This season, though, that big ball of fire is just warming the surface.
Vijay Singh, the seventh-ranked player in the world, came from behind Sunday in Scottsdale, Ariz., to capture his second career Phoenix Open.
The 1995 champion birdied five of his first six holes at the TPC of Scottsdale to emerge from a congested leaderboard.
Singh shot an 8-under 63 to win by three shots at 23-under-par 261, his lowest career 72-hole score. John Huston shot 67 to finish alone in second place.
''It was a dream start for me,'' Singh said. ''You know, I birdied 1 and 2 and then birdied 4, 5, 6. You do something like that when you're just one or two back to start, and you're definitely going to have good momentum.''
Were it not for Singhs excellence, the final round would have been quite competitive.
There were 20 players within five strokes of Harrison Frazars 54-hole lead. Frazar, who owed at least a share of the lead after each of the first three days, could only manage a 69 Sunday. He tied Retief Goosen (67) and Robert Gamez (66) for third place at 19-under.
Singh earned $720,000 for his 12th career PGA Tour victory. He has now won twice in his last four official starts, dating back to last years season-ending Tour Championship.
'I think my best golf is yet to come, and this is probably it,' Singh said. 'I'm playing well; I feel good about my golf swing and my health.
'I'm just looking forward to the season and hopefully I'll win a lot more.'
The two-time major winner continued the early season dominance from the games elite.
Ernie Els, the second-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking, won the first two tournaments of the year, the Mercedes Championships and Sony Open.
And like Els did over his fortnight in Hawaii, Singhs approach was simple Sunday in Phoenix: Bomb it off the tee, spin a short-iron approach shot within 10 feet of the hole, and make the putt for birdie.
It was a method he applied early and often in the final round. Singh birdied his first two holes, and Nos. 4-6. He notched another at the ninth to turn in 6-under 29.
Singh altered a two-shot deficit into a two-shot lead, at 21-under par. That advantage grew to three once Huston bogeyed the 10th, and to four when the 39-year-old Fijian sank a 12-foot birdie at 11.
He bogeyed the par-3 12th after hooking his tee shot into the back left greenside bunker, but came back with a pair of two-putt birdies on the par-5 13th and par-5 15th.
Still, his lead dwindled to two as Huston made three straight birdies starting at 13.
Huston should have made it four in a row ' or even better ' but caught a bad break at the par-3 16th when his tee shot caromed against the flagstick and off the green. He made par.
One hole later, however, the tournament was over.
Singh inexplicably tried to drive the 332-yard par-4 17th. He pushed his tee shot to the right, where it nestled in a valley. With a bunker between him and the hole, and water lurking precariously in the background, Singh took the safe route and pitched into the center of the green from where he made par.
That was all he needed.
In the group behind him, Huston ' two off the lead ' and Frazar ' three back ' also went for the green off the tee, only to find the left water hazard.
They both made bogey.
''I think that's when I felt safe,'' Singh said. ''When I drove off 18 and knew Huston had made bogey on 17. I can handle a three-shot lead. I was quite happy with that.''