Is Vijays Song Out of Tune

By Brian HewittMay 14, 2003, 4:00 pm
Controversy and golf have never been especially comfortable with each other. The latest contretemps involves Vijays Singh's opinion, as reported by the Associated Press, that Annika Sorenstam, a woman, has no place in the all-male field at the Bank of America Colonial next week in Texas.
 
A firestorm has ensued. There is something burning and it's not just Singh's credibility. An unpleasant odor has filled the air.
 
This, too, shall pass. But not before we examine the apparent hypocrisy of Singh's reported position. We should defend to the death Singh's right to have an opinion on Sorenstam's place in Fort Worth. It is also his right to threaten to withdraw if he gets paired with her.
 
It is even his right to claim that Associated Press reporter Doug Ferguson misquoted him on all of this. In fact, that's what Singh did Tuesday in an exclusive interview with The Golf Channel's Steve Sands. It should also be noted here that Ferguson's reputation as a reporter of high integrity has never before been publicly questioned.
 
It is everybody else's right to have an opinion about Singh's opinion. And a lot of people think his opinion stinks. Which is why this whole thing is so smelly at the moment.
 
A quick check of history reminds us that many years ago Vijay Singh received golf's ultimate reprieve. There was more than a whiff of a cheating scandal involving his alleged creative use of a pencil on a scorecard. He served his time in golf purgatory. He got a second chance. And he parlayed that opportunity into greatness. He has won two major championships and is the seventh-ranked player in the world. A bad beginning had a happy ending.
 
'Vijay Singh is a fine man,' Bank of America Colonial tournament chairman Dee Finley chose to say Tuesday night before declining to comment on Singh's reported Sunday criticism of Sorenstam's presence in Finley's field.
 
What's so hard to understand is why Singh won't concede Sorenstam's right to have a FIRST chance. Singh, more than anybody, should respect opportunities when they are presented. Instead, Ferguson reported that Singh said this Sunday after finishing his final round at the Wachovia Championship in North Carolina:
 
'I hope she misses the cut (at the Bank of America Colonial). Why? Because she doesn't belong out here.' Singh repeated these sentiments to Sands Tuesday, saying that Sorenstam was wrongly taking the rightful place of a male competitor in the Bank of America Colonial field.
 
Most people in golf, including David Duval and tour policy board member Olin Browne, believe Sorenstam very much belongs in the field next week. They believe she belongs because she is the best woman golfer on the planet; because she was invited; because she hasn't broken any rules and because she has worked extremely hard to separate herself from the rest of the women in golf.
 
The latter especially is something the grinder in Singh should understand better than most. Anyway, Singh should be forewarned that the Golf Gods don't take kindly to expressions of antipathy. Saying you hope a player misses the cut is inviting bad golfing karma, not to mention that it is just plain poor sportsmanship. And threatening to withdraw if you are paired with her, well
 
Singh is going to take a beating over all of this in the media. This will not surprise him. For a variety of reasons, he is not a popular figure among many print reporters. And the knives are always sharpened when it comes to criticizing him. Some of those reasons for this are fair. Some of them are not.
 
At the very least you must give Singh a certain amount of credit for having the nerve to say what at a few of his brethren aren't brave and/or dumb enough to say: golf and genders shouldn't mix at the highest level.
 
In his recently released book on caddying, Sports Illustrated columnist Rick Reilly writes about what it was like for LPGA player Jill McGill to play on the boys' golf team in high school.
 
'The guys on my team liked me,' McGill told Reilly. 'But the guys on the opposing team hated it. It was always, 'Who has to play the girl?' And I'd usually beat them and the guy would have to hear it from his buddies the rest of the week.' '
 
We have heard from Vijay Singh this week. And the odor is still in the air.
 
Related Links:
  • ''Everything Annika'' Feature Page
  • Full Coverage of the Bank of America Colonial
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.