Singh Finds Number 1 a Nice Place To Be

By George WhiteJanuary 4, 2005, 5:00 pm
Vijay Singh begins the 2005 with a big red target square in the middle of his back. He hasnt been in this position before, of course.
Hes the No. 1 player in the world. He is, of course, the No. 1 player on the PGA Tour. He won nine times on tour last year. Number 1 is a new feeling to him.
I mean, I haven't started the season ever before being No. 1, he said, realizing that one Eldrick Woods has been the worlds top player since Singh could remember.
But, you know, I guess I played, probably, what - seven eight tournaments at the end of the season being No. 1? So you kind of get used to it. You don't really focus on that so much. Even though it's a great feeling to know that you're the best player in the field day-in, day-out, that's playing, it gives you a lot more confidence, a lot more boost to your, I guess - ego, I guess.
Vijay was trying to say its a much different feeling when youre THAT guy, instead of one of the pursuers. And he is still getting used to it.

It just lifts you up a little bit more and saying, Hey, I'm going to take charge, I'm the best player here. Kind of that attitude, you know, he explained.
It's not a cocky attitude, but it's a very - how can I say - it just makes you feel so much better. You've got to kind of start talking to yourself to the point that, hey, there's nobody here that's going to beat you - kind of that attitude.
But, you know starting next season, I know everybody is going to be starting level. World ranking does not matter at all. So you've just got to go out there and just play and get in front as quick as possible and see if you can stay there. That's the way I've always thought, and hopefully I'm going to start that way again.
Singh didnt really plan for this eventuality ' to be Number 1. He had hoped, of course. But he didnt know, honestly, if Woods would ever give it up. But give it up Tiger did. And now that Vijay is sitting on top, Singh isnt sure if he can keep it.
I don't really set goals, but it's going to be a hard one for next season, he conceded.
Vijay knows that there are only so many chances to win tournaments, and he normally will play about 28 times a year. He played in 29 last year, and that means there were 20 that he didnt win. But he won almost one-third of the events he entered, and that, partner, is extremely difficult to do.
Singh himself is a bit overwhelmed. Starting the New Year in Hawaii at the Mercedes Championships this week, he isnt putting himself in a straitjacket by insisting his goal is to win more than nine. Hes going to play his best and see what happens.
I just want to go out there and see if I can play like I did last year, not really focus on so much winning golf tournaments or the money list or my position in the World Ranking, he said. I just want to go out there and play aggressively and play strong.
I'm looking forward to it. I'm really excited that it's almost there now, and I just want to go out and want to play well and not force anything onto myself and see what happens. Obviously, the majors are one of my real focus points. I'll see if I can focus more on the majors and see if I can prepare a little more intensely for those ones.
The truth is, he may actually play better than last year and still not reach nine wins. If Mister Woods isnt just whistling Dixie, he is going to win a few more than one ' his last seasons output. Padraig Harrington is going to play a lot more on the PGA Tour and he will probably win once or twice. Ernie Els may win more than the three he collected last year. The bottom line is, the 29 tournaments that Singh played last year may be divided up much more than last season.
But not if Vijay can help it. Number 1 in the world is such a high honor. He would like to experience it a little bit longer, at least. Hes almost 42, so hes been working towards it for so long. Vijay Singh has found that being top doggie is pretty comfortable.
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

McIlroy 'happy to be back', can 'empathize' with Tiger

By Associated PressJanuary 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – After a long layoff from golf, Rory McIlroy has some newfound sympathy for Tiger Woods.

The 28-year-old Northern Irishman is making a comeback at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship after ending his season early last year. He has not played a round since the final day of the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship on Oct. 8.

McIlroy, a four-time major champion who has slipped to No. 11 in the world rankings, last won the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour in September 2016. He injured a rib in his first outing of 2017 – at the South African Open – and felt its after-effects throughout the year.

McIlroy, who has seven top-five finishes in his last eight starts in Abu Dhabi, said Tuesday he felt mentally low because of his physical issues.

''Honestly, I was excited to be done. I could have shut it down after the PGA Championship very easily and taken the rest of the year off, but I didn't. I played six events after that, played OK and had a chance to win one of them,'' McIlroy said. ''But I was just excited to take that time off and get myself just sort of a re-set.''

