Vijay Singh Loves Hawaii

By Brian HewittDecember 31, 2007, 5:00 pm
Vijay Singh quietly finished 10th in the Official World Golf Ranking at the end of 2007. It disappointed him.
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.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Mercedes-Benz Championship
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

    Getty Images

    Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – 

    Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

    Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

    ''Wind was down again,'' Landry said. ''It's like a dome out here.''

    Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.

    ''It's tough to come back because I feel like I expected myself to go to the range and keep just flushing everything like I did yesterday,'' Rahm said. ''Everything was just a little bit off.''

    Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

    ''You need to hit it a lot more accurate off the tee because being in the fairway is a lot more important,'' Rahm said about the Pete Dye-designed Stadium Course, a layout the former Arizona State player likened to the Dye-designed Karsten course on the school's campus. ''With the small greens, you have water in play. You need to be more precise. Clearly the hardest golf course.''

    Landry pointed to the Saturday forecast.

    ''I think the wind's supposed to be up like 10 to 20 mph or something, so I know that golf course can get a little mean,'' Landry said. ''Especially, those last three or four holes.''

    The 30-year-old former Arkansas player had five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine. After winning his second Tour title last year, he had two top-10 finishes in October and November at the start the PGA Tour season.

    ''We're in a good spot right now,'' Landry said. ''I played two good rounds of golf, bogey-free both times, and it's just nice to be able to hit a lot of good quality shots and get rewarded when you're making good putts.''

    Rahm had four birdies and the two bogeys on his first six holes. He short-sided himself in the left bunker on the par-3 12th for his first bogey of the week and three-putted the par-4 14th – pulling a 3-footer and loudly asking ''What?'' – to drop another stroke.

    ''A couple of those bad swings cost me,'' Rahm said.

    The top-ranked player in the field at No. 3 in the world, Rahm made his first par of the day on the par-4 16th and followed with five more before birdieing the par-5 fourth. The 23-year-old Spaniard also birdied the par-5 seventh and par-3 eighth.

    ''I had close birdie putts over the last four holes and made two of them, so I think that kind of clicked,'' said Rahm, set to defend his title next week at Torrey Pines.

    He has played the par 5s in 9 under with an eagle and seven birdies.

    Johnson has taken a relaxed approach to the week, cutting his practice to two nine-hole rounds on the Stadium Course.

    ''I'm not saying that's why I'm playing well, but I took it really chill and the golf courses haven't changed,'' Johnson said. ''La Quinta's still really pure, right out in front of you, as is the Nicklaus.''

    Playing partner Phil Mickelson followed his opening 70 at La Quinta with a 68 at Nicklaus to get to 6 under. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer is playing his first tournament of since late October.

    ''The scores obviously aren't what I want, but it's pretty close and I feel good about my game,'' Mickelson said. ''I feel like this is a great place to start the year and build a foundation for my game. It's easy to identify the strengths and weaknesses. My iron play has been poor relative to the standards that I have. My driving has been above average.''

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on a sponsor exemption, had a 70 at Nicklaus to match Mickelson at 6 under. The Southern California recruit is playing his first PGA Tour event. He tied for 65th in the Australian Open in November in his first start in a professional tournament.

    Getty Images

    Mickelson 'displeased' with iron play; 10 back

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:18 am

    All of Phil Mickelson’s offseason work on his driver has paid off through two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    His iron play? Not as sharp, and it’s the reason why he heads into the weekend 10 shots off the lead.

    “I’ve been pretty pleased, overall, with the way I’ve been driving the ball, and very displeased with the way my iron game has been,” said Mickelson, who shot 68 Friday on PGA West’s Nicklaus course. He has hit only 21 of 36 greens so far this week. “Usually my iron play is a lot better than what it’s been. So I’ll go work on it and hopefully improve each round in this tournament and build a solid foundation for the upcoming West Coast events.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    “I feel like if I continue to drive the ball the way I am, and if I got my iron play back to my normal standard, I should have the results that I’ve been expecting.”

    Mickelson, of course, is always bullish this time of year, but he has been able to find 10 of 14 fairways each of the past two rounds, including at narrower La Quinta Country Club, which doesn’t always fit his eye.

    “This is actually the best I’ve driven it in a lot of years,” he said.

    Currently in a tie for 67th, Mickelson will need a solid round on the more difficult Stadium course Saturday to ensure that he makes the 54-hole cut. He hasn’t missed a cut in his first West Coast event of the new year since 2009.