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Vijay Singh looking to regain focus

While Tiger Woods takes the week off and Phil Mickelson enjoys a skiing holiday with his family, it is back to work as usual for Vijay Singh at Thursday's Honda Classic in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.

Singh will spend no time licking his wounds after Woods ended his 26-week reign at the top of the world rankings with a dramatic one-stroke victory over Mickelson at the Doral Open last Sunday.

In fact, the workaholic Fijian is looking forward to life without the number one ranking which had hung like a millstone round his neck.

"I haven't really played well all year this year," said Singh, the 1999 Honda Classic champion. "My focus from now on is just to try to win golf tournaments and to focus myself like last year.

"Trying to be number one is putting too much pressure on the wrong part of my game.

"If your focus moves away to try to be number one, then obviously you're not trying to win golf tournaments, and I don't like that feeling. There is a lot of pressure to try and keep it (the number one spot)."

With Woods having lifted that apparent burden from his shoulders, Singh will now bid to regain the dominant form he displayed last season when he won nine events and more than $10 million in prize money.

Following his victory at the Sony Open in early January, Singh has suffered a dip in form, missing the cut for the first time in more than a year at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am and going out in the second round of the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.

Despite his reservations about being world number one, Singh did not surrender his crown meekly, firing a six-under 66 to tie for third place at Doral and forcing Woods to win to reclaim top spot.

Although Woods, world number four Mickelson, number five Retief Goosen and number six Sergio Garcia have taken this week off, U.S. PGA champion Singh can expect stiff competition at Palm Beach Gardens.

Among the contenders for the $990,000 winner's cheque is in-form American David Toms, who moved up to number seven in the rankings following his win at the Match Play Championship and fifth-place finish at Doral.

World number eight Padraig Harrington of Ireland heads a strong international field that includes Nick Faldo, the recently-named European Ryder Cup captain for 2008 who will be making his first appearance on this season's PGA Tour.

The Honda Classic has been decided by a single shot in the last two years but the $5.5 million tournament is unlikely to eclipse the excitement at the Doral.

The final round of last year's Honda was not without drama, though, as the previously unheralded Todd Hamilton carded birdies on the final two holes to beat Davis Love III by one stroke and record his first PGA Tour success.

It was the start of a magical four months for Hamilton, who followed up by winning the British Open in a playoff with South Africa's Ernie Els.

 

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