If Lanto Griffin plays well this week in the Barracuda Championship, he knows who to thank.
Griffin has been getting lessons and advice from one of the top golfers in the world, Vijay Singh.
Griffin got to know Singh’s son, Qass, at a golf course and after the coronavirus shut down the PGA Tour in the spring and they started working out together.
Griffin said Vijay Singh is a bit misunderstood by the public.
“Vijay is one of those guys where if you don’t know him, you kind of think he’s different than he is, I guess. He’s an extremely generous guy and a lot of fun to be around,” Griffin said. “I went over and worked out at 9 a.m. thinking I’m just doing one or two workouts with him, and 10 weeks later I spent every single day with him.”
Griffin said Vijay Singh is caring and generous with his time and enjoys helping other golfers.
“He’s probably spent six or seven hours with my girlfriend helping her with her swing. I never once asked him to do that, either. He just goes over and he likes helping people. I think in the media he’s got a little bit of a bad rap, and it couldn’t be further from who he is as a person,” Griffin said.
Vijay Singh, 57, won 34 times on the PGA Tour and is in the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Griffin said he helped with his swing and some other pointers, but the big takeaway is his mental approach and how he carries himself.
Griffin admitted he did not work too hard at golf before meeting Vijay Singh.
“He loves the game. I think he probably loves the game more than anybody I’ve ever met, and it shows. He does the stuff that people don’t want to do, doing little drills and working on swing changes and doing the stuff two, three hours of doing the same little drill, maybe it’s a one-handed just using your right arm or whatever it may be, but he puts the time in,” Griffin said.
Griffin is the highest ranked player in the Barracuda in the FedEx Cup standings at No. 10. He is in his second season on the PGA Tour.
Golfers who finish in the top 10 at the end of the regular season qualify for Wyndham Rewards tournament.
Griffin is tied for 18th after the first day at Old Greenwood. He scored eight points in the Modified Stableford scoring format, six points back of the lead.
Co-leaders after first round
Adam Schenk and Ryan Moore are the first-round co-leaders, each with 14 points.
Schenk had seven birdies. He said the key as to not get negative points and to try to save par when possible.
“There are so many of the reachable par-5s and the drivable par-4s. You can’t get them all, so when you don’t get one it’s important to make sure you’re making par and not forcing the issue too much and going backwards. That’s when you really hurt yourself is when you go backwards on those holes,” Schenk said.
Moore, from Las Vegas, said his early tee time on Friday could change his game, citing the cool mornings.
“It’s so cold in the morning that the distances, it’s very different. Just get a good grasp on how far the ball is going in the morning when it’s only 50 or 55 degrees for the first hour, hour and a half we’ll be playing, and then adjust as we go,” Moore said. “It’s a lot trickier than people think because it can change 10 percent throughout a day starting that early in the morning.”
Robert Streb, Seamus Power and Patrick Rogers are three points back at 11. Power had an eagle on the par-5 No. 12.
There were seven golfers tied for sixth with 10 points.
Power said he likes the Old Greenwood course.
“It’s just beautiful, the whole backdrop,” Power said. “But it’s a good test. The fairways are generous, but then if you kind of get away from it a little bit at all, you’re going to find some nasty spots. I think driving is going to be huge this week.”