Singh Looks to End Dry Spell in Houston


2005 Shell Houston OpenHUMBLE, Texas -- Vijay Singh might have found the perfect remedy for his three-month dry spell.
A winner twice in the past three years at the Houston Open, Singh is counting on a return here to snap out of a victory drought that dropped him from No. 1 in the world.
'I'm waiting for another kick start,' Singh said Wednesday, the same day he was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. 'Maybe this is a place to get me going again.'
A year ago, Singh came to this tournament in pretty much the same position. He had won only one event, Pebble Beach, and was mired in a dry spell that gave little hint of the dazzling year to come.
Then he won in Houston by two shots over Scott Hoch, won in New Orleans a week later and finished the season with nine wins, shattering the tour record for earnings with nearly $11 million and replacing Tiger Woods at No. 1.
The season has started off much the same for Singh in 2005.
After a birdie on the 18th hole to win the Sony Open in January, Singh missed the cut at Pebble Beach, was knocked out in the second round at the Match Play Championship and never made much of a run at the Masters. He has come close on occasion, finishing runner-up two straight weeks in Florida.
But he arrived at Redstone Golf Club behind only Phil Mickelson and Woods on the money list and confident he could come up with a repeat performance. After all, he has finished in the top five in four of his last five tournaments.
'I feel like I'm in better position right now than I was last year,' Singh said. 'I'm not going to say I'm going to go ahead and win another eight tournaments, but I'm going to try. It's out there and I'm able to do that.'
History, however, will be against him when the tournament begins Thursday.
The event has never had back-to-back winners since it began in 1946.
Eight players, Singh and Arnold Palmer among them, have won at least twice here and Curtis Strange won three times (1980, 1986 and 1988). Palmer came the closest to winning in consecutive years, taking the 1966 event, then finishing second the next year, one shot behind Frank Beard.
Regardless, Singh has a better chance of repeating than most because several other top players opted not to come.
Five of the top 15 players in the world - Luke Donald, Adam Scott, Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Sergio Garcia - are playing at the Johnnie Walker Classic in China.
Singh, David Toms, Darren Clarke and Chad Campbell are the only players from the top 20 in the world at Houston.
Peter Jacobsen, who helped redesign Redstone in 2002, lamented the absence of big names, particularly Woods.
'I think it is incumbent upon all of the best players to come play in an event like this,' Jacobsen said. 'I think this would be a great golf course for Tiger Woods. I'm shocked that Tiger does not play this event.
'We wanted to build a golf course that was fun and fair for all levels of players and I think we've done that.'
This year's event is the third and final one at Redstone, where it moved in 2003 after 18 years on the TPC at The Woodlands. It is scheduled to move again next year to a Rees Jones-designed course now under construction next to Redstone.
Related Links:
  • Singh Elected into Hall of Fame
  • Full Coverage - Shell Houston Open
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