Singhing in The Reign


I am struck by the relative ease with which Vijay Singh, a man who used to appear to be so uncomfortable in the spotlight, is wearing the mantel of being the No. 1 ranked player in the world.
Every week Singh appears a little more at home, on and off the course, with the trappings of his greatness.
Look, we were never going to get Seinfeld in the press room from Singh. He is a grinder not another Oscar Wilde. But for years he looked to be sneering out at us from behind a dark past. We wanted to know more about him and he often acted like he was cornered.
Now he is mostly going with the flow. And it is mostly becoming him. If he isnt letting us inside the inner Vijay, he isnt keeping us at arms length either. Part of this undoubtedly has to do with the fact that Singh is 41 years old. He knows his time on golfs big stage is finite.
He appreciates the fact that a power far greater has bestowed upon him a limber body that rarely breaks down under the abnormal strains of the golf swing. And he has complemented that gift with rigorous physical conditioning.
Sunday at Disney Singh almost tracked down Ryan Palmer in the waning moments of the Funai Classic. His was the stalk of a man who knew he was the best in the field and the only way he would lose was if he ran out of holes. Afterward, Singh was graceful.
Tiger Woods raised the bar in so many ways. Vijay Singh and Ernie Els have, for the time being, jumped over it.
I am reminded of that wonderful cautionary line by Shakespeare in one of his most under appreciated plays, Henry IV, Part II: Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
Singh wears golfs crown these days because he is perched on the throne reserved for the worlds best player. And the head isnt as uneasy as we might have suspected.
Lord knows Singh has earned his stature by dint of sheer hard work. And its easier to smile when you are playing well and winning.
Its easier to be relaxed about all manner of things when you realize that you are about to win $10 million in PGA Tour earnings in one year.
(Singh currently sits atop the money list with $9,825,166. That means he needs to win a combined total of approximately $175,000 in this weeks Chrysler Championship and next weeks Tour Championship, the seasons final two official money events. Last place at the Tour Championship gets an automatic $90,000. Sixteenth or better at Chrysler gets a player $85,000. You can do the rest of the math.)
Meanwhile, the internet is a place in which you can find almost anything. There is an anagram website that informs you that if you unscramble uneasy lies the head that wears a crown, you can come up with this:
What treachery awaits unseen, eh lads?
Lets hope there isnt any treachery down the road for Singh. Golfs hard enough without injecting conspiracy theories into the mix.
Gap is an anagram for PGA. Rout is an anagram for Tour. Singh has put the money list to rout this year while extending the gap between himself and Phil Mickelson, more than four million dollars behind in official earnings.
Singh probably wont ever be the guy you want to go have a beer with like, say, Joey Sindelar. And he may never be inducted into the unofficial good guys golf hall of fame. But he is starting to get it, at least a little, that there are more people than he ever dreamed for whom his terrific golf is quite enough.
Maybe Singh isnt the player whose head should be uneasy at this precise moment on the golf continuum.
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