Vijay Singh (Getty Images)
Three-time Major Champion Vijay Singh will make his first appearance in a regular European Tour event for more than three years this week when he tees up in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.
Singh, who won the 1998 and 2004 US PGA Championship and the 2000 Masters Tournament, was persuaded to fly from his Florida base to compete in this week’s US$5million event by his friend John Fry, CEO of the Fry’s Electronics chain of stores which sponsors the Frys.com Open on the US PGA Tour.
The duo will join forces in the unique Pro-Am team event, which will again be played over three of the world’s finest links courses: St Andrews, Kingsbarns and Carnoustie.
Singh last appeared in the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in 2006, when he finished in a tie for 22nd place behind Ireland’s Padraig Harrington.
Having turned 50 earlier this year Singh has reduced his playing schedule, but the Fijian was tempted to make the trip to the ‘Home of Golf’ by the fun format which has become so popular with both pros and amateurs alike.
He said: “Last year John [Fry] mentioned that it’d be fun if we both came over to play, and I agreed at the time but then forgot about it until a few weeks ago, when he asked me if I was ready to go. “Go where?” I asked him. “To the Dunhill,” he said. So here I am!
“It’s been a while since I last played here, but I always remember it was a lot of fun, especially for the amateurs. It probably means more to them than it does to us pros – making the cut for the final day is a really big deal for them, so hopefully I can do my bit to help out.
“I’ve played St Andrews many times, and I always love coming back here – although I’d enjoy it even more if it warmed up a bit! Everything always depends on the weather here – if the wind blows, you have to try to adapt your game to the conditions, and play a few punch shots or bump and runs. But if the weather’s good, there are definitely some birdies to be made out there.”
Singh is one of 14 Major Champions in the tournament, which also features numerous stars from the worlds of film, music and sport, including Sir Ian Botham, Sir Bobby Charlton and Sir Steve Redgrave.