NORTON - Vijay Singh might finally be starting to act his age. Unfortunately, itís the last thing he wants to do.
Rewriting the record book for most PGA Tour wins by a player older than 40, the 46-year-old Fijian is nearing the end of whatís been his worst season on tour, with knee surgery, missed cuts, no wins, and indifferent play in 2009 taking the place of the victories and money titles heís known for.
Ah, but itís not too late to turn things around, and thereís probably no better place to cure Singh of what ails him than TPC Boston, the venue for the Deutsche Bank Championship, which begins Friday. In five appearances here, Singh has two wins - including last year - a second, and a fourth.
The annual stop in Norton could serve as Singhís ultimate slump-buster.
ďIíve always played well in Boston, I like playing there,íí Singh said.
He almost didnít make it here this year. Singh missed his sixth cut of the season last week at The Barclays, jeopardizing his spot in the FedEx Cup standings inside the top 100, which is the number who qualify for the second playoff event. Singh has slipped to 78th on the points list, and will need a positive
showing here to advance to next weekís BMW Championship, reserved for the top 70. The Tour Championship follows, a tournament only the top 30 make. Itís an event Singh has missed just once (1994) in his previous 16 full seasons on tour.
Heís dealt with his share of controversy and might not have the biggest fan club, but this much is indisputable: Singh is known for one of the best work ethics on tour, and heís been a title-taking, money-making machine. Since joining the tour in 1993, heís only had three seasons in which he didnít win a tour event (1994, 1996, 2001), and heís finished lower than 17th on the money list just once, racking up more than $60 million in career earnings. A strong case can be made that this decade, Singh has been the best player in the world not named Tiger Woods. Since 2000, heís won more tournaments and more money than Phil Mickelson, and his average finish on the season-ending money list is 2.67, including three money titles. Mickelson never has won a PGA Tour money title, and his average money list finish since 2000 is 6.78.
Before this year, Singh has dazzled since turning 40. His 22 victories (out of 34) are the most in tour history by an over-40 player, five more than Sam Sneadís 17. The last of Singhís three majors, the 2004 PGA Championship, also came in his 40s.
How to explain this year, then? The money (more than $1.2 million) is nice, but Singh only has three top-10 finishes, nothing higher than a tie for sixth. Heís also dropped to No. 14 in the world rankings - this time last year, he was third.