Survivor Singh charging instead of cruising

By Steve Eubanks,

KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. -- We all know them. 

They’re the survivors: the folks who find their way home in a blizzard wearing a light coat and smile; the guys who are laughing during wind sprints in 100-degree heat; the friends who keep you out late and call you early to see if you’re ready for a 10-mile fun run.  

They are the Energizer bunnies of the human species: going and going no matter what.  

Vijay Singh is one of those people.  

At age 49, with three major titles and a bass relief in the Hall of Fame, he could easily cruise through the rest of his career. Instead, Singh went out on the toughest major championship day of the season on the hardest golf course in America and fired a 3-under-par 69 to vault up the leaderboard and into contention going into the weekend.  

And like all survivors, he didn’t think about the wind or the spates of rain that blew in sideways during his final nine. He didn’t even think about the score. 

“You just think about each hole, each shot and just try not to mess up,” Singh said after carding the lowest round of Friday morning, a number that was nine shots below the average score for the day.  

“I just kept adding it up each hole and trying to make my pars on every hole.  That was the key.  And I just tried to make my pars, miss it in the correct spot if I was out of position, and be very strong with the longer putts.”  

Singh’s ability to battle cross winds that gusted upward of 30 miles an hour was impressive, but the putter is what kept him the tournament. 

“The lag putts were so key, not to leave myself four- and five footers,” he said. “It was one of my better rounds.  I didn't strike the ball as good, but I scored really, really well, and I think that was the key.”  

Still one of the hardest workers in the game, Singh is known for grinding out rounds in the toughest of conditions. In 2000 he shot a third-round 70 at Augusta National when the winds were just as strong as they were on Friday at the Ocean Course. That round put Singh in position to win the Masters. 

This round put him in the hunt for his third PGA Championship. 

Should he somehow prevail on Sunday, Singh would become the oldest major champion in history, something else he doesn’t think about. 

“I finally started to believe that I could do what I'm doing on the driving range,” he said. “A little tweak to my golf swing during the British Open kind of helped, as well.  Like I said, my head is in a better spot.  I'm more focused and believing that I can do it has helped me a lot.”  

Survivors always believe, no matter their age or circumstance. That is why we admire them.