In four months time Vijay Singh will turn fifty years old and will be eligible to compete on the Champions Tour.
The former World No.1 (a position he held for 32 weeks consecutively in 2004 and 2005) has won a total of US $67,255,195.00 playing on the USPGA Tour.
Next year will be his twentieth season on the USPGA Tour after a successful stint playing on the European Tour in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.
The “Big Fijian” turned professional in 1982 and played the Asian Tour winning his 1st tournament the Malaysian PGA Championship in 1984 and has five victories on the Asian Tour. Unfortunately his career struck problems there when he was suspended from the Asian Tour in 1985 over allegations that he had doctored his scorecard at the Indonesian Open.
This claim has been vehemently denied by Singh, saying in any case, it should have resulted in disqualification from the event and not suspension from the tour.
Two years of hardship followed where he had to take up club positions at the Keningau Club in Sabah, and later at the Miri Golf Club in Sarawak. A lot of free time gave Vijay the opportunity to develop his trade mark hard working reputation that he has become renown for over the years on driving ranges at tournament sites all over the world.
He saved enough money to go and play on the Sunshine Tour in Africa in 1988 and won the Nigerien Open. This win allowed him to enter the European Tour School the same year where he was successful in earning a tour card for the following season and launching a career on that tour where he won thirteen times.
Vijay gained his playing rights on the USPGA Tour in 1993 and there are not too many active professionals presently who can match the record that Vijay has compiled.
He won the money title on three occasions 2003, 2004 and 2008 and the FedEx Cup in 2008.
But it’s his three Major wins (US Masters 2000, USPGA 1998 and 2004) which sets him apart and got him elected to the World Golf of Fame in 2004 and inducted in 2006. His thirty four USPGA Tour wins is 14th in the all time ranking.
In 2004 he had an outstanding year winning nine times and a winnings of US $10,905,166 and it’s still the record for the most money won on tour (Tiger also has won nine times in 2000) in a single season.
So where does he go from here? Vijay’s putting woes which have been well documented recently where every length of putter combined with every type of grip being called upon to allow him to stay competitive in the twilight of his career.
He is presently using a belly putter with a left hand low reverse “Paw” grip. The only thing he has not used in competition is putting left handed!
I have his statistics from his current 2012 season and compare them to his record breaking 2004 season where he gained the World No. 1 crown to see which area of his game is not allowing him to win on tour in recent times.
There's no doubt Vijay is physically in great shape as he looks after himself with a full time trainer on the road with him. And if he can keep himself injury free he will keep playing on the main tour.
At last week’s Fry’s.Com Open he stated that he found something that gave him good feels with his putting and is confident that his next win is around the corner.
So don’t expect him when he turns fifty next February to play full time on the Champion's Tour as he believes he has unfinished business at the “Big Show” which is the PGA Tour.
David Milne and Lawrie Montague - Pro Tour Golf College
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