Four months later, as he cooled off in the Denarau lounge, the prime minister was still peeved. "I don't believe a professional could have that kind of 'accident,' " Rabuka said, his voice heavy with sarcasm. And surely it didn't help that Krishna had reneged on his promise to pay the FPGA $1,500 and that he had skipped the country without paying his $3,000 phone and fax bill at the Sheraton Fiji Resort. From Rabuka's hangdog expression, one got the idea that being a dictator is no picnic these days.
Expatriates tend not to be nostalgic. So those in Fiji who wonder why Singh seems to have forgotten them should consider that his best friend, when he was a boy, was a mango tree. Even now he can conjure up only two names when asked which Tour players know him well—Jim Thorpe and Jesper Parnevik.
It would be a stretch to say that Singh doesn't care where he lives, but his sense of place is circumscribed by his practice needs: Paradise is a 350-yard-long range with a private tee at the far end, away from the chatterboxes and glad-handers. ("It's mindless," 1995 PGA champ Steve Elkington says of Singh's practice sessions. "He just hits his driver all day.") For solace and support Singh has only Ardena, and she admits she sometimes wonders "when he's going to sow that wild oat. It isn't possible for a man to be satisfied with just two things"—i.e., a wife and golf.
"Golf has been a gift to me," Singh said at Ponte Vedra Beach, where the muggy summer afternoons must remind him of Nadi. "Without golf, my loneliness would not have allowed me to succeed." And Viti Levu, he acknowledged, provided the tranquillity that made his development possible. "It's a beautiful island. It's my home."
But not really, not anymore. Not with his family gone and ethnic prejudice the law of the land. Fiji, as Singh sees it, is a palm-strewn hideaway where the clock runs 120 minutes to the hour and cows stand in the roads. "The water's blue," he says, "and you spend a week there."
Or less than a week, if you're Vijay Singh—a man who seems to have become an island unto himself.