Last week, McIlroy also revealed that he has a minor, non-threatening heart condition that needs regular check-ups.

''After that 3-plus months of a re-set, I'm very happy to be back. I felt like I needed it physically and mentally. I just felt like it was a little bit of a sabbatical. I've been out here for 10 years, and I want to get ready for the next 10.''

McIlroy compared his situation to what Woods has been going through.

''I've only been through, maybe, not even 5 percent of what he's had to go through. And you can tell from where he was to where he is now mentally, because of physically where he is ... he's a totally different person,'' McIlroy said. ''Of course, I empathize with him, and I know he was in a dark place there for a while. It's just so great to see him out of that and back and excited to be playing golf again.''

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship will be the first of back-to-back events for McIlroy, who is also playing next week in Dubai.

''I think the next two weeks will be a big learning curve, just to see where I'm at,'' McIlroy said. ''I'm obviously coming into the events trying to play as well as I can and trying to compete and trying to win, but I think there will definitely be things I'll have to work on going into that stretch in the States.''

The tournament, which starts Thursday, has attracted some big names, including top-ranked Dustin Johnson, No. 6 Justin Rose, No. 9 Henrik Stenson, No. 14 Paul Casey and No. 15 Matt Kuchar. No. 18 Tommy Fleetwood is the defending champion.

Getty Images

Pre-tourney caution be damned: Stenson rides camel

By Grill Room TeamJanuary 16, 2018, 3:29 pm

If you were under the impression Henrik Stenson's days engaging pre-tournament hijinks at HSBC-sponsored events were over, then you don't know the Swedish Superman.

Ahead of this week's HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, the 2016 champion golfer of the year decided to have some fun riding (and pretend-spanking) a camel:

If you can't imagine any reason Stenson wouldn't get on a camel, we will point you to the WGCC-HSBC Champions back in October, when Stenson, Dustin Johnson, Haotong Li and Hideki Matsuyama took place in this hire-wire act:

Two weeks later, Stenson revealed a rib injury, and a report from the U.K.'s Telegraph stated "that not only was the Shanghai caper to blame, but that Stenson is annoyed about being persuaded to do it in the first place."

Stenson brushed back at that report in this Instagram post, saying that his "comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal."

I’m disappointed to have to pre-emptively withdraw from the Nedbank Golf Challenge Hosted by Gary Player, I was looking forward to this important year-end event on the European Tour. At this point I am back home in Orlando waiting to do a scan on my ribs and get the necessary rest. I am still hoping for a quick recovery and have not ruled out playing in Dubai next week at this point. My comment about not being Superman was a sarcastic way of saying that I am susceptible to injury like any other athlete and sometimes these things happen when you least expect them. I was pleased to help promote the HSBC Champions and to continue my string of success at the event and I was never forced to do anything. HSBC is a great sponsor to golf worldwide and I am not happy to see them being made responsible for my withdrawal. The plan as of now will be to participate in the DP World Championship if my body is back to 100%. H

A post shared by Henrik Stenson (@henrikstenson) on

And it would appear he genuinely meant those comments, at least enough to get on a camel.

Getty Images

Spieth, McIlroy to support Major Champions Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:25 pm

Nick Faldo announced Tuesday the creation of the Major Champions Invitational.

The event, scheduled for March 12-14, is an extension of the Faldo Series and will feature both male and female junior players at Bella Collina in Montverde, Fla.

Jordan Spieth, Rory Mcllroy, Annika Sorenstam, Adam Scott, Henrik Stenson, Jerry Pate and John Daly have already committed to supporting the event, which is aimed at mentoring and inspiring the next generation of players.  

“I’m incredibly excited about hosting the Major Champions Invitational, and about the players who have committed to support the event,” Faldo said. “This event will allow major champions to give something back to the game that has given them so much, and hopefully, in time, it will become one of the most elite junior golf events in the world.”

Getty Images

Rosaforte: Woods plays with Obama, gets rave reviews

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:15 pm

Golf Channel insider Tim Rosaforte reports on Tiger Woods’ recent round at The Floridian in Palm City, Fla., alongside President Barack Obama.

Check out the video, as Rosaforte says Woods received rave reviews from instructor Claude Harmon.