Finally,"Vijay Singh said with a sigh after his victory in the Barclays Classic at theWestchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y. He didn't need to say much else. For11 months the former world No. 1 had been a picture of frustration. It was badenough that his 21-start winless stretch dating to the 2005 Buick Open followedone of the game's most fertile periods ever (17 victories between January 2003and August '05), but the way his results mocked his effort level had beenmaddening: A guy who spends most of his life with either a golf club or abarbell in his hands expects to win. He broke the streak with a bloodlesslyefficient performance at Westchester, a 10-under 274, good for a two-strokevictory over Adam Scott. The win doesn't guarantee that Singh will contend atthis week's U.S. Open, but it at least suggests that he is once again capableof being in the hunt. In truth, when it comes to the Open, Singh may havepreferred to wait a week to end his drought. No one has ever won the Open afterwinning the previous week's Tour event, making it the only major championshipwith that dubious distinction.... The win was Singh's 17th since turning 40,tying Sam Snead's record, and his third at Westchester, making Singh and JackNicklaus the only players to win there three times.... Singh finished 13th inthe 1997 PGA at Winged Foot.
During the weekof his 18th U.S. Open, Fred Funk turns 50, which means that three weeks later,on July 6--9, he'll play in his first U.S. Senior Open at Prairie Dunes CountryClub in Hutchinson, Kans. "I've heard a lot of guys are having a lot of funout there on the Champions tour," Funk says. "These guys are notnecessarily playing for money. They simply want to feel that competition."Maybe, but if Funk wants to pad his bank account, he'd better reap his seniorwindfall fast. The list of players who turn 50 in 2007 includes SeveBallesteros, John Cook, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer, Mark O'Meara, Nick Priceand Jeff Sluman.
• Marilynn Smith,one of the founders of the LPGA and a 21-time winner, was selected forinduction to the World Golf Hall of Fame in the lifetime achievement category.She will enter the hall on Oct. 30 along with Singh, Larry Nelson and HenryPicard. •With the Open looming, 16 players withdrew from the Barclays,including Jim Furyk, who reportedly injured his back while brushing histeeth.
• For daily U.S.Open coverage, go to SI.com/golf.
"She left to protect her 'integrity andreputation.'" --PEPPER MILL, PAGE G18
Survey Says ...
It's possible that no one will carry a one-iron at theOpen for the second year in a row. Only eight players have used one on Tourthis year, and just two (Chris DiMarco and José María Olaàbal) are in thefield. Here are the number of one-irons in play at recent Opens.
The Darrell Survey has tracked equipment usage at golftournaments since 1938.
This Long Island shack will let you play the Open inyour own yard.
WHAT Three Ponds, a Hamptons estate with threefish-stocked ponds, 14 gardens, a 75-foot long pool and a guest house
WHERE Bridgehampton, N.Y.
COST $75 million
HOOK Besides its other goodies, this 60-acre tractfeatures a USGA-rated, 18-hole (par-70) golf course designed by Rees Jones,who's known as the Open Doctor for his work on numerous major venues.
FRINGE BENEFIT You're within strolling distance of theOpen the next time it's at Shinnecock.
ERICK W. RASCO (SINGH)
HE'S BACK After four straight starts outside the top 35, Singh rebounded.
ALLAN SCHNEIDER ASSOCIATES (HOUSE)