Vijay Singh (born February 22, 1963 in Lautoka, Fiji) is a Fijian golfer on the PGA TOUR who has won three major championships (one Masters in 2000 and two PGA Championships in 1998 and 2004) and was the leading money winner in 2003 and 2004. Singh, who is a Fijian citizen, grew up in Nadi.
Vijay, a resident of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida, is of Indian ancestry, the son of a airplane technician who also taught golf. Growing up, he admired the swing of Tom Weiskopf, using it as an early model for his own.
Vijay began playing professionally in 1982 and won several international victories, including the Malaysian PGA Championship in 1984. Singh was suspended from the Asian Tour in 1985 over allegations he doctored his scorecard, then worked as a club pro in Borneo trying to save his money to resurrect his career. He won the Nigerian Open in 1988, to qualify for the European Tour. In 1989 he won the Ivory Coast Open, Zimbabwe Open and Volvo Open di Firenze, then in 1990 El Bosque Open, and in 1991 the King Hassan Trophy.
He finally made it to the PGA Tour in 1993. Vijay won his first PGA TOUR event, the Buick Classic in a playoff over Mark Wiebe. That victory led to Vijay being named the 1993 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year. After being hampered with back and neck problems in 1994, Vijay came back to win the Buick Classic again in 1995 as well as the Phoenix Open. After playing well in 1996 (but with no victories), Vijay won both the Memorial Tournament and the Buick Open in 1997.
In 1998, Vijay was victorious at the PGA Championship at Sahalee in Sammamish, Washington, playing a 70-66-67-68 over the four days (66 tied a course record) and giving him his first Major title. He followed up his first Major title by winning The Masters in 2000 with a three-stroke victory over Ernie Els.
In 2001, Vijay was not victorious in any tournaments, but finished the year with a Tour-best 14 top-10 finishes and was fourth on the money list with $3,440,829 on the year. In 2002, Vijay won at the Shell Houston Open at TPC at The Woodlands, setting a new 72-hole scoring record with a 65, and at the Tour Championship, winning by two strokes over Charles Howell III.
2003 proved to be a very successful year for Vijay. He won four tournaments, had 18 top-10 finishes and was the PGA TOUR's money leader (and second all-time single-season total) with $7,573,907, beating Tiger Woods by $900,494. Vijay had victories at the Phoenix Open, the EDS Byron Nelson Championship, the John Deere Classic and the Funai Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort.
However, the 2003 season was also spotted with controversy surrounding the year's event at the Colonial. LPGA star Annika Sörenstam became the first woman to play at a PGA TOUR event since Babe Zaharias at the 1945 Los Angeles Open. Surrounding this fervor, Vijay was misquoted as having said that Sörenstam "didn't belong" on the men's tour and that he wouldn't play if he were paired with her. What he actually said is that he wouldn't be paired with her because his playing partner was being selected from the past champion's pool. Vijay later clarified, "There are guys out there trying to make a living. It's not a ladies' tour. If she wants to play, she should -- or any other woman for that matter - if they want to play the man's tour, they should qualify and play like everybody else."
Continuing his torrid pace Singh began 2004 by winning the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am at -16 and winning $954,000 in prize money. This was his first win on tour in 2004 and his 16th all-time on the PGA TOUR. It was his 12th consecutive top-10 finish, which is two shy of Jack Nicklaus' all-time record.
Singh won the final major of 2004, winning the PGA Championship, his third major, in a three-hole playoff over Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco. Singh was the leader by one shot over Leonard going into the final round, but made no birdies in the final round, finishing regulation at 67-68-69-76=280. His final round of 76 was the highest winning score by a major champion since 1955. The playoff was a tense affair, and Vijay 's birdie on the first playoff hole, his first birdie of the day, proved to be the difference.
On September 6 2004 (Labor Day), Singh won the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston. With the win, Singh overtook Tiger Woods at the top of the Official World Golf Rankings, ending Wood's streak of 264 weeks at the top of the golf world.
