Vijay Singh ascended to the throne ' officially ' by easing past Woods Monday in the Duetsche Bank Championship. Since sometime around the end of the West Coast swing, it was glaringly apparent that there was something wrong with Woods swing. That was way back in February, and by the time the Masters rolled around in early April, two, possibly three, golfers had steamed past Tiger in peoples opinions.
Vijay, Phil Mickelson and maybe Ernie Els have all played better, even considering Tigers victory in the Accenture World Match Play in February. The Match Play was pure intestinal fortitude prevailing over a faltering golf game, Woods just refusing to lose in all six matches.
But this was Singhs sixth win. Hes won a major ' the PGA Championship. He won five times last year, too. Eleven wins in two years should be enough to get you the No. 1 ranking ' unless you are Tiger Woods and you have a couple of years like 1999-2000.
By the time Singh won his third tournament of the year, Houston in May, he was convinced. He was No. 1 in his own mind.
Yeah, I feel I'm the best player in the world, I feel that all the time, I've got to feel that, he said.
But you cannot really go out and emphasize that because it's not true; the ranking shows. But I've been playing good enough golf to be No. 1 player in the world.
Woods played his best tournament of the year, finally managing to hit fairways with some consistency. His short game was, as usual, brilliant. That aspect of his play is unquestionably the best in the world ' if it werent, he never would have showed his head above water this year. But if he can continue to drive the ball as well as he did last week, it looks like the No. 1 position is going to be a dogfight between him, Singh, Mickelson and Els.
Yeah, there's two ways to look at it, said Tiger. This is the best ball-striking week I've had all year, and unfortunately I didn't win because I didn't play the par 5s well at all today.
Singh realizes, though, that its a very tenuous hold he has on the top spot. He knows that there are three guys that can logically lay claim to the best in the world on any given week ' and there are four if Tiger is really back.
Golf is such an incredible game that any one time, anybody can be No. 1 player in the word, said Singh.
You've got Ernie. You've got Phil right now; he could say he's the best player in the world; and Ernie, it's the same thing. It's hard to really go out there and say, hey - you have got to follow some criteria, and the ranking is the only way that we can do that.
He's played incredible golf for last five years, six years, said Vijay. Who knows, he could go out there next time and regain that. And taking nothing away from anybody, but Tiger has proven that he has been No. 1 player in the world for a long, long time, and even today.
Youve heard the phrase used so much its