May
28
2010
Working for Vijay Nothing to Sing About
By Stephanie Wei under General

After a brief stint playing on the PGA Tour, Paul Tesori, who is famously known for wearing a cap stitched with “Tiger Who” at the 2000 Presidents Cup, traded his clubs in after an injury and happened to land a job with Vijay Singh in 2000. In an interview with SI’s Farrell Evans, Tesori, who has been Sean O’Hair’s looper for three years, dishes on the ins and outs of his job and working for his current and previous bosses.

I found the entire Q&A to be fascinating, but I was particularly struck by what a slave-driver Vijay was — not that it’s a huge surprise.

How demanding was Vijay as a boss?
In ‘01 and ‘02, I only got a total of 24 days off out of 730 days. I could complain about that, but Vijay took only three days off during that stretch. I got divorced over it. It was just too much. It’s not Vijay’s fault. It’s mine for not calling a time-out. But 11 days off in one year is not a life. When Vijay and I were able to sit down and talk about things, we said to each other, “Why didn’t we just talk this through?” Our personalities clashed. I’m very stubborn and I like to kind of give it back and he does the same thing. But we’re still good friends. We just couldn’t make it work as a team.

You’ve had two divorces from Vijay. Are you done working with him?
Yes. The second time I went back was a bad decision. I had a good job with Jerry Kelly, and when I left him to go back to Vijay it was purely a financial decision. Jerry and I were having success together and he treated me very well. I wish that I could take that one back.

What’s it like with Sean?
I get 24 weeks off a year now. I work 28 weeks and when I’m home now, I’m home. With Vijay on off-weeks we were always on the range. Now I have a fiancée and a daughter that I get to spend a lot of time with.

I mean, Veege sounds like he’s even more fun to work for than the awful wench I sweat blood for as a first-year private equity analyst. Actually, he reminds me of an extremely clingy boyfriend (or girlfriend). The whole thing — from Vijay to O’Hair — reminds me of a romantic comedy.

Oh, this was interesting, too:

Are you still living down the mini-mess you started by wearing the “Tiger Who?” cap at the 2000 Presidents Cup?
When I still worked for Vijay, it always came up. I’ll always hear about it, I’m sure. Vijay and Tiger always had a little tense relationship. Anytime you’re No. 1 and No. 2 in the world, I don’t think you’re going to be holding hands going down the fairway. After that event Vijay and I were paired with them like the next five tournaments and there wasn’t a word said between the caddies or the players. Eventually I went up to Tiger and told him that I meant it as joke and he said he appreciated me saying something, but that it did make him want to beat us more.

[Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images]