don't think I'm going to play the Champions Tour this year."
The smooth swinging Fijian also has his sights set on earning an invitation to the season-ending FedExCup final in Atlanta and a shot at the $10 million bonus that goes to the playoff champion.
Only 30 of the 70 golfers teeing it up at Crooked Stick Golf Club will qualify for the September 20-23 Tour Championship at East Lake Golf Club and Singh will need to finish in the top four here to clinch one of the coveted spots.
A triple major winner, Singh has won just about everything there is to win in golf, including the 2008 FedExCup, but he has not been triumphed on the PGA Tour since 2008, a dry spell he hopes to end this week with a 35th PGA Tour title.
Singh held a share of the lead after two rounds of the PGA Championship last month and was in contention at the Barclays, the first of the four lucrative FedExCup playoff events but has been unable to close the deal.
"I guess I want it so bad that I get in my own way, so I just have to get out of my own way and play," said Singh, relishing being pain-free after three frustrating years of assorted health problems. "Last weekend I played better but I didn't play well the first two days.
"Hopefully I can go out there and just shoot two comfortable rounds this weekend."
The challenge facing Singh at Crooked Stick is a daunting one with a high quality leaderboard featuring four players who have all held the number one world in the top five spots.
It is doubtful, however, that any player will earn the victory by outworking the big Fijian, whose gladiatorial workouts are legendary.
Singh has worn out caddies and has a well-earned reputation as the hardest working player on the PGA Tour for the long hours he puts in on the practise range and putting green.
That work ethic helped him a record 22 wins in his 40s and he hopes to add at least one more to that total before he reaches 50.
"I spend probably an hour a day at least putting," said Singh. "It gets my back going a little bit. ...It's a good workout with my back. But I guess it's paying off.
"I needed to put that much time, and it's always good to know that when you work so hard, it pays off."
(Editing by Frank Pingue)