Vijay Singh has aged well, clearly, but his success on the PGA Tour in his 40s has not been replicated on the PGA Tour Champions in his 50s.
But he showed on Sunday that that is a chapter of his career with which he is not finished. Singh, 55, won the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday, defeating Jeff Maggert on the second playoff hole at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park, Ill.
The victory was only his second in an individual competition and his first major on the senior circuit, in contrast to 22 of his 34 PGA Tour victories and one of his three majors coming in his 40s.
“I don’t know if I was running out of patience,” Singh said of his struggles in senior majors. “I think I just wasn’t playing to my standard. I had good chances. This week was a different story. This golf course was not difficult tee to green. You just had to make a lot of putts.
“I told my caddie when the week started, I said, ‘five under is par.’ If you shoot five under every day, 20 under is going to be close. Afterwards, it was in a playoff.”
Indeed, Singh, who began the final round one shot back, posted a five-under par 67 on Sunday and finished at 20-under par 268.
Meanwhile, Maggert, who shared the 54-hole lead, needed a par at 18 in regulation to win but, from the middle of the fairway, pushed his approach, the ball clipping a tree and leaving him a 60-yard shot from the rough to the hole. A strong third shot left him with a 15-foot birdie putt to win and he missed it, allowing Singh to tie and force a playoff.
On the first playoff hole, Maggert missed another 12-footer to win, this one for a birdie, while Singh two-putted from 30 feet for par, sending it to a second playoff hole.
This time, Singh spun a wedge shot back to tap-in range for birdie, the winning combination after Maggert pulled his second shoot and missed a 25-foot birdie putt.
“It just seemed like I was putting from 15, 20 feet all day and just never really had a lot of close putts for birdie,” Maggert said. “I had an opportunity on 18 there [the first playoff hole]. I hit it in there pretty close and just pulled the putt a little bit.”
Singh has been attempting to split time between the PGA Tour and PGA Tour Champions, with mixed results. He has played nine events on the former tour, 11 on the latter this year. Maggert, perhaps to his and others’ detriment, suggested it’s time for Singh to focus on the seniors.
“We all have an ego to compete,” Maggert said. “I was fortunate to be competitive in my late 40s. I actually had dual status when I turned 50, so I was going back and forth between the two tours. But you have to commit to one tour or the other, I think, to play well.
“If you try to do both, you'll wind up splitting your schedule. I think eventually guys get in their mid-50s, it's tough to compete on the other tour, obviously. The young guys hit it a mile. Vijay still hits it a long way, probably not as far as he used to. But it's time to move on.”