Despite picking up a win early in 2005, Singh lost his world number 1 ranking when Tiger Woods won the Ford Championship at Doral on 6 March, but just two weeks later he took it back again after notching up top three finishes in three consecutive weeks. Followings Woods' win at the 2005 Masters, Singh once again lost his place as World No. 1 in the Official World Golf Rankings and finished tied for fifth place. In April, he became the youngest living person elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame, garnering 56% of the ballot. He will lose the distinction of being the youngest living entrant when the 30-year-old Karrie Webb joins the Hall of Fame later in 2005, but not that of the youngest living electee, as Webb qualified for the Hall without an election process. (The 19th century great Tom Morris, Jr., who was elected in 1975, died at age 24.)
Singh's career has been marked by steady sustained progress based on exceptional commitment to practice. Even when he was in his late thirties few suspected that he was a future World Number 1, but he has won 16 times since turning 40 - second only to Sam Snead's 17 wins after 40 - and his 28 career victories is the most on the PGA Tour by a non-American player.
Results in major championships
DNP = did not play
CUT = missed the half way cut
"T" indicates a tie for a place.
PGA Tour career summary
|Year||Majors||Other wins||Total wins||Earnings ($)||Rank|
* Complete to the end of the 2005 season. Next official money tournament January 2006.
There is a summary of Singh's European Tour career here
PGA Tour wins (28)
- 1993: Buick Classic
- 1995: Buick Classic, Phoenix Open
- 1997: Memorial Tournament, Buick Open
- 1998: PGA Championship, The International
- 1999: Honda Classic
- 2000: The Masters
- 2002: Shell Houston Open, Tour Championship
- 2003: Phoenix Open, EDS Byron Nelson Championship, John Deere Classic, Funai Classic
- 2004: AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, Shell Houston Open, HP Classic of New Orleans, Buick Open, PGA Championship, Deutsche Bank Championship, Bell Canadian Open, 84 LUMBER Classic, Chrysler Championship
- 2005: Sony Open, Shell Houston Open, Wachovia Championship, Buick Open
Major championships are shown in bold.
European Tour wins (12)
- 1989: Volvo Open Championship
- 1990: El Bosque Open
- 1992: Turespana Masters, Volvo German Open
- 1994: Scandinavian Masters, Lancome Trophy
- 1997: South African Open (co-sanctioned with Southern African Tour)
- 1998: (PGA Championship)
- 2000: (The Masters)
- 2001: Malaysian Open, Singapore Masters
- 2004: (PGA Championship)
Singh's major championship victories are repeated here because the three major championships played in the United States became official events on the European Tour in 1998.
Other professional wins (13)
- 1984: Malaysian PGA Championship
- 1988: Nigerian Open, Swedish PGA (not a European Tour event)
- 1989: Nigerian Open, Ivory Coast Open, Zimbabwe Open,
- 1991: King Hassan Trophy
- 1992: Malaysian Open
- 1993: Bells Cup
- 1995: Passport Open
- 1997: Toyota World Match Play Championship (England, not an official European Tour event at that time)
- 2000: Taiwan Open
- 2003: Canadian Skins Game (unofficial event)
- The Presidents Cup (International Team): 1994, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005
- WGC-World Cup (Fiji): 2002
- 2003: Top of the PGA TOUR money list
- 2004: In September displaces Tiger Woods as the number 1 ranked played on the World Golf Rankings.
- 2004: Top of the PGA TOUR money list and the first player to earn more than $10 million in a single PGA TOUR season.
- 2004: Tied fifth most wins in a single PGA Tour season (9 from 29 events) and tied first since 1950; see complete list here. The PGA Player of the Year.
In May 2005, Singh was appointed a goodwill ambassador for Fiji. He said that he did not expect anything in return from the Fijian government for representing his country. At a press conference on 18 May 2005, Singh lamented what he said was a deterioration in race relations in Fiji, saying that for such a small country, people of all races should live together, put their differences aside, and get on with life. Relations between Indo-Fijians and indigenous Fijians had been more harmonious when he was younger, he said.
- PGA Tour Profile
- Vijay Singh at Golf Stars Online Links to relevant interviews, articles, multimedia clips etc.
- Vijay Singh on About.com Profile and stats