Tiger-like Year for Vijay
He has struggled just to make the cut. Tee shots have ricocheted off corporate tents and small children. He has spent Sunday afternoons cleaning out his locker, not standing on the 18th green posing with the trophy.
The strangest sight of all is No. 2 next to his name in the world ranking.
Woods record streak as the best player in golf -- 264 consecutive weeks at No. 1 -- came to an end at the Deutsche Bank Championship when Vijay Singh turned in a performance that even a computer couldnt dispute.
It was just a matter of time before the 41-year-old Fijian got his due.
It was the manner in which Singh reached the pinnacle of his amazing career that made it even sweeter.
Tied with Woods down the stretch on the TPC at Boston, with the gallery expecting Woods to respond to the most imminent threat to his throne, Singh pulled away with three birdies on the final five holes to win by three shots and become only the 12th player to be No. 1 in the 18-year history of the world ranking.
Ive achieved what I wanted to do, Singh said. I won a major. I won quite a lot of tournaments, and at the same time became No. 1 in the world. The whole season has been a great one.
His season looks like the kind that once only belonged to Woods.
Singhs six PGA Tour victories are three times as many as anyone else. With two months left in the season, he already is a lock to win player of the year. He has a $2.2 million lead on the money list, and with at least five more tournaments to play, is a cinch to win his second straight money title.
If Singh were to follow the script, he would hit a 6-iron from 218 yards out of a fairway bunker and over the water to birdie the final hole at Glen Abbey this week and win the Canadian Open.
That was the signature shot of Woods record-breaking season in 2000. He won nine times, earned more than $9 million and set himself so far apart from everyone else that it seemed his next challenge would come from someone who had not even been born.
It seems only fitting that the Canadian Open celebrates its 100th anniversary by returning to the Abbey with the No. 1 player in the world as the star attraction.
And there are shades of 2000.
Singh has won nearly $7.9 million, already the second-highest total in PGA Tour history. He still has the American Express Championship ($7 million) and the Tour Championship ($6 million) on his schedule, which leaves him in excellent position to break Woods single-season earnings record of $9,188,321.
He needs three more victories to match Woods nine PGA Tour titles in 2000, which is not out of reach considering Singh has won three of his last four starts and is rarely far from the top of the leaderboard.
His confidence has never been lacking, especially now.
It doesnt matter who it is, Singh said. If Im playing my best, I can beat anybody. I have never been one who is intimidated by Tiger. Then again, if you are playing poorly, it is intimidating to play against him when he is playing well.
Woods hasnt played his best this year.
Four times he has gone into the second round with everyone wondering if he would make the cut. His drought in the majors is up to 10, but more troubling is that he has only given himself two good chances to win during that stretch.
But the change at the top of the ranking has more to do with Singh.
Woods was at his best in Boston'The best ball-striking week of the year, Woods said.
Singh was simply better.
That makes Singhs accomplishment even more rewarding. With another chance to become No. 1 in the world, Singh went head-to-head with the best player in command of his shots.
Earlier in the year, that wasnt the case.
Singh first closed in on Woods by winning Pebble Beach in February. Woods returned from a four-month break and outplayed him in the next three tournaments, including a victory at the Match Play Championship.
Singh won back-to-back weeks in New Orleans and Houston while Woods was away, again getting closer than ever to No. 1 in the world. Again, Woods answered the challenge by finishing no worse than third in his next three tournaments, each time leaving Singh behind.
But right when it looked like Ernie Els had emerged as the chief threat to No. 1, Singh beat Woods at the Buick Open, beat everyone in a playoff at the PGA Championship and then left no doubt by taking on Woods in the final group of the final round at the Deutsche Bank.
Singh will stay No. 1 for the rest of the month, maybe the rest of the year. And now he faces the burden that Woods knows all too well.
What does he do for an encore?
As for Woods, at least now everyone can believe him when he says hes close.
He is only .45 points behind Singh in the world ranking.
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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut
If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.
Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.
But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.
Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.
Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:
Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180
Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70
Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5
Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450
Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200
Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000
Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.
Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.
“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.
“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”
Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.
“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”
Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back
SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.
Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.
Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim.
Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.
Farmers inks 7-year extension through 2026
SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance has signed a seven-year extension to serve as the title sponsor for the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, it was announced Tuesday. The deal will run through 2026.
“Farmers Insurance has been incredibly supportive of the tournament and the Century Club’s charitable initiatives since first committing to become the title sponsor in 2010,” PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.
“We are extremely grateful for the strong support of Farmers and its active role as title sponsor, and we are excited by the commitment Farmers has made to continue sponsorship of the Farmers Insurance Open for an additional seven years.
In partnership with Farmers, the Century Club – the tournament’s host organization – has contributed more than $20 million to deserving organizations benefiting at-risk youth since 2010.