Vijay Singh Hook Line and Winker
Four hours earlier, almost to the minute, a Singh none of us had seen in his monster year that was 2004, hit a wicked hook off the 13th tee on the Sunday of the Mercedes Championships. And it cost him the golf tournament when a triple bogey ensued.
So much for taking the left side of the golf course out of play. Vijay Singh isn't Hogan yet.
But now here Singh was ambling down the aisle to the rear of a crowded, commercial, open-seating island hopper bound from Maui to Honolulu.
Somebody mentioned the errant drive.
'I'd just about forgotten it,' Singh said, continuing on to the back of the plane. 'And then you had to remind me.'
He delivered the line like an actor who knew his audience. There was mild irritation in his voice. But there was an underlay of self-deprecation. And there was timing.
Judging by the amused reaction, very few were unaware of who he was or what had happened at Kapalua that afternoon. Stuart Appleby, the winner also happened to be a passenger. There were caddies, heading for the Sony Open, on board as well. And everybody was chuckling.
It was a Vijay Singh I had never seen.
Two days earlier Appleby had referred to Singh affectionately, and in pure colloquial Aussie-ese, as 'the big coconut crusher from Fiji.'
Hadn't heard that one before, either.
I have seen Vijay Singh be mean, cheap, brilliant, silly, moody and helpful. But the Vijay Singh on the plane last Sunday night was one I'd love to see more of at the golf course.
I won't be holding my breath.
This was just another early scene from a 2005 season on the moveable feast of golf and life that is the PGA Tour. Its poignance was way too short-lived. Singh won't be cozying up to the media any time soon. And he will pick his spots to make light of his own self on those rare occasions when he isn't booked on a private jet.
'How often do those guys fly commercial like that,' a man asked me in the jetway after we landed.
The only thing more memorable last Sunday evening in Honolulu was the warm round of spontaneous applause a small group of uniformed American servicemen received when their presence was announced in the waiting area of a flight to Los Angeles.
There is war and terror and the aftermath of a nearly-apocalyptic tsunami in our global consciousness at the moment.
So a golfer sniping it off the tee under pressure isn't the worst thing in the world. And this time the golfer Vijay Singh knew it. So he made people smile.
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Watch that time Tiger throttled Ames, 9 and 8
Nine and eight. Three words that live in golf lore. Just say them and any golf fan can tell you what they mean.
In the 2006 WGC-Match Play, Tiger Woods faced Stephen Ames in the opening round. Ames, when asked prior to the event about his chance of winning, infamously said, "Anything can happen, especially where he's hitting it."
What happened on Wednesday, Feb. 22 at La Coasta Resort & Spa, was the most lopsided result in tournament history: 9 and 8 Check out the highlights below:
Tiger Woods’ 2006 9&8 win at Match Play over Stephen Ames https://t.co/KlB39aNUZB— Skratch (@Skratch) March 20, 2018
After his win, Woods was asked if Ames' comment had motivated him. Woods replied, "9 and 8."
Woods eventually lost, 1 up, to Chad Campbell in the third round. He then won his next start at Doral and went on to finish the season with six consecutive Tour wins, including The Open and PGA. He also won his first start in 2007 to make it seven consecutive Tour titles.
Schedule change, caddie change for Casey at Match Play
AUSTIN, Texas – Paul Casey originally planned to skip the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play, opting for two weeks off before the Masters.
Those plans changed when he removed the Arnold Palmer Invitational from his schedule and returned home to England last week to attend the funeral of a family friend. That adjustment also prompted a caddie change this week, with Scott Vail stepping in for the Englishman’s normal caddie, John McLaren.
“We looked at tickets and it just didn't make sense for Johnny to fly back. We try and base our schedule around playing the best golf possible, but also having quality family time,” Casey said on Tuesday at Austin Country Club. “For Johnny to break up a nice three-week break with his family, there was no point to ruining that.”
This isn’t the first time Casey, who won the Valspar Championship two weeks ago, has needed a replacement caddie. At last year’s Travelers Championship, McLaren took a similar break and was replaced on the bag by Shannon Wallace. Although it’s not uncommon for caddies to take a week off, McLaren does have one stipulation.
“The only rule we have is that if Johnny is not going to work, he picks my caddie. So he picked the caddie,” said Casey, who is 20-12-1 in 12 starts at the Match Play and has advanced to the championship match twice.
Westchester selected to host 2021 U.S. Women's Am
The USGA announced Tuesday that Westchester Country Club in Rye, N.Y., has been selected to host the 2021 U.S. Women's Amateur. The tournament will be held Aug. 2-8, 2021.
The club's West Course first hosted the event in 1923, and it boasts a storied history of professional tournaments as well. The PGA Tour hosted the Westchester Classic, later known as the Buick Classic and eventually The Barclays, at Westchester from 1967-2007, including the first-ever FedExCup playoff event, won by Steve Stricker in 2007.
The course was also the site of the 2011 Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship, won by Fred Couples, and the 2015 KPMG Women's PGA Championship, won by Inbee Park.
"The USGA is thrilled to bring the U.S. Women's Amateur to Westchester Country Club for the second time," Stuart Francis, USGA championship committee chairman, said in a release. "One of the USGA's three oldest championships, the Women's Amateur consistently identifies the world's top female players, and we are confident Westchester will provide the ultimate test for the championship's 121st playing."
First held in 1895, the Women's Amateur is open to players with a USGA handicap index not exceeding 5.4. Sophia Schubert won last year's event at San Diego Country Club, while this year's tournament will be held at The Golf Club of Tennessee in Kingston Springs.
Stock Watch: Park rises again, under the radar
Each week on GolfChannel.com, we’ll examine which players’ stocks and trends are rising and falling in the world of golf.
Rory (+10%): The massive drives, the fist pumps, the unmistakable strut – McIlroy finally found the spark that he needed to play confident, aggressive golf. Bring on Augusta and his shot at history.
Tiger (+7%): It was another forgettable end to a final round, but let’s not lose sight of the big picture: Five events into his comeback, Woods has now carded 10 consecutive rounds of par or better – all on tough tracks – and can be viewed as a legitimate threat at the Masters. Remarkable, really.
Inbee Park (+5%): Fighting injuries and questioning whether she should retire, the Queen ‘Bee routed a top field in just her second start back. Stud.
Bryson (+3%): When The Machine operates properly, he’s one of the best ball-strikers in the world. Yes, he’s still painfully slow, but there’s no denying his talent – his runner-up against a star-studded field should help him tremendously.
Laura Davies (+2%): Fifty-four years old and nursing an Achilles injury, she turned back the clock with one of the coolest performances of the young season, on any tour. She’s still got tons of game.
Henrik Stenson (-1%): Maybe he’s just destined to go winless at Bay Hill. In the past four years, he’s had three excellent chances to win there and came away empty-handed each time.
Rickie (-2%): Hanging near the lead, Fowler closed his third round bogey-double, then shot 74 in the final round to drop out of the top 10. Sigh.
P-Reed (-3%): His whiny protest to a rules official about a free drop – “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth” – got even juicier when the Ryder Cup partners were drawn in the same group at the Match Play. Get your popcorn ready.
Ted Potter Jr. (-5%): His impressive victory at Pebble Beach over DJ, Phil and J-Day is looking more and more like a fluke each week. He’s now missed four consecutive cuts.
Fan behavior (-7%): Another week, another player complaining about increasingly hostile spectators. The Tour has (frustratingly) remained quiet on the issue, but the tipping point will come when one of these dopes affects the outcome on the 72nd hole.