A Swan Song to Singh

By Golf Channel NewsroomNovember 1, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Tour Championship by Coca-ColaVijay Singh can only wonder what new hurdle will be put in his way this week.
 
Last week, a reporter mentioned that Sam Snead held the mark for most PGA Tour wins in his 40s, with 17.
 
Every week some sort of a stat comes up. This is a new one I've never heard before. Now since you've said it, I've got six more wins to go, he said.
 
Make that five.
 
Singh won last week's Chrysler Championship for his ninth win of the season, and his 12th overall since hitting the big 4-0.
 
When you win nine times and accrue over $10,000,000 in earnings in a single season, you have to find new ways to challenge yourself ' or have someone else present benchmarks of which you are unaware.
 
Theres not much left for Singh to accomplish this season. But he can still become the first player since Sam Snead (11) in 1950 to win at least 10 events in a year. He's already tied Tiger Woods (2000) and Paul Runyon (1933) with nine victories.
 
Like Tiger has done so many times before, Singh has sucked out a lot of the life at this years Tour Championship, the seasons final official event.
 
Hes already wrapped up his second straight money title and is a mortal lock for player of the year honors. Theres no chance for anyone to catch him for No. 1 in the world, but there is a very slight chance Ernie Els or Phil Mickelson could bypass him for the scoring title.
 
Other than that, victor Vijay has already claimed most of the spoils.
 
Last years Tour Championship had a bit of drama, as Singh and Woods were both battling to be deemed Player of the Year. Neither man won the event, with Singh tying for fifth and Woods finishing 26th. Woods, however, got the nod by their peers for his fifth straight P.O.Y. award.
 
He will not get six.
 
Woods, playing in his first event since becoming a married man ' and his first event since the American Express five weeks ago, has only won once this year ' the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. And he is still in search of his first stroke-play victory of the season.
 
He decided to skip the last two events, including the Funai Classic, which he had previously played in every year as a professional, to continue his honeymoon with bride Elin aboard their luxury yacht, Privacy.
 
He won this tournament in 1999, when it was played at the Champions Golf Club in Houston, Texas. The tournament was also contested there a year ago, when Chad Campbell walked away with the trophy.
 
But this years event has moved back to East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Ga.
 
The event has bounced back and forth between Champions and East Lake over the last seven years.
 
Its the fourth time East Lake has hosted the Tour Championship. Hal Sutton won in 1998, Mickelson in 2000, and Singh in 20002.
 
The tournament will stay at East Lake ' the event is sponsored by Coca-Cola, which is headquartered in Atlanta, however, as it was named the events permanent home in June.
 
The Tour Championship is on offer to the top 30 players on the tours money list. There will be 31 this year, though, as Padraig Harrington has accepted an invitation to play.
 
The Irishman has decided to take up full membership on tour in 2005, which means that since he has already earned enough money to qualify for this years Tour Championship, he is eligible to compete. Since he is a non-exempt member this year, and his earnings are unofficial, he will not knock out anyone else from the field.
 
Harrington is one of eight players making his Tour Championship debut this week (Stephen Ames, Todd Hamilton, Harrington, Mark Hensby, Zach
Johnson, Rod Pampling, Rory Sabbatini and Adam Scott). Campbell was not only a first-time participant a year ago when he won; he was also the first player to earn his first tour victory at this event.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Tour Championship
  • Getty Images

    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

    <
    Getty Images

    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

    Getty Images

    Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

    What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

    Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    “I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

    McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

    He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

    Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

    “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

    Getty Images

    Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

    Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

    Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials contacted Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

    Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

    Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

    Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial.