The Day He Got Even for a Wayward 3-Iron


Vijay Singh has now won 11 PGA Tour events in his 10-year tour career. The fact that four of them have been high profile tournaments speaks volumes about Singhs tenacity.
Singh is nothing if not a bulldog. Practice is the end-all, be-all for him. And when you need a big-tournament, you could do a lot worse than selecting Singh.
Number 11 came Sunday in the Tour Championship. I just kept very calm out there, he said, and you immediately got the idea that if he got any more calm than he already is, hed be in a deep snooze. Singh never, ever looks nervous.
He woke up long enough for the win, however. I was speaking to my wife last night. I said, I just have to out there and play solid golf and let everything take care of itself, which I did, Singh said.
Singh should probably have won this tournament in 1998, but he let Hal Sutton sneak in under the wire and win it in a playoff. Singh was ahead by one playing the par 3 18th. He ripped a 3-iron straight at the flag, but it went six feet past and bounded through the green into 4-inch rough. Sutton hit a 4-wood 25 feet short. Singh made bogey and Sutton parred the hole, necessitating a playoff.
In the playoff, Sutton hit the 4-wood again, this time the ball stopping just four feet away. He coaxed in the putt and Singh was a beaten man.
Singh admitted that his mind wandered back to 98. He admitted that he thought he was going to win that time, too.
But Sunday was different. He went into the day with a three-stroke lead, not one, as he had in 1998. And Sunday he did what he wanted to do all day long ' and that was to play well. When he went to the par-3 18th, he hit a 3-iron ' again. And this time, with a two-stoke lead, he pured one. It was the best 3-iron Ive hit in a long time, he said.
Singh credited a physical fitness program which he said he has been doing for five years, but the last two years, Ive really taken it to a new level, he said.
Im doing it together with my golf game. Im not just doing physical training and forgetting my golf game. Im swinging the club much faster now, working towards that in relation with my physical training.
So, its combined with my golf swing that Im doing the physical training.
The payoff ' in addition to his trophy ' was in the driving statistics of himself versus that of his playing partner, Charles Howell. Im almost twice his age and hitting as long as he is, Singh said, and Howell is considered to be a long hitter. Look out ' Im not done yet!
Singh works out twice a day ' once in the morning and once in the evening. He spends 40 minutes on his morning workout and an hour on his evening one. Oh ' he mentioned he only works out four times a week on the evening program, but does the morning stuff every day of the week.
Singh has long been known as the hardest worker on the tour, a man who practices long after everyone else has played, practiced and gone home. So this regimen on practicing one hour and forty minutes is in addition to his range work. It doesnt leave much time for other necessities ' sleep comes immediately to mind ' but 39-year-old Singh said the work has all paid off very well, thank you.
A long time ago, a guy said to me, Once you reach 35, 36, thats when you kind of start going downwards. So youve got to work twice as hard to keep that one step up. And Ive been doing it ' Ive taken his advice, said Singh.
Now I want to play on until Im 45 on this tour, 46, and be competitive. Everybody says once you reach 40, thats the end of that. Youve got to think about the Senior Tour.
But no, I want to compete as long as I can. And I think Im able to do that if I keep physically fit.
Singh is physically fit, all right. Just watch him as he hits his 3-iron.