Vijay Singh's temper was a lot shorter than his round.
After taking more than five hours to complete his round yesterday morning at the Barclays Classic in Harrison, N.Y., the second-ranked Singh blasted PGA Tour rules officials for allowing slow players to reduce the pace to a crawl.
"It's slow. It's always slow here. It's ridiculous," Singh said. "I mean you play a round of golf in five hours and wait on every shot. It's just like the officials are just blind. You don't see one out there. It ruins the rhythm of the play."
The big Fijian had little to say about the 3-under 68 that left him three strokes behind first-round leader Jim Furyk, choosing instead to rant about the slow play on the hilly, tree-lined Westchester Country Club course.
"Every shot out there on the front nine, you had to wait," Singh said. "You get fed up with it."
Under the tour's 21/2-year-old policy, players are considered to be on the clock when their group is out of position -- defined by an open hole ahead of them. The 10th time a player is put on the clock during the year results in a $20,000 fine.
Players are allowed 40 seconds for each shot, and given an extra 20 seconds in some situations such as teeing off first on a par-3 hole. Players are supposed to be warned after one bad time, penalized a stroke and fined $5,000 for two bad times, penalized two strokes and fined $10,000 for three bad times and disqualified for four bad times.
"If the officials don't do anything about it, then the guys are going to take more time," Singh said.
Furyk birdied the final two holes for a back-nine 30 after three-putting the par-5 ninth for the lone bogey in his round of 65.
Singh, the 1993 and 1995 Westchester champion, was tied with Kenny Perry, John Rollins, Ian Leggatt, Brian Bateman and Hidemichi Tanaka.
Sergio Garcia, the 2001 and 2004 winner, opened with a 72, ending his streak of rounds of par or better in the event at 19. He bogeyed the final four holes.
* EUROPEAN TOUR: France's Jean Van de Velde matched the course record with a 7-under-par 64 at the French Open and led by one stroke in a first round cut short by electrical storms.
Only 78 of the 156 golfers finished at the National Golf course in Versailles, France. Play was delayed for 31/2 hours before the round was called off.