Deutsche Bank Round Three: Advantage Vijay Singh as scorching putter sets up head-to-head with Tiger Woods
The people with the biggest smiles on their faces right now are probably the head honchos at Deutsche Bank. I can’t imagine they were too excited heading into Sunday’s gloomy rain-drenched parade. To come out with a Labor Day rerun of 2004’s famous head-to-head between Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh, most likely with good weather to boot, must have them in the banking equivalent of heaven (vault?).
You will rarely get a more absorbing day’s golf than Sunday’s third round. Even when Singh blazed to five under at the turn I couldn’t imagine he’d net another five birdies for a course record 10 under. That back nine has not been easy over the last three days and it was an astounding achievement in Sunday’s murky conditions. What an emphatic comeback from the man people were saying was past it. If that’s burnt out, hand me the matches.
Oddly, the weather was the reverse of Saturday - plenty of wet but no wind. And that was certainly crucial to the response of Woods: respectable off the tee and imperious with his iron work into the greens, even out of the soggy rough. It was woeful putting that left him three shots adrift - a deficit I am assured he has never come back from to win after the third round in 11 tries. That’s a powerful statistic.
But then this is no ordinary contest and we’ll likely see Tiger really fired up against his old adversary in his “drive for five". Mind you, I can’t imagine Singh will be any less raring to get out there Monday.
Another who can probably thank his lucky stars is Justin Rose. Having held himself together with aplomb after a shaky start Sunday to end level pegging with Tiger, he is probably better off for having missed the eagle chance on the 18th. It means he can let the two great men knock the stuffing out of each other while he quietly goes about his business away from all the hooplah. Maybe he’ll fire through the middle of them in the way Adam Scott did in 2004.
Oh yes, talking of the world’s fifth best golfer, anyone seen him lately? That’s the last time I waste my hard earned on him for a stretch. I guess the Aussies don’t do rain - Robert Allenby certainly didn’t either.
It’s got to be Tiger or Vijay hasn’t it? And I reckon you couldn’t have a better person fighting for your dough than the Fijian. More often than not, however, a great round is followed by a bit of a monster so we shouldn’t get too excited. This could really come down to a putter-to-putter grand finale. And if you look at the stats you will se that Singh - incredibly - is the tournament leader in that department. My lay of Tiger stands.
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