Is Singh the Favorite This Week

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Quick trivia question on the eve of the 32 Players Championship:
 
Name the only two players currently ranked in the top 10 in the world who have won this tournament.
 
Of course you knew one of them was Tiger Woods. You may have struggled to come up with the second one. It is defending champion Adam Scott, ranked No. 9.
 
What that means, among other things, is that Vijay Singh, the No. 1 ranked player in the world has never won here. This is where he practices. This is where he lives. Yet his best finish here is second in 2001.
 
Vijay Singh
Vijay Singh is coming off of two painful losses at Honda and Bay Hill.
Almost to a man, the players I have talked to agree that nobody in the world is striking the ball any better than Singh at the moment. And the fact is, Singh could have four victories right now instead of the one he grabbed at the Sony Open.
 
At the season opening Mercedes Championships Singh was in the drivers seat well into the back nine on Sunday when a few uncharacteristic loose swings cost him the tournament. Two weeks ago at the Honda Classic Singh missed a short putt in the playoff with Padraig Harrington and lost there. Then last Sunday at Bay Hill he rinsed his approach on the 72nd hole'some say he took a line that was too aggressive'and opened the door for Kenny Perry.
 
Strangely, Singh regained his No. 1 ranking from Woods. But it was a hollow re-ascendancy. Or as he put it, Big Deal.
 
So now we wonder if Vijay should be favored to win this week. He has reached that stature on the PGA Tour that whenever he putts well he will be a strong threat to win. That used to be what they said about Woods when Woods was dominating the world golf scene in 2000.
 
It was interesting to me how unstressed Singh appeared after the final hole double bogey at Bay Hill. What I see is a man who is hitting the ball so well; a man who enjoys the sheer joy of striking a golf ball properly; that the wins and losses almost dont matter.
 
If you could play basketball as well as Michael Jordan, would it really matter whether your team won six world championships or 10 world championships?
 
On one level, of course, it would matter very much. But Jordan was in the zone, basically, for his whole career. Singh has been in a golfing zone for the better part of the last two years.
 
He will continue to grind. He will continue to practice ceaselessly. And he will win his share as long as his languid swing holds up and his body stays healthy.
 
But he has reached that enviable stage. He knows hes going to hit the ball well almost every time he pushes a tee into the ground. He knows the wins and the ranking and the money will take care of themselves.
 
It must be nice.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
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