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News of the Weird, Vijay Edition: Vol. 91

From Craig Dolch, who outlined Vijay's problems with the media before sharing these antics from Bay Hill:

Another tale, albeit a minor one, occurred last weekend at Bay Hill. For some reason, Singh kept parking his car in a media parking spot instead of where the players park. Why? Who knows? A parking attendant told me Saturday morning how he and several of his fellow volunteers had gotten into a heated argument with Singh because after he was told he couldn’t park his car there, but he did so, anyway.

Singh did the same thing Sunday, even though a media official told the lady in his car it needed to be removed. She refused, saying they needed to speak to Singh, who at the time was starting his 67 that won Arnold’s tournament by two shots. Of course, this is a minor incident, but it says plenty about Singh. He never adheres to the philosophy that you should treat people the way you want to be treated.

There's a lede buried in this buried lede, but since this is a family values website, I ain't touching it!

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Reader Comments (21)


I try to reserve judgement when an athlete that makes life difficult for the media is taken to task.

I get mixed messages on Vijay. My sense is his tour colleagues like him and he seeks out younger tour players. Seems like a worthy endeavour to report on the "real Vijay". Talk to players, pro-am partners,sponsors, volunteers, tournament hosts, etc.

Can someone give us a fair report with some breadth and depth? Go beyond the cheating rumors and Annika comments.

Hey, maybe he is a pr&%k -- but make the case.

If you read the entire article as well as the reader's comments at the's amazing how different the picture is from one that is posted with bias!
03.20.2007 | Unregistered Commenterhonest abe
The number of elite athletes who are genuinely nice people loved by everyone is very short. Golf is lucky to have Arnold, probably the top athlete in any sport on that list.

To be an elite athlete, you need a good amount of swagger and arrogance. Reports like this one, one-sided and thin on facts, must be taken with a grain of salt.

I prefer to trust my eyes and ears. Vijay goes about his work without alot of histrionics, which I like, and he doesn't seem to be "spinning" anything when he answers questions, which I also like.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered Commenter86general
It is an interesting story. Every poll of tour players that I have seen always seems to rank Vijay as one of the best-liked guys on the tour. The infamous poll of caddies a couple of years ago found them all in agreement that they would not want to work for Vijay, with all of them saying rather pointedly that the reason was that he worked so hard, and that consequently his caddy had to work so hard. Again, they uniformly felt that Vijay was one of the nicest guys around; he was NOT an undesirable boss because he was boorish.

I think Vijay has more than a little Ben Hogan in him.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered CommenterChuck
I had the privilege to be inside the ropes at the Western Open last year, caddying on Monday and Tuesday for a friend, a local pro who got through the Section qualifier (and getting to use my credential for an up close and personal look at the guys on the range the rest of the week). The players on the range almost universally liked VJ. Everybody either said hi or came over to shake his hand when he was out there. There were always guys coming over to chat when he was hitting balls. But, there's still a right way and a wrong way to treat people. Kenny Perry, who was struggling with his driver (and his knee) was warm and friendly with everybody -- even the local pro who was clearly going to miss the cut by a million. Even Tiger made eye contact with this outsider who clearly didn't belong, and smiled and nodded when he passed. If VJ didn't know you, he walked right by. . . something about it just rubs you the wrong way.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered CommenterSmolmania
"If VJ didn't know you, he walked right by. . . something about it just rubs you the wrong way."

