Same old song for Singh in 2006

2/7/2006 - Golf Vijay Singh

Vijay Singh has been known to practice on Christmas Day, so it is no surprise to see him load up his tournament schedule. The man loves to play golf, loves to compete and does not seem to be slowing down with age.

But you have to wonder about the schedule Singh is undertaking this year.

Singh, who turns 43 on Feb. 22, is playing in this week's Pebble Beach Pro-Am, his sixth straight tournament to start the year.

That is unheard of among today's top-ranked players. You almost never see them play four straight, let alone six.

But what makes Singh's six-week splurge is the fact that he fit in two tournaments in the Middle East as part of the package.

After opening the season at the Mercedes Championship and losing in a playoff to Stuart Appleby, it has been some kind of ride for Singh, who then went to the Sony Open (sixth) before playing the Abu Dhabi Championship (T-8) and the Qatar Masters (T-24). While some 14 time zones removed from his first two tournaments of the year, Singh found the time to squeeze in some course design work, too.

Most would take a month off after such a journey, but there was no downtime for Singh.

He returned last week to the FBR Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., where he tied for 20th. This week he's in California at Pebble.

Finally, next week he will get off the tournament trail, perhaps fitting in time to celebrate his birthday, before heading back to California from his Florida home for the Match Play Championship.

It is tiring just thinking about it.

But that's not all.

After the Match Play, Singh is headed back to Florida for four straight tournaments: Doral, Honda, Bay Hill and The Players Championship. It is hard to blame him for wanting to play in those tournaments. Singh lives and practices in Florida, and he has had success at those tournaments. He probably should have won Honda and Bay Hill last year, but came up short in the end. Nobody skips The Players Championship.

But that is 12 tournaments in 13 weeks. He is expected to take the week off before The Masters, and if he can still stand, Singh will arrive at Augusta National as the most-prepped player in the world.

A busy schedule is nothing new for Singh. Since playing 21 times on the PGA Tour in 1997, Singh has never played fewer than 26 events. Last year he played 30. He played 29 in 2004. He's on pace for another 30-tournament season this year.

Is this smart?

It is difficult to criticize someone who simply enjoys playing. At a time when PGA Tour officials rue the fact that many of their top stars do not play enough, here is a guy who maybe plays too much. Tournaments love to tout having the top players in the world, and Singh gives a bit more cachet to this week's Pebble Beach event, which is a bit short on the top-ranked players.

Still, you have to wonder: How much will be left when Singh gets to Augusta?

Bob Harig covers golf for the St. Petersburg Times and is a frequent contributor to ESPN.com. He can be reached at harig@sptimes.com.