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Singh on song for this year's majors
Mark Lamport-Stokes |
February 04, 2004 10:07 IST
Vijay Singh, on current form, has to be rated a clear favourite for all four of this year's major championships.
The 40-year-old Fijian has produced the best golf of his career over the last five months and recorded his 11th consecutive top-10 finish in a PGA Tour event at the Phoenix Open over the weekend.
World number two Singh, a twice major winner, is also determined to dislodge Tiger Woods as the game's leading player, however long it takes.
"That's my ultimate goal, to take the number one spot, but there's a guy out there that's not playing too badly, either," Singh told reporters before tying for third at the Phoenix Open on Sunday.
"Right now, I feel I've got to win more tournaments to get to number one. Finishing top 10 is not going to get me there."
"I'm going to go out there, play the best I can and try to win many tournaments."
"I think that's going to get me up there. I feel good about it. It may not happen this year but it's in my mind."
Singh, who probably spends more time at the practice range than any other professional, made his major breakthrough in the 1998 U.S. PGA Championship at Sahalee.
Two years later, he won the U.S. Masters by three strokes from Ernie Els with an impressive display of consistent golf.
Although he has not added to his major haul since then, he has come close, producing six top-15 finishes in the grand slam events including a tie for second at last year's British Open.
"If, at the beginning of the week, you had given me second place, I wouldn't have taken it," he recalled after finishing a stroke behind shock American winner Ben Curtis at Royal St George's last July.
"I came there to win and I had the game to do it. I just made too many mistakes."
Last year, Singh contended strongly in the first three majors, tying for sixth at the U.S. Masters and sharing 20th at the U.S. Open before his second-place at the British Open.
Although he then slipped to joint 34th in the U.S. PGA Championship at Oak Hill in mid-August, it is the only time he has placed outside the top 10 in his last 15 PGA Tour starts.
"I don't think I've had this kind of performance ever," he said of his golden run. "It's been going on for a long time -- I just hope I don't wake up from this dream."
"It's a great streak, but it's not the streak that I want to think about when I go out there."
"I've been playing well for a while and hopefully I'll keep that going."
"I'm feeling really good every time I tee up."
Singh, whose name means 'victory' in Hindi, was the PGA Tour's leading money winner last year with earnings of more than $7.5 million, nearly a million more than Woods, and climbed from seventh in the world rankings to second.
On current form, the tall Fijian can be expected to fare even better in 2004.