It doesn't rub me the wrong way.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered CommenterAce
Since 2004 I have photographed 20+ tournaments on the PGA Tour, mostly majors. Vijay has to be one of the nicest, most pleasant players on tour. One way to measure that is by the popular players he plays practice rounds with- Couples, Daly, etc. He seems to always be smiling and laughing. Long after Saturday's round at Winged Foot last year, there were only 2 players left signing autographs for the kids...Phil and Vijay. Vijay gets vindicated because he doesn't turn it on for the media. Wonder what the media would think of Ben Hogan if he were around today? Vijay gets a bad rap, he is one of the good guys in my opinion.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered CommenterRob
I can tell you based on visual confirmation that "the lady in his car" was neither Annika nor Ardena, the person listed in the PGA Tour media guide as Vijay's wife.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered CommenterFWIW
Well, Ace, I guess you're as big an ahole as Mr. Singh. These guys have one of the best possible jobs, and are paid fabulous sums of money. Could it hurt to be pleasant and treat people they way they're treating you? Yes, Billy and I were interlopers in the world of the PGA Tour, but Michael Allen and Kenny Perry went out of their way to be pleasant -- admittedly that's basic human decency. . . something which the superstar from Fiji apparently lacks.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered CommenterSmolmania
Vijay's a complicated guy, and we prefer simple. He reminds me of a fraternity guy who is popular with his brothers but is considered arrogant by outsiders. Who's right - the people who know him best or those who hardly know him?

Answer: They're both right, which drives us crazy.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered CommenterCBell
I worked the driving range at the Player's last year, and I thought he was dead cool. Great to us in the tent, thanked us for all of our work on Sunday before heading to the tee, made eye contact, smiled. Same with Tiger, Ernie, Jim Furyk, Mike Weir and Stephen Ames (point of disclosure: I was there with my class from PGM school, and we're Canadian), KJ Choi, Nick Faldo, David Toms, all the Aussies...the only guy who did the same thing Smol describes was Phil. Bones was really nice, but if that week was any indication, Bones spends a lot of time apologizing for Phil.
03.20.2007 | Unregistered CommenterReverendTMac
Imagine, a player who has not always been treated fairly by the press, never happens. He decides he is going to be less than friendly to many in the press corps. Now that is a sin. I mean the press have RIGHTS, who is he to ignore the most important people in society, sports writers!
And for that, they go out of their way to report every minor crime against humanity the man commits.
This is a non-story. It's comical but only VJ gets the joke it appears.
I often wonder if he would be garner so much negative press if he was a white American?
Not likely.
03.21.2007 | Unregistered CommenterKerry
Good point Kerry, I guess John Daly's press clippings lately have been nothing but positive. That's what it is, it's racism.
03.21.2007 | Unregistered CommenterSmolmania
It's taken 15 years of bad behaviour for Daly to be taken to task seriously by a FEW reporters. For many years he has been given a free ride because he was quotable and a good story.
I believe the press is less charitible and understanding of VJ being different. Not saying he is always right, just that minor sins like stealing press parking, which is kinda funny, are headlines for those who would not go out of their way to write a negative story about many other boorish PGA Tour players.
We witnessed for years how too many stories about him mentioned his expolsion from the Asia Tour. Why was this brought up so often? Ten years after it occurred! He paid the price!
To many in the press resent it when players do not treat them like essential part of their lives. It's one thing when Ted Williams or Steve Carlton do it, another when Barry Bonds or VJ Singh do it. Yes I find the heat turned up on the "ethnic" players is moreso than the "white" equivalent.
03.21.2007 | Unregistered CommenterKerry
Kerry, I hope that 4 Putt is out there to weigh in on this, but I just don't see it. How many times did a story about Jonathan Kaye mention his credential on the zipper episode? And you think Steve Carlton didn't get blistered by the press in Philadelphia because he was an asshole? I moved to a suburb of Philly when I was in 6th grade when Paul Owens was rebuilding that team (Money and Hisle, Doyle and Bowa came up in '68 and '69). New stadium in '71 and then they traded the younger Rick Wise for the big lefthander. But Lefty was a jerk because he wouldn't talk to the press? Maybe he was, but the year he had in 1972 was the best year any pitcher had ever. I've traveled a little off point, but the Eddie Murrays and Vijay Singhs of the world don't get treated like assholes in the media because of the color of their skin -- that treatment was and/or is earned by their actions.
03.21.2007 | Unregistered CommenterSmolmania
Never said the media treated Carlton with kid gloves. Just said that the heat or negative spin against ethnic athletes often is higher. You mean to say that a country very racially divided like the United States has a completely unbiased Press. No history of racially slanted press opinions, no studies to show that famous minorities are often treated less kindly than WASPS in the overall press coverage. Not in the US of A? The idea that the press is completely exempt from racial bias in America is idealistic bordering on naive. I am a WASP by the way.
My point is that if the equivilent white guy wins Arnie's Tournament, it would not generate so much negative press. Nor would the same percentage mention his Asian Tour events or the Annika incident.
It's really in the percentages that you see it. Not each individual article.
The premise of this story is comical. VJ parked in the press parking spot. What? Is that like parking in the Handicap Zone? Perhaps it is.
03.21.2007 | Unregistered Commenterkerry
Smolmania, no more interloping, please.
03.21.2007 | Unregistered CommenterAce
Ace, Kerry, et al.,

