By most accounts, Woods should be the clear favorite to again win the AmEx.
But there are two variables that factor into the possibility of a losing equation for Tiger Woods. One, is Vijay Singh. Two, is Tiger himself.
Woods won this tournament for the third time in five contests when he defeated Singh, Tim Herron and Stuart Appleby by two strokes at the Capital City Club.
It marked Tigers fifth win of the 2003 season, and proved to be the necessary boost Woods needed to surpass Singh ' in their peers minds ' for Player of the Year honors.
This year, there is no debating as to who is the best player on tour ' let alone the better player ' right now ' between the two.
Singh is having what many are referring to as a 'Tiger-like' season; though, he's already eclipsed Woods' best season in one regard.
He has won eight times this season, including a remarkable five of his last six tournaments. Tiger won nine times in 2000.
Tiger collected $9,188,321 in 2000; Singh has already pocketed $9,455,566 -- and plans to play at least three more tournaments this season.
Tiger, however, is not having a Tiger-like season. Hes won but once this year, at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, and is still seeking his first stroke-play victory in 2004.
And we wont even get into that whole Ryder Cup debacle.
One week its poor driving, another its erratic iron play, another its sporadic putting. Or maybe he just gets flat out beaten by another. There seems to always be something keeping Woods out of the winners circle.
But somehow, someway, he continues to come close.
Woods has 12 top-10s in 17 starts this season. Three of his last four finishes have been top-3s. Fourteen of his last 16 rounds have been in the 60s.
Its certainly not Tigers most glorious season, but its certainly one that will define his grit.
For Singh, this season is both glorious and defining.
He finally toppled Woods atop the Official World Golf Ranking. He has already broken Tigers single-season money record. He's established a career-best for tournaments won in one year. And ' most importantly ' he is again a major champion.
It might come as a bit of a surprise, but Singh has never won a WGC event. But if he is to win one, it will most likely be the AmEx, where he has three consecutive top-3 finishes.
This is the fifth playing of the AmEx. The first two editions were contested at Valderrama in Spain. It was supposed to be held at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo., in 2001, but was canceled in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. The following year it was held on the Emerald Isle, and last year was moved to Woodstock, Ga.
Now its back at Mount Juliet Estate, a Jack Nicklaus design. Its the only WGC event to be played on European soil.
The field includes the top 50 players from the world rankings, as well as leading money winners from various tours (top 30 from the PGA Tour money list and top 20 from the European Volvo Order of Merit). There is not cut.