Singh thinking about winning in his home town
May 12, 2017
By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Vijay Singh rides a hot putter with another birdie at THE PLAYERSIn the second round of THE PLAYERS Championship 2017, Vijay Singh rolls in a 28-foot birdie putt from off the front of the green on the par-4 12th hole.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Perhaps he’s benefitting from the upgraded practice facility at TPC Sawgrass. Or perhaps it’s the new putter. Whatever the reason, Vijay Singh is back in contention at his hometown event.
He may be 54 years old, but he admits that he’s thinking about winning. “I told everybody I was going to win,” Singh said.
There’s still a long way to go, but Singh is just three shots off the lead halfway through this year’s edition of THE PLAYERS Championship. A second-round 68 has Singh in fourth place at 6-under 138.
His age only lets him practice half as much as he used to, when he was the PGA TOUR’s most prolific ball-beater, and a larger portion of that time is spent performing low-impact work on his short game, but that shift in practice has paid off this week.
“I feel excited when I’m on the green now instead of worrying if I’m going to two-putt or three-putt,” Singh said. “I’m excited about putting, and it’s a great feeling.”
He ranks 16th in Strokes Gained: Putting this week, though his final hole Friday was marred by a three-putt from nearly 40 feet. He missed a 4-foot par putt to drop three shots back.
Vijay Singh's putt covers the distance on No. 11 at THE PLAYERS
Singh would become the oldest winner in PGA TOUR history if he could somehow finish this week on top. Sam Snead was 52 years old when he won the 1965 Greater Greensboro Open.
Singh’s 34 PGA TOUR victories are the second-most among this year’s THE PLAYERS field, trailing only Phil Mickelson’s 42. The most recent of Singh’s wins came in 2008, though, when he also won the FedExCup.
He did win his first PGA TOUR Champions title last month, when he paired with former Presidents Cup teammate Carlos Franco to claim the Bass Pro Shop Legends of Golf.
“Every time you win, it kind of gives you that little bit of lift, and I needed a lift,” Singh said.
Of course, that tournament was a team event and played on a par-3 course. THE PLAYERS is one of the toughest titles to win, as the strongest field of the year gathers on Pete Dye’s notoriously tough test.
It also may be the course he knows best. Singh, a Ponte Vedra Beach resident, practices at TPC Sawgrass and is competing in his 24th THE PLAYERS Championship. He has four top-10s here, including a runner-up in 2001. He finished a stroke behind Tiger Woods after a back nine that included a triple-bogey at No. 14 and eagle at the par-5 16th.
Singh, who was runner-up to Billy Hurley III at last year’s Quicken Loans National, has missed seven cuts in eight starts on the PGA TOUR in 2017. He hasn’t let recent struggles impact his confidence, though.
“I don’t try to remember what I did in the past. I came here feeling good about my game and I just thought I was ready to play,” he said.
Singh has made par or better on 34 of 36 holes thus far this week, and ranks second in greens in regulation (28 of 36).
“I’m playing well. I think I can still compete,” Singh said.
Through two rounds at THE PLAYERS, he has.