I have covered the PGA Tour as a career for over 30 years. So please excuse me if I'm totally amazed by the amount of inside knowledge about my occupation claimed by some of you.

1.) First, Smols is hardly an interloper. Please stop telling him how he feels, or should feel. By caddying for a competitor in a PGA Tour event, he had access to a hallowed ground traversed by very few people. And got a brief inside-the-scenes visit most of you can only wish for.

2.) Kerry feels the negative spin against ethnic atletes is greater than that against whites. Uh-huh, yeah, sure... And this racism ostensibly goes on under the radar and with the complete approval of those who run the liberal, mainsteam media? Sorry, but you're dead wrong. Professional sportswriters work constantly under the public scrutiny. When most of you make a mistake at work, maybe a handful of people become aware of it. If I make a mistake, either 250,000+ readers or radio listeners in 38 states and four Canadian provinces know about it. Over 30 years ago, I chose to accept that type of career.

Do you actually believe a truly racist sportswriter would have lasted long enough to attain some sort of lofty position in the public eye? Members of important, responsible media outlets are color-blind.

Vijay has had a chip on his shoulder versus the golf media since he came on the scene and got pissed when asked a legitimate question about the cheating incident. He proved as much to those who followed him to his car following his first Masters win, when he ignored those seeking followup questions, turned as he got into his car and said "Kiss my ass, everyone!"

In or out of sports, an a-hole is simply an a-hole, period. There are a few in the media, of course. I'd say -- having covered every major sport earlier in my career, 75 percent of profesional athletes are or can be jerks. Sometimes even a good guy can be in a foul mindset after a poor performance. If anyone sees a race-bias toward Vijay, you'd do best to look no further than a mirror, sir. It's something you're imagining.

If what has been revealed about "Vijay stealing press parking" is true, it is because of his arrogance, a feeling that as a talented player he can do however he pleases, and hang the rules because they don't apply to him.

3.) Let me clear up a few popular misconceptions about the golf media I've read here and in other places:

* We're not all freeloaders. Most of the "freebie soliciting" is done by hobbyist freelancers who have no journalistic background and a very thin affiliation -- if at all -- with one of too-many golf web sites or minor regional publications. These are the guys who insist on being invited to "Media Day" for an event, eat the free meal, play 18 holes of free golf on the tournament course, and expect a free golf shirt. Many of them never even do any actual news coverage of the event -- they see these media perks as some sort of weird "entitlement" because they pass themselves off as "golfwriters". They are not, and we know who most of them are. They get invited to Media Day because the tournament's organizers are hoping they'll at least publicize a promotional news release of the tourney dates, ticket prices, etc.

* We all don't sit in the media tent to eat free food all day. If that were true, no work would get done. We usually put in four very long 12- to 14-hour days, plus two or three eight-hour days covering a single event.

