Singh's strength is his desire

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Vijay Singh registered a two-shot victory in the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship on Sunday in Hawaii.

Updated: March 22, 2007 06:37 IST
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Kapalua, Hawaii:

First came his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. A week later brought an end to his worst season in five years on the US PGA Tour, and what appeared to be the beginning of the end to Vijay Singh. "I think he was out to prove that wasn't the case," Davis Love III said. The proof was in Singh's two-shot victory in the season-opening Mercedes-Benz Championship on Sunday, a commanding performance in which Singh didn't make a bogey over the final 29 holes and never let anyone closer than two shots to him over the final 25 holes. And it was no accident. Morning and evening for two weeks in Hawaii, he pounded his body in the gym. During the day, he spent five hours on the practice range hitting about 400 balls, leaving enough time for him to play 18 holes. Then he flew over to Maui determined to remind the winners-only field that he has not gone away. "I wanted this win, and I practiced hard for it," said Singh, who turns 44 next month. "I worked hard and it paid off." His work ethic is legendary in golf circles. Adam Scott figured it out quickly when he joined the US PGA Tour and noticed that Singh didn't leave the practice range before dark. Davis Love III rarely goes to the gym without seeing Singh, "and I'm sure he's in there when I'm not." More than sheer work, however, Singh's legacy might be his desire. More than a miracle He already considers it a miracle that someone could grow in Fiji and win on the US PGA Tour. Even more astounding is he has 30 career victories, tied for 16th on the all-time list with Leo Diegel. And he now has won 18 times since turning 40, breaking the record held by Sam Snead. Singh wasn't impressed. "There's no trophies for doing it," he said. "Really, it's just a record created by who? It's not even a record. It's just numbers." But put that in perspective. Love has won 19 times (one major) in his career. Singh is one victory away from doing that in his 40s. "And everyone looks at Davis as having a great career," Luke Donald said. "If you keep yourself fit, age isn't a factor and he's a testament to that. It's hard to have that dedication for so long, that desire to want to succeed. Let's face it, we all get lazy from time to time. Vijay seems to bypass that and continues to work hard to get better." Johnny Miller once said the difference between him and Jack Nicklaus was that Miller once reached the top of the mountain and wondered what else there was to prove, while Nicklaus reached the top and looked for the next mountain. Singh knows the feeling. He reached his peak in 2004 when he won nine times and replaced Tiger Woods at No 1 in the world, holding the top spot for the better part of six months until Woods went on one of his tears. Singh has a constant battle with his putting, and then his swing started to leave him. But he never lost his desire.

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