Kuala Lumpur: Former world number one Vijay Singh says he is fit and ready after more than two years lost to injury to make a serious assault on golf's top 10, warning he wants to "finish the year with a bang".
The Florida-based Singh, 48, Fiji's only world-class golfer and a three-time Major winner, was number one on the official world rankings for 32 weeks in 2004 and 2005.
The big Fijian won The Masters in 2000 and the PGA Championship in 1998 and 2004, but niggling injuries have blighted his career over the past few seasons and he now sits a lowly 58th in the world.
Singh said on Wednesday, on the eve of the $6.1-million CIMB Asia Pacific Classic in Malaysia, that he had even feared at one point that his glorious career might be over.
"It started off with the knee and went on to my back. I really thought I had had enough. I thought that was the end of it. I’d be playing golf, one day it was perfect and next day I would be out for four weeks," he said.
But with the help of a doctor in Germany Singh says he is finally free of pain - for the first time in two-and-a-half years.
"I’m healthy and I’ve started to work out like I used to and hitting balls a lot more. I would have loved for this injury to go away at the beginning of the year," he said ahead of the co-sanctioned PGA Tour and Asian Tour event in Kuala Lumpur.
"I’m looking forward to next year. This is my last event and hopefully I can finish the year with a big bang."
Asked by AFP if he could see himself back at the top of the world game, the Asian Tour honorary member said: "I'm really excited about the next two to three years. I think I can touch them (the best players)."
Singh, who has a reputation for thoroughly preparing for tournaments and spending hours practising, added that he was gunning for the top 10 "in a very forceful way".
Malaysia would be the perfect place to start his comeback, he said, because his wife is from the country and it had played a huge part in his golfing life.
"I almost literally started playing professional golf in Malaysia. It was a good honing ground for me. I met a lot of friends who are still friends. A lot of pros too," he said.