* Most of us approach a story as should be done, with an open mind and no preconceived agenda. We also let the facts and quotes take us to a conclusion.

* Yes, there are plenty of "rally-killer" and stupid questions asked in press conferences. But most (if not all) of these questions come from reporters from local media outlets who cover maybe one Tour event a year -- when the Tour visits their locale. Many of them have never covered a golf event in their lives, and don't understand or because of ego don't want to understand the protocol of these press conferences. Some are interns (wannabee broadcasters) sent by local radio stations that never cover golf but once a year because it is a news event in their town. Their assignment is simply to bring back tape of the press conferences for someone back at the radio station to select "voicers" to use in news reports, but too often they feel an egotistic need to pipe up and let everyone else know they're there. They're not experienced enough or they lack the knowledge required to understand what constitutes a stupid, out-of-context question. This happens a lot when Tiger steps onto the podium.

* If anyone thinks they can do a better job, feel free to start submitting resumes to media outlets. Or go ahead and write a book and then try to find someone to publish it. The job isn't as easy as some seem to think.

My profession is not a game -- we all use the money to pay off our mortgages, make the car payments and put food in the fridge.

And most of us have been doing this long enough to where we don't give a damn what others think, and we don't let a person's criticism affect how we approach our profession, either.

03.21.2007 | Unregistered CommenterFour-putt
Love how 4 putt writes on a web site about "too many websites", quotes circulation, Canadian provinces (huh?) and radio market figures but not web traffic, designates the media tent and the few feet between the ropes and the fairways of a practice round as "hallowed ground" that we can only wish for, claims that mainstream pubs who accept advertising and are divisions of publicly traded media conglomerates are above reproach with just a wee bit of defensiveness capped off by claiming to not give a damn.

When Vijay won his first Masters? Has he won more than one?

Golf Digest April 2001:

You said that your enjoyment of last year's victory was diminished somewhat because of the story that, on Sunday night after dinner there, you were overheard in a conversation with your agent, Clarke Jones, leaving the Augusta National clubhouse. Something along the lines of "Kiss my ass, everybody . . . "

That remark had nothing to do with anything, but somebody in the media who was walking behind us, I guess, heard it and published it. Like I was criticizing something about the Masters or the members there.

It was crazy. It was about a completely unrelated subject, but the press made a big thing about it.

Clarke says it had something to do with a guy who thought you didn't have the game to win at Augusta.

Exactly. The name doesn't matter. But nobody at Augusta, nothing to do with the Masters.

Quick 4 putt, name the media members that were present after clocking in their 14 hour days and waiting for Vijay while sharing Marlboros and Twinkies with the Pinkertons to emerge from the winner's dinner for that line and the publications they represented.
03.22.2007 | Unregistered CommenterNRH
Well Four-Putt,
I do not think it necessarily goes under the radar. Racial bias is much more subtle than the classic racism you confuse it with.
And several prominent writers are talking about it.
For example, some pretty smart guy named Richard Lapchuk has been writting about it for years. He is not the only one. He's pretty prominent, although you might dismiss him as a petty liberal.
This is an interesting take on the absolute lack of racial bias in sports writing:
Like I said before, to believe none of this ever happens in sports journalism is idealistic and perhaps niave.
I would never make a sweeping generalization that all sports journalists have racial bias, that's silly.
But it's okay for you to make a sweeping generalization that all of them are free of it.
Who do you write for, Rush Limbaugh?
03.22.2007 | Unregistered Commenterkerry
You said it all, 4p. Talk about chips. Chunk ahoys!

"I'd say -- having covered every major sport earlier in my career, 75 percent of profesional athletes are or can be jerks."

"Most of us approach a story as should be done, with an open mind and no preconceived agenda. We also let the facts and quotes take us to a conclusion."

"And most of us have been doing this long enough to where we don't give a damn what others think, and we don't let a person's criticism affect how we approach our profession, either."

03.22.2007 | Unregistered CommenterAce

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