Singh Elected to Hall of Fame on Technicality

By Associated PressApril 20, 2005, 4:00 pm
World Golf Hall of FameHUMBLE, Texas -- Vijay Singh's arduous journey from Fiji reached another unimaginable destination Wednesday when he was elected to the World Golf Hall of Fame with the lowest percentage of votes and help from a clause in criteria.
Singh was the only player elected from the PGA Tour ballot, receiving 56 percent of the vote.
'Coming from where I am, trying to make a living and never thinking about player of the year or the Hall of Fame, this was never in my wildest dreams,' Singh said from the Houston Open, where he is the defending champion. 'This is what hard work does. It pays off.'
Few have worked harder than Singh, 42, a self-taught player from tiny Fiji who toiled on tours around the world until his career took off in America. He has 25 victories on the PGA Tour, won three major championships and late last year reached No. 1 in the world ranking.
But his election to the Hall of Fame was a close call.
Players from the PGA Tour and International ballot require 65 percent of the vote for election. Hall of Fame officials two years ago added a stipulation that if no one gets 65 percent, the players with the most votes will be elected provided he is on at least 50 percent of the ballots.
It was the second time the Hall of Fame changed its criteria, lowering the standard from 75 percent to 65 percent in 2001 after no one from the PGA Tour was elected.
Larry Nelson, who won 10 times and three major championships, finished second in the voting with 55 percent.
Curtis Strange, the dominant American of his generation with 17 victories and the back-to-back U.S. Open titles, received 50 percent of the vote. Two-time major winners Henry Picard (49 percent) and Craig Woods (41 percent) rounded out the top five.
The World Golf Hall of Fame refused to say how many ballots were returned or how many votes Singh, Nelson and other candidates received; it only released percentages.
The induction ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 14 at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Fla., although it was not immediately clearly when Singh would be inducted.
Officials noted at the end of the announcement that players have a right to defer their induction if the ceremony conflicts with their playing schedule, noting that Seve Ballesteros and Bernhard Langer each waited one year.
Karrie Webb from the LPGA Tour needs only to play 15 tournaments this year to be eligible for induction. Other inductees could come through the Veteran's Category or through Lifetime Achievement.
Singh was elected after turning in one of the best years in golf.
He became only the sixth player to win at least nine times on the PGA Tour, and shattered the single-season earnings record with nearly $11 million. Along the way, he picked up his third major by winning the PGA Championship in a playoff, and ended Tiger Woods' five-year reign at No. 1 in the world.
Woods recently returned to No. 1 by winning the Masters.
None of this seemed probable when Singh was sprinting across an airport runway in Fiji to get to the golf course, where he was one of the few kids in his country who owned a full set of clubs.
He spent 30 years refining his swing, often studying pictures of Tom Weiskopf in magazines, and continues to work endlessly on the practice range.
'There were only 500 guys that played golf in Fiji,' Singh said. 'To be where I am is really incredible. It's hard to even think about it. When you look at where I grew up, how I practiced, where I went from there ... you can't explain it in a few words.'
Singh was suspended from the Asian Tour in 1985 over allegations he doctored his scorecard, then worked as a club pro in Borneo trying to save his money to resurrect his career. He won the 1988 Nigerian Open, qualified for the European tour and finally made it to the PGA Tour in 1993, winning the rookie of the year.
He has gotten better with age.
Singh has won 13 times since turning 40 - second only to Sam Snead's 17 wins after 40 - and his 25 career victories tied him with Tommy Armour of Scotland as the most by an international player.
'This is amazing,' Singh said. 'It's an honor to be part of an incredible group that is in the Hall of Fame. There's no words to describe it. I'd like to thank everyone who helped me along the way. It's been a long, long journey; a hard journey. I never thought I'd get to where I am now.'
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

    Masters victory

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    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

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    Man of the people

    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

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    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

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    Departure from TaylorMade

    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

    Squashed beef with Paddy

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    Victory at Valderrama

    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.