No Luck for the Fijian

By Peter Avilies
Updated: March 16, 2005

MAPLEWOOD, NJ.—He is on the green in two, a birdie putt from about 15 feet to win it all on the first hole of a three man playoff; except that it slides by and Vijay has to settle for par and continue the playoff. Disconcerting, but not a problem as Joe Ogilvie is eliminated after a horrendous tee shot. Now it is just two, Irishman Padraig Harrington and Vijay Singh. Padraig is a good player but has never won on U.S. soil and besides, Vijay is long and straight, and he’ll get on the green in two again and win the hole.

On the second sudden death playoff hole both drive it reasonably well with Vijay slightly farther than Padraig. They are on the left side of the fairway, not in the best position to attack the hole. Padraig goes first and again hooks his second shot landing it in the left rough as he did on the first playoff hole. Advantage Vijay, except he explicably hooks it. Again, this is not a problem because he can get up and down for par, and perhaps with a little luck, he can hole out and win. Well, Harrington hit a great shot and is left with a tricky putt to continue. Vijay is within two feet, sink this and go on to the third playoff hole. Vijay firmly hits his putt but horror strikes, he misses and the victory belongs to Harrington. It is as if the magical leprechauns suddenly appeared and steered Vijay’s putt astray. Vijay was very gracious afterwards not making excuses though historically, it is putting that continues to undermine him.

It will be interesting to see what happens at the Bay Hill Invitational. Will he use the same putter or switch to another like the belly putter he usedfor a while before going conventional. As for his quest to regain the number one ranking, there was no chance for Vijay to overtake Tiger as has been erroneously reported.

According to the World Golf rankings, the weakness of the field would not yield enough points for Vijay to overtake Tiger. The number one ranking is at stake this week at the Bay Hill Invitational. Both Vijay and Ernie Els have a chance to be ranked number one in the world after this week with a victory and if Tiger finishes below second place. As for Vijay, the past week at the Honda Classic proved that there is no luck for Fijians. Perhaps this week will prove otherwise.