Singh Weathers Storm to Win Third Major

By Mercer BaggsAugust 15, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipYears from now well remember ' or should remember ' the man who won the 86th PGA Championship more so than the manner in which he accomplished his feat. It doesnt really matter how he did it, but Vijay Singh once again claimed a major victory.
And this was a Major victory.
Over the past two seasons, Singh seemed to lack major roots. The kind required to anchor deep into the soil, making him impervious to the advances of others in a major championship.
He had proven that he could withstand even stern winds directed at him in regular tournaments. But when it came to a major, when the winds increased in intensity and really gave a push, Singh seemed vulnerable. He fell and crashed like many of the thick, aged trees with their faux might and sparse roots.
It was confounding, really. To Singh, to me, to anyone who paid moderate attention to golf.
Prior to this week, Singh had won eight times over the last two seasons on the PGA Tour. He had come within a long putter of being the No. 1 ranked player in the world. He was easily playing the greatest golf in his now 41 years ' arguably the best golf of anyone anywhere.
And incomprehensibly, he hadnt won a major since the 2000 Masters.
While Tiger Woods gets slammed and picked apart with tweezers and a magnifying glass for going 0 for his last 10 in majors played, Singh had gone 0-for-18.
He had several chances over the last two years to win his third career major championship ' during a period of time in which he has won more PGA Tour events than anyone else, and, for whatever reason, simply hadnt finished the job.
*2003 Masters: Singh started the final round three strokes off the lead, shot 73 on Sunday and tied for sixth.
*2003 U.S. Open: Singh shared the 36-hole lead with Jim Furyk at Olympia Fields. Furyk shot 67-72 over the weekend to win; Singh shot 72-78 to tie for 20th.
*2003 British Open: Singh was one back heading into the final round at Royal St. Georges. But after a blazing start, in which he birdied four of his first seven holes, Singh made four bogeys coming home to finish one behind champion Ben Curtis.
*2003 PGA Championship: Needing a spectacular final round to overcome a six-stroke deficit Sunday at Oak Hill, Singh carded a 79 and tied for 34th.
*2004 Masters: The only major championship over the past two seasons in which he didnt have a realistic opportunity to win over the weekend. Singh opened in 75-73 to barely make the cut, and then posted back-to-back 69s over the weekend to again tie for sixth.
*2004 U.S. Open: Singh was four back through 36 holes at Shinnecock Hills, but wilted over the weekend in the punitive conditions with rounds of 77-78 to tie for 28th.
*2004 British Open: This time, Singh was three back with two rounds to play, only to finish 76-71 at Royal Troon and tie for 20th.
It appeared this Sunday that Singh would add to this ignominious list.
For once he held the outright 54-hole lead. It was his tournament to win ' or lose. And he did just about everything he could to accomplish the latter.
The winds were finally blowing at Whistling Straits, and Singh was swaying, ready to take another tumble.
But when Justin Leonard missed his par putt that would have clinched the championship, Singh was given a new life. He made the most of this wonderful revival, finally making a birdie on the first hole of the three-hole cumulative playoff with Leonard and Chris DiMarco. It was his first birdie of the day, and all he would need.
Singh, the man of steely determination and dedication, had somehow, someway finally finished the job. Yes, it can certainly be said that this is the tournament that Leonard lost, but, nonetheless, Singh weathered the storm, and, when it mattered most, stood firm.
After everything he had accomplished over the past two seasons ' and everything he had failed to achieve, Singh was once again what he desired and worked so very diligently to be ' a major champion.
It wasn't pretty; it didn't need to be. But it's easily the most beautiful of wins in the eyes of the beholder of the Wanamaker Trophy.
'I think this is the biggest accomplishment I've ever had in my whole career,' Singh said.
'I don't have that many years to contend, I don't think so, anyway, probably another five, six years. I'd like to win a few more before I finish. This is a great start and I think there's many more out there, I hope.'
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.

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    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.


    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.