Former world No.1 and one of Fiji’s greatest sportsmen Vijay Singh has again shown his commitment to his home tournament and signed on for his fifth straight appearance at the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways.
Singh joins good friend and fellow World Golf Hall of Famer Ernie Els in the field for the 2018 edition to be played at Natadola Bay Championship Golf Course from August 2-5, 2018.
The pair has shared many sterling contests, none more prominent than the Masters in 2000 when Singh defeated ‘The Big Easy’ by three shots to claim the coveted green jacket. They have also played alongside one another in numerous Presidents Cups representing the International team, of which Els was named captain for the 2019 edition at Royal Melbourne Golf Club.
“I’m looking forward to meeting up with Ernie in Fiji. He and I have travelled the world together as professionals, so it will be nice to show him my home country,” Singh said.
“We’ve had some good memories together on the golf course; we’ve played a lot of Presidents Cups together including the Internationals’ win in 1998. He’s a close friend of mine but come round one at the Fiji International, I certainly won’t be holding anything back and I don’t expect him to, either. It’s hard to scale back that competitive streak we both have.”
The proud Fijian has been a vocal supporter of the tournament since its inception in 2014 and had a hand in the initial design of the Natadola Bay Championship Course as well as its re-design in 2017. He has also designed the Desaru Coast Valley course at The Els Club in Malaysia, a sought-after golf destination made up of three courses, the two others designed by Els.
“I was very excited to work with Ernie at The Els Club,” Singh said. “I’m sure when he plays at Natadola he’ll notice some similarities between my work here and over in Malaysia. He has a keen eye for course architecture so I hope he enjoys the course in Fiji.”
Singh has made the cut in all four of his Fiji International appearances, his best result to date a third place in the 2015 edition. This year he has already returned to the winner’s circle, recording a one-shot victory in the Toshiba Classic on the PGA Tour Champions in March.
“It definitely feels good to get a win so early in the season,” Singh added. “I’m definitely not done yet and will challenge this year in the Fiji International.”
Singh is a wonderful ambassador for Fiji overseas and is warmly welcomed home each year for the Fiji International.
“The Fiji International would be incomplete without Vijay and we look forward to welcoming him back once again in 2018,” said Fiji’s Minister for Industry, Trade, Tourism, Lands and Mineral Resources, the Honourable Faiyaz Siddiq Koya.
“Having an athlete of Vijay Singh’s calibre and repute playing in the tournament for the past four years adds value to the status of the tournament and will be a good incentive for other players to play alongside him. The Fiji International will definitely be a must-attend event and we look forward to a good round of competitive golf come August.”
Gavin Kirkman, chief executive of the PGA of Australia which owns the ISPS Handa PGA Tour of Australasia, said Singh’s continued presence at the Fiji International presented by Fiji Airways speaks volumes of his commitment to golf in his home country.
“We are excited to see Vijay Singh in action once again at the Fiji International,” Kirkman said. He’s a marvellous player, course architect and ambassador for Fiji. I look forward to seeing Vijay and his good friend Ernie Els in action.”