The official PGA Tour season, the one that counts on the money list, ended Sunday in Atlanta at East Lake Golf Club. And Vijay Singh, the No. 1 player in the world, finished ninth there at the Tour Championship.
That meant Singh would conclude the season with only $10,905,166 in official earnings. Yes, nobody made more money in 2004. Yes, it was an all-time single season record on anybodys Tour.
But maybe Singh should be ashamed of himself. He hit only a billion practice balls in 2004. If he had hit a trillion, he might have made 11 million dollars.
Maybe he will do better next year.
Maybe Tiger Woods, if he had looked a little harder, could have found a better looking wife.
Maybe Retief Goosen, if he hadnt gone jet skiing and hurt himself in the process, wouldnt have missed the PGA Championship. Maybe his current world ranking of No. 4 would be higher.
Maybe the so-called Silly Season has arrived just in time. Maybe its time we all take a few chill pills. Singh and Woods and Goosen have all done quite nicely on and off the golf course this year.
Singh got to be No. 1 in the world. Woods got married, happily so. Goosen got himself his second U.S. Open and a victory at East Lake when his Sunday 64 was eight shots better than Woods Sunday 72.
Maybe its time to savor a few things from 2004.
Fred Funk got himself a berth on the Ryder Cup team at the age of 48. Jay Haas did the same at the age of 50. Tom Lehman got himself appointed the next U.S. Ryder Cup captain at the age of 45.
Funk, by the way, won his seventh PGA Tour driving accuracy title Sunday when he hit 48 fairways last week to 47 for Scott Verplank. Funk arrived at East Lake with 76.9 percent accuracy percentage off the tee, Verplank showed up with a gaudy 76.8. Funk has finished in the top five in this category in 13 of his 16 years on Tour.
Maybe Tiger Woods, still struggling to find fairways, should be listening to Fred Funk.
Instead, the man who has Woods ear right now is Hank Haney, the longtime coach of Woods close friend Mark OMeara. Woods made it official on his own website recently that Haney had replaced Butch Harmon as his swing coach. This had been one of the worst-kept secrets in golf.
Tiger says Haney is helping. Ill take Tiger at his word on that. He would know.
A pair of teachers/advisors--Rick Smith and Dave Pelz--helped Phil Mickelson break through in 2004. Mickelson won his first major at the Masters in April and was a force in the other three, finishing no worse than sixth in the U.S. Open, the Open Championship and the PGA Championship.
All of which brings us back to Singh. The 41-year-old Fijian is largely his own coach. When it comes to golf, Singh is mostly home-schooled. This makes him a rarity at golfs top level. As they say on the television, dont try this at home.
Singh, an inward person, has turned even farther in that direction to find the answers that have helped him play with more sustained brilliance than anybody else right now.
Maybe we should take a step back and gasp. Maybe we need to work a little harder to appreciate what he has achieved at age 41.
Maybe its time to realize that 2005 in golf already is promising so much.
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