Singh Defends Despite Bad Timing


It was late 2003. Jim Furyk was asked to size up the contenders for Player of the Year. He started listing the candidates and their qualifications, when he paused and asked the media a rhetorical question.
Vijay, does he have four wins this year? he said. John Deere stuck out and I went, He won the John Deere? I said: Geez, I didn't even know he went.
Singh did play the John Deere Classic last year. And he did win. It was the first time he had ever played the event, which was contested in September of last year and was a part of his late-season flurry to top Tiger Woods on the money list.
Singh obviously was living in the now when he signed up to play in Silvis, Ill; he was consumed with playing in as many tournaments as possible in order to win the money title. He certainly wasnt thinking about how he would be affected by that decision in 2004.
This years John Deere will be contested this week ' the week before the British Open.
And because Singh has said that he always defends his title, he will meet his responsibilities and be on hand.
Its kind of like a pain, because Ive got to fly all the way after the tournament, Singh said. If it wasnt the week before, it would be great. But Ive got to do that.
This will be the first time Singh has ever played in the U.S. the week before the British Open.
I dont think Ill be tired. Ill have three or four days to get ready for the tournament. But itll be interesting, he said. I have not won the British Open, so this could be a good omen. Im just going to take a positive out of it and see if I can go out there and win the damn thing.
Singh is easily the top draw at the TPC at Deere Run. He and Jay Haas are the only entrants ranked inside the top 20 on the Official World Golf Ranking; though, the field does include Chris DiMarco, Stewart Cink, Shigeki Maruyama and Zach Johnson.
While some tour regulars like Phil Mickelson, Ben Curtis, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Mark Calcavecchia and Tom Lehman will be at Loch Lomond for the European Tour's Barclays Scottish Open this week, others will be prepping for the seasons third major on their own time.
For the British, I like to go over early and play some golf and just play some rounds, said Mike Weir. I haven't played a competitive tournament the week before going over there. That's an option sometime I might do. Right now I just go with some friends and we play golf in the area, just kind of get used to playing in the wind, keeping the ball down and playing bump-and-run shots.
Jim Furyk also likes to cross the Atlantic a little earlier to in order to acclimatize himself.
I think I make good use of the time change, and by the time Monday rolls around I want to be getting rid of the jet lag, feeling good, just physically healthy, he said. I like to play a few rounds of golf over there just to get used to seeing the ball roll 40 yards downwind after hitting a 9-iron. It's difficult. It's a little adjustment.
But The Open is a closed issue for many in the John Deere field. They will be traveling to Endicott, N.Y. for the B.C. Open, which is contested concurrently with the British.
And for now, they will be focusing on ending Singhs reign at one year.
Singh won last years edition by being the only player to shoot all four rounds in the 60s. His Sunday 65 helped him overcome a two-stroke deficit at the beginning of the final round.
He won by four over Chris Riley, Jonathan Byrd and J.L. Lewis.
His 268 total, however, was nine strokes higher than the tournament record. David Frost shot 259 in 1993, when the tournament was played at the par-70 Oakwood Country Club.
Frost is the only player to successfully defend his title, winning in 1992 and 93. Scott Hoch is a two-time champion (1980, 84), while D.A. Weibring is the only three-time winner (1979, 91, 95).
This is the fifth consecutive year that the TPC at Deere Run (par 71, 7,193 yards) has played host. Oakwood in Coal Valley was the venue from 1975-99. The tournament, which began as the Quad Cities Open in 1972, was originally contested at Crow Valley Country Club in Bettendorf, Iowa.
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