I was angry after the Masters because, once again, Vijay Singh
wasn't given the respect he deserves. Instead, he was criticized
for being one dimensional, uncooperative and unfriendly. Nothing
could be further from the truth. Since Vijay embraced physical
fitness almost three years ago and hired me to be his personal
trainer, I've become a close friend. The Vijay the media
describe is not the Vijay I know.
Vijay hired me in the summer of 1997 because he felt that, at
34, he needed to start working out. From the beginning he was as
fanatical about training in the gym as he was about beating
balls on the range. Vijay built 300-square-foot gym in his house
in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., and filled it with top-shelf
equipment. He also put a stair-climber in front of his DVD home
theater and hired Boris Kuzmic, another trainer, to work with
him when he's on the road. On Sunday at the Masters, Vijay got
up at 5:45 a.m. to do a half-hour workout before finishing his
When Vijay isn't at a tournament, we work out daily for an hour
in his gym, and the sessions are as comical as they are
grueling. I walk gingerly around his house because Vijay likes
to hide behind corners and then jump out and startle me. He also
loves playing with his six German shepherds--Loppy, Rover,
Silver, Snowy, Teddy Bear and Tyson. His favorite is Loppy, a
110-pound male who has had K-9 protection training. When I'm
leaving after a workout, Vijay will say, "Watch," a command that
sends Loppy into the attack position. Loppy will be standing eye
to eye with me, Cujo-like. I'll look up, terrified, and see
Vijay howling with laughter.
Warmth and hospitality are other qualities I associate with
Vijay, who enjoys opening his home to friends. Every New Year's
Eve I'm invited to the bash that Vijay throws, and I also go to
the barbecue for his Tour mates on the Monday of the Players
Championship. I like that party because I've met guys like Ben
Crenshaw, David Duval and Ernie Els.
Vijay may not be very animated on the course or outspoken in
interviews, but I guarantee this: He is one of the best friends
I've ever had.
Randy Warren, 32, is a personal trainer and an occasional golfer
who lives in Jacksonville Beach, Fla.
COLOR PHOTO: BEN VAN HOOK