Monday, September 8, 2008

Vijay Trips Over $10,000,000.00, Hurts Feeling.

BMW Championship - Round One
As if finishing T44 in the BMW Championship wasn't catastrophic enough, Vijay Singh has to figure out what to do with the 10 million dollars in FedExCup prize money he earned on Sunday. Nine million in cash and one million in annuity should have been the salve to cushion the blow of not winning his 3rd FedExCup event in a row. His points lead is insurmountable. If Singh simply shows up at the TOUR Championship and completes four rounds, the loot is his. Singh reportedly ignored NBC Sports and whizzed past the remaining media. Evidently Mr. Singh isn't motivated by money.

There's many possible takes on the puzzle wrapped in a conundrum that is Vijay. Perhaps he chose not to dilute the spotlight from Camilo Villegas' 1st tour victory. The hole in that argument is that he finished well in advance of Villegas and could have at least offered the standard, "I'm going to Disneyland!", heartfelt or not. The would have taken 5, maybe 6 seconds. Maybe he didn't feel well. Happens to all of us. A simple, "Not feeling very well guys, catch you in Atlanta", would have sufficed. Yet, we're left floundering, speculating on the mood of the contrarian.

I haven't always been a Vijay fan. He's been an acquired taste for me. It's impossible not to respect his talent and work ethic toward the game. He was and is to practice what Tiger Woods is now, only he predated Tiger by almost a generation. Hard work and fitness have produced a career, after his 40th birthday, most pro golfers would willingly trade for, straight up. My original rejection of Singh was the matter of his cheating incident on the Asian tour in 1985. He chipped away at my disdain however with excellent play over time. No small factor as well was the philanthropic Vijay, often unpublicized and underrated. After Notah Begay's inaugural tournament to benefit Native American youth, Singh generously devoted his time and $80,000.00 to the cause. Begay made that part known and I'm sure Singh would have been just as pleased if the donation had remained silent. After 20+ years of excellence, on and off the course, I believe Singh's entitled to some slack. He earned his way back, which is what makes Sunday's dissing of the press all the more confounding. How does Vijay think these purses got so doggoned big?

Let's face it, golf without Tiger Woods isn't as interesting. It's great, yes, but not as interesting. Love him or not, Woods paddles the boat. That makes it all the more important for the winners and contenders that are left to become more of the story. To most of us 10 million dollars is a lottery dream. We'd love to hear what a guy that earned it on a golf course has to say. There's no better time to hear it than the instance it occurs. We're left with "maybe next year" in whatever permutation the FedExCup appears.

Til' next,

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