Vijay Continues Dominance
Turns out that was only the start.
In his most dominant performance of an incredible year, Singh birdied the first two holes and never let anyone get within two shots of him the rest of the day. He closed with a 6-under 65 to set the tournament record at the Chrysler Championship and win by five shots, the largest margin of his nine PGA Tour victories this year.
That's right -- nine victories.
'The wins keeps coming, and I'm enjoying every bit of it,' Singh said.
He became only the sixth player with that many victories, joining a list of legends and one contemporary -- Paul Runyan, Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead and Woods.
And he claimed one spot all for himself -- the first $10 million man in golf.
'I'm not one for stats. I'm not one to keep records,' Singh said. 'I just know it's been an incredible year for me. I haven't really sat down and thought about it, what I've done. I'll only enjoy it when the season is over.'
Singh was introduced as a $10 million man, sweet words for a guy who once made $10 a lesson as the resident club pro in the rain forests of Borneo.
'That's a new one,' Singh said. 'It's a good one, though.'
It was another great performance, his sixth victory in his last eight starts on the PGA Tour.
With a one-shot lead over Tommy Armour III, Singh got up-and-down for a birdie on the par-5 opening hole, then rolled in an 8-footer for birdie on No. 2. With his lead down to two as he was approaching the turn, Singh fired a sand wedge into 10 feet for a birdie on the ninth hole, then stuffed another one to 3 feet on the 10th.
He finished in style with a birdie from the fairway bunker on No. 18, putting him at 18-under 266. That broke by one the tournament record set by K.J. Choi in 2002.
Singh earned $900,000, finishing five shots ahead of Armour (69) and Jesper Parnevik (68). Joe Durant had the best round Sunday with a 63 to finish fourth, one shot ahead of Kirk Triplett (70).
Armour was asked what was so impressive about the Fijian.
'He's inside of you on every hole,' he said. 'You're going to have to take it from him. He's not going to give it to you. That's what happened.'
Armour unknowingly was in the giving mood.
His three-putt from 30 feet -- the par putt was only 3 feet -- dropped him into a two-way tie for second. That was the difference of $100,000, enough to allow Parnevik to finish No. 40 on the money list and qualify for the Masters.
The Chrysler Championship was the final full-field tournament of the year, the last chance for players to finish in the top 30 on the money list to qualify for the Tour Championship; the top 40 to get into the Masters; the top 125 to secure tour cards for next year; and the top 150 to get a pass to final stage of Q-school.
The other winners:
--Kenny Perry shot 67 to move up two spots to No. 29 and go to East Lake next week.
--Parnevik nudged out Joey Sindelar, who missed the cut, by $13,254.
--Tag Ridings made seven birdies on the last 10 holes for a 64 to finish No. 125.
--Jeff Brehaut made a birdie putt on the last hole that moved him up two spots to No. 149.
Reflection for Singh will have to wait. He has another event next week -- the season-ending Tour Championship at East Lake -- and another chance to win.
'I'm not going to show up there and feel relaxed,' Singh said. 'I'm going to be just as intense as I've ever been. I'm looking to go there and play well in the golf tournament. If it happens, that's another story.'
No, it will be the same story.
Singh has $10,725,166, more than $5 million ahead of Phil Mickelson. The Tour Championship gives him a chance to make it a 10-10 season with his 10th victory.
Only Byron Nelson (18 wins in 1945), Ben Hogan (13 in 1946, 10 in 1948) and Sam Snead (11 in 1951) have won that often on the PGA Tour.
And keep this in mind: Singh won at East Lake in 2002, the start of his great run. He played in the final pairing with Woods in 2000, and he lost in a playoff to Hal Sutton in 1998.
Woods will be playing for the first time since he got married, but he has become a distant memory in dominance. The last two years have been about Singh, who at 41 shows no signs of slowing.
If there was a turning point in his amazing run, it might have been last year when he won the money title but narrowly lost out on PGA Tour player of the year.
'I thought I had a chance of winning it last year, so to come back this year ... that's incredible,' Singh said. 'The money list two years in a row is a big achievement, as well.'
The list of achievements is getting long. Singh has one week remaining in his PGA Tour season. Then, he might finally have time to appreciate everything he has done.
Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.