Singh Weathers Storm to Win Third Major


04 PGA ChampionshipYears from now well remember ' or should remember ' the man who won the 86th PGA Championship more so than the manner in which he accomplished his feat. It doesnt really matter how he did it, but Vijay Singh once again claimed a major victory.
And this was a Major victory.
Over the past two seasons, Singh seemed to lack major roots. The kind required to anchor deep into the soil, making him impervious to the advances of others in a major championship.
He had proven that he could withstand even stern winds directed at him in regular tournaments. But when it came to a major, when the winds increased in intensity and really gave a push, Singh seemed vulnerable. He fell and crashed like many of the thick, aged trees with their faux might and sparse roots.
It was confounding, really. To Singh, to me, to anyone who paid moderate attention to golf.
Prior to this week, Singh had won eight times over the last two seasons on the PGA Tour. He had come within a long putter of being the No. 1 ranked player in the world. He was easily playing the greatest golf in his now 41 years ' arguably the best golf of anyone anywhere.
And incomprehensibly, he hadnt won a major since the 2000 Masters.
While Tiger Woods gets slammed and picked apart with tweezers and a magnifying glass for going 0 for his last 10 in majors played, Singh had gone 0-for-18.
He had several chances over the last two years to win his third career major championship ' during a period of time in which he has won more PGA Tour events than anyone else, and, for whatever reason, simply hadnt finished the job.
*2003 Masters: Singh started the final round three strokes off the lead, shot 73 on Sunday and tied for sixth.
*2003 U.S. Open: Singh shared the 36-hole lead with Jim Furyk at Olympia Fields. Furyk shot 67-72 over the weekend to win; Singh shot 72-78 to tie for 20th.
*2003 British Open: Singh was one back heading into the final round at Royal St. Georges. But after a blazing start, in which he birdied four of his first seven holes, Singh made four bogeys coming home to finish one behind champion Ben Curtis.
*2003 PGA Championship: Needing a spectacular final round to overcome a six-stroke deficit Sunday at Oak Hill, Singh carded a 79 and tied for 34th.
*2004 Masters: The only major championship over the past two seasons in which he didnt have a realistic opportunity to win over the weekend. Singh opened in 75-73 to barely make the cut, and then posted back-to-back 69s over the weekend to again tie for sixth.
*2004 U.S. Open: Singh was four back through 36 holes at Shinnecock Hills, but wilted over the weekend in the punitive conditions with rounds of 77-78 to tie for 28th.
*2004 British Open: This time, Singh was three back with two rounds to play, only to finish 76-71 at Royal Troon and tie for 20th.
It appeared this Sunday that Singh would add to this ignominious list.
For once he held the outright 54-hole lead. It was his tournament to win ' or lose. And he did just about everything he could to accomplish the latter.
The winds were finally blowing at Whistling Straits, and Singh was swaying, ready to take another tumble.
But when Justin Leonard missed his par putt that would have clinched the championship, Singh was given a new life. He made the most of this wonderful revival, finally making a birdie on the first hole of the three-hole cumulative playoff with Leonard and Chris DiMarco. It was his first birdie of the day, and all he would need.
Singh, the man of steely determination and dedication, had somehow, someway finally finished the job. Yes, it can certainly be said that this is the tournament that Leonard lost, but, nonetheless, Singh weathered the storm, and, when it mattered most, stood firm.
After everything he had accomplished over the past two seasons ' and everything he had failed to achieve, Singh was once again what he desired and worked so very diligently to be ' a major champion.
It wasn't pretty; it didn't need to be. But it's easily the most beautiful of wins in the eyes of the beholder of the Wanamaker Trophy.
'I think this is the biggest accomplishment I've ever had in my whole career,' Singh said.
'I don't have that many years to contend, I don't think so, anyway, probably another five, six years. I'd like to win a few more before I finish. This is a great start and I think there's many more out there, I hope.'
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