Fiji Sports

Vijay’s homecoming

By ANASILINI RATUVA Former world number one golfer Vijay Singh will return to Fiji in August to compete in the Fiji International tournament. This was confirmed by chief executive officer
28 Feb 2014 11:05

By ANASILINI RATUVA

Former world number one golfer Vijay Singh will return to Fiji in August to compete in the Fiji International tournament.
This was confirmed by chief executive officer of the PGA of Australia, Brian Thorburn, at the Holiday Inn Suva yesterday.
The tournament will be played at the Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course on August 14-17.
Thorburn says they are very grateful to have Fiji’s greatest golfer to be part of the four-day tourney.
“Vijay is looking forward to returning to Fiji and support his nation,” Thorburn said.
“This is a special occasion for Fiji.”
Singh says he is delighted to be part of the tournament.
“The Fiji International is a big opportunity for Fiji and I wanted to be a part of it,” Singh said.
“It’s been a little while since I’ve been back but this is a great opportunity and I hope that I can contribute to its success and give a little back to Fiji.”
To be played the week following the US PGA Championship, Singh said he had always hoped to be a part of the Fiji International and was glad that the schedule provided an opportunity for his involvement.
“Since it was launched I knew it was something I wanted to be a part of,” said Singh who grew up living nearby a golf course and was introduced to the game by his father.
“There are plenty of kids in Fiji who have never seen a golf club, never hit a golf ball. I know the PGA has plans for growing the game in Fiji and I want to play my part.”
In a career that spans more than 30 years, Singh has made headlines all over the world.
At 51 years-old, Singh has won 58 international titles since turning professional in 1982, including three Major titles.
His first Major win came at the 1998 US PGA Championship, a tournament he also won in 2004.
The ‘Big Fijian’ also claimed the 2000 US Masters at Augusta National.
He was world number one on the official world golf ranking for 32 weeks throughout 2004 and 2005 and was officially inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006.
Singh was born in Lautoka, Fiji and grew up in Nadi, a 40 minute drive from where the Fiji International will be held at Natadola Bay.
Fiji Attorney-General and Minister for Tourism Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that it was a matter of great national pride to have a Fijian of Singh’s calibre competing in the tournament.
“We look forward to hosting some of the world’s top golfers in Fiji, but of course it will be particularly special to welcome Vijay home,” he said.
Thorburn said Singh’s participation was important to the tournament’s success.
“Vijay is synonymous with the game in Fiji but his success and adoration transcends golf,” said Thorburn.
“Since we first conceptualised the Fiji International, Vijay has been an important part of our strategy and we’re delighted he has chosen to support his country in this way.”
Launched in September last year, planning is well underway for the inaugural tournament which will boast a minimum prize purse of US$1 million.
The Fiji International is expected to produce a multi-million dollar boost for the Fijian economy, in addition to flow on benefits including the growth of the game in the region.
The Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course was designed by Singh and is renowned for its sparkling backdrop of coral reefs and the Pacific Ocean that line 15 out of the 18 championship holes.

Vijay Singh


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