Vijay Singh is planning on making noise in 2008.
I dont like playing six months of the year and not winning a golf tournament, said Singh, who won at Kapalua last January and at Bay Hill in March before going winless the rest of the year. That was the downfall. I felt like I let myself down there.
Vijay Singh cant wait to defend his title at the Mercedes-Benz Championship where he has also finished second twice.
I love Hawaii, Singh said. Its my favorite place in the world. . . . Its just like playing golf in my home country.
Singhs home country is Fiji. He already owns property in Hawaii and plans to build a home there one day and settle down in Hawaii.
Youd be hard-pressed to name anybody but Singh as the favorite for the first event of the 2008 PGA TOUR that begins (can it be upon us so fast?) Thursday at Kapaluas mountainous Plantation Course. It doesnt hurt Singhs chances that Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the No. 1 and 2 players in the world, respectively, will not be in Hawaii this week.
Singh will turn 45 in February. But he changed trainers'from Joey Diovisalvi to Jeffrey Kronk'last summer. And the man Stuart Appleby once referred to affectionately as the Big Coconut Crusher insists he's stronger now than ever.
I dont know if Ive lost any weight, Singh said recently. But Ive lost some size so I look a lot taller now than I did last year.
Well be the judge of that, Veej. But, hey, if it works for you...
Despite a summer slump that saw Singh miss the cut at the PGA Championship and The Barclays which doubled as the first event of the inaugural FedExCup playoffs, Singh pressed on with swing changes. He says they began to pay dividends in Asia in the fall.
And age, he said, sounding like pitching legend Satchel Paige, is just a number. Age does not matter at the moment, Singh said. . . . And we dont even consider that. We sit back and joke about the age but never really seriously think that age will ever matter.
Well be the judge of that, too, Veej. But, hey, none of us will be surprised if Singh is still winning PGA TOUR events well into your 50s. I am pretty flexible by nature, Singh said. Fred Funk won when he was 50. And if you look at Fred Funks size and mine, there really is no comparison how much bigger I am than he is.
Of course, size matters. But, in golf, it isnt everything. Hogan wasnt a large man. Ian Woosnam hit the ball a long way in his prime and once won a Masters. He is 5-4.
I am a lot stronger and hence I can last a lot longer, Singh said. Thats the advantage Ive got.
Top 100 teaching pro Mike Malaska told me recently'speaking about Woods'If you think you have an advantage, you have an advantage.
Singh appears to have figured out the same self-convincing mantra.
Meanwhile Singh says his ball flight is a lot more stronger and its more crisper than it was in July and August and September. Hes itching to begin climbing back up the world rankings ladder.
Everything is looking pretty good so far, he said 10 days ago.
This is worth noting. Singhs history has been to not share these kinds of confidences with the media or the public.
So add Singhs name to the list of players like Mickelson, Ernie Els and even the Jekyll-and-Hydish Rory Sabbatini all of whom live to (and expect) to take Woods down more than once in 2007.
Singh was smart enough not to mention Woods by name recently. But he take a mild shot at Woods and Mickelson and Open Championship winner Padraig Harrington for skipping Kapalua. I think everybody should be grateful that we have a big event to play in and not just take for granted that its the holiday season and we shouldnt be having a tournament.
Thats about as noisy as Vijay Singh gets when his clubs arent speaking for him.
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