BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. -- There was a "Singh" on the first page of the leader boards at the 90th PGA Championship, but it was the "other" Singh. This was not Vijay, the two-time PGA Champion who won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday. This was Jeev Milkha, and if the theme for major championships holds true this year, he is more of a threat than the Big Fijian.
Singh arrived in Michigan nursing a tender ankle. While favoring that ankle, he has won twice, the Austrian Open and the Invitational Sega Sammy Cup in Japan, which boosted him to 66th in the World Ranking. "I haven't played any practice rounds for the last seven weeks in the tournaments I've played and it's worked pretty good for me, touch wood," Singh said.
With just nine holes of practice Tuesday and nine more Wednesday, Singh went out and shot 68 Thursday to tie for the early lead with Robert Karlsson of Sweden. Afterward, he explained it was a tendon issue that -- depending on stress and how much he's tweaked it -- doesn't allow him to put full weight on it.
Wearing a brace, Singh eagled the second and offset three bogeys with three birdies, including one of the few made on the 238-yard, par-3 17th. After an MRI three weeks ago, doctors advised him to take four weeks off. Singh tried to barter a deal by asking for two. "My pain always comes when I hit a lot of drivers," Singh said. "I don't know, one of those tendons, the way I move my foot, the right foot, it gets me going."
It's nothing like the stress fracture and torn ACL that Tiger Woods overcame to win the U.S. Open or the surgery to remove a tumor from his lung that Masters champion Trevor Immelman overcame. It's more like the wrist injury that nearly knocked Padraig Harrington out of the British Open, which (or course) he went on to win.
More pain seemed to be suffered by the more well-known Singh, who struggled in his pairing with John Daly, and was four over after 13 holes when play was suspended. Asked if they get mistaken, Jeev played along and admitted that in practice rounds, he can hear spectators say h must be Vijay's son or Vijay's brother.
But Jeev, who is from India, and whose father was a track star in the 1960 Olympics, also points out that the Singh name is as common in his country as Smith and Jones are in the United States. "We've got millions of Singhs," he said, "and everybody is not related."