Singh shows Ryder Cup losers what they missed

In the wake of America's crushing defeat in the Ryder Cup there were calls for the annexation of the Pacific island of Fiji. Having the world No 1 on their team might or might not have helped the US at Oakland Hills. Instead, what it gave Vijay Singh was a week off, and that was bad news for everyone else on the US Tour.

Singh returned to action at Mystic Rock, promptly claiming his fifth victory in six starts. Stewart Cink, the Ryder Cup player, made five birdies in a row at one point but that was only good enough for second place.

"It's ridiculous the way he's playing right now," said Chris DiMarco, another member of the US team who tied for third place. Tiger Woods had pulled out citing exhaustion. The last time he played in a tour event, three weeks ago, he lost his position as the world's best golfer to Singh.

Victory - which is what "Vijay" means in Hindi - at the 84 Lumber Classic on Sunday was Singh's eighth of the season. He also surpassed Tiger's single-season earnings record, with his 2004 account now standing at just under $9.5m (£5.25m).

With Singh due to play in three more events on the US Tour - he has been prevented from travelling to Kilkenny for the AmEx World Championship by Hurricane Jeanne - he should become the first to earn over $10m in a year. The USPGA champion will also be playing in the Dunhill Links and the HSBC World Match Play in the next two weeks, although they will not count towards the US Tour.

Singh, 41, is simply getting better with age and, unlike Woods, thrives on competition. He has played in half as many events again as Woods. His attitude is that if he plays 35 events a year, it still gives him 17 weeks of holiday.

Woods, of course, has more off-course money-earning activities to attend to. But since when did the world rankings factor in charisma? Singh's profile may be low but it depends where you are looking. This is a man who has closed more driving ranges than he has had hot dinners, mainly because he was still at the former when the latter was on the table. When he is at home, there is rarely a day when he cannot be found on the practice range at the TPC of Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach. One young professional who asked to practise with Singh during the winter was asked on Boxing Day why he had not been there the previous day.

Singh has also spent more time in the gym, making him one of the most powerful players in what was meant to have become a young man's sport. "I am stronger than I've ever felt because I've been working out every morning for the last three years," he said. "What I have been doing has helped prevent injuries. There are parts of the body that have to be built up because I swing the club so many times. I'm not stopping here, not until I quit, and I don't know when that will be."

Singh has had run-ins with the media, particularly over Annika Sorenstam playing on the men's circuit, but he can call all the leading players friends. It has been a remarkable journey for a player who was taught the game by his father, an airplane technician, and who was once a teaching professional in the wilds of Borneo and, briefly, a nightclub bouncer in Edinburgh. He has won 45 times, including three majors, in 17 countries and in every season since 1988, barring '96. Hard work really does pay off.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?