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Vijay Singh plans to work even harder

Known for his industrious approach to the game, world number two Vijay Singh plans to work even harder on this year's PGA Tour.

The 42-year-old Fijian, who defends his Sony Open title this week at Waialae Country Club, accepts he has to make further sacrifices to stay ahead of rivals who are almost half his age.

"I needed to play a little better than how I finished last year," Singh told a news conference on Wednesday as he prepared for Thursday's opening round in the second PGA Tour event of the year.

"To get back to the way I was playing at the beginning of last year and two years ago, I need to work a lot harder.

"Being 42, almost 43, you have to work twice as hard to keep up. There are guys half my age out on Tour."

Singh, who won four times on last year's PGA Tour before finishing second behind Tiger Woods on the money list with earnings of $8,017,336, said he had changed the emphasis of his practice regime.

"There are different ways of working hard, different things that you can work hard on," he explained. "You can go on the range and hit balls for six hours and not get anything done.

"I've done a different kind of routine where I've been hitting the ball a lot harder, almost as hard as I can, to gain the next step.

"For example, the par-fives where you can stand up, change gear and hit it 20 yards further. I used to be able to do that and I lost it. I'm now trying to regain it and I think I've found half of it."

Singh, who ended Woods's five-year reign as world number one by winning the 2004 Deutsche Bank Championship and went on to enjoy two more spells at the top of the official rankings, has also improved his fitness since the end of last year.

"My body's feeling good," said the three-times major winner. "I'm hurting in only a few places now instead of all the places.

"I'm feeling good, a lot stronger and I think I'm hitting the ball further. With the new driver that I have got, it's a great combination. I'm also hitting it straighter."

Singh won last year's Sony Open by a stroke after holding off a last-day charge by Ernie Els.

Els, along with fellow South African Retief Goosen, Woods and U.S. PGA champion Phil Mickelson, is absent this week and Singh plans to take full advantage.

The smooth-swinging Fijian has put behind him the disappointment of being beaten by Australia's Stuart Appleby in a playoff for last week's Mercedes Championships at Kapalua.

"Nobody likes losing in a playoff but I'm okay now," said Singh, who vaulted into contention at Kapalua's Plantation Course with a final-round 66, the best score of the week.

"I'm playing well, I'm feeling good and looking forward to this week's event."

January 12, 2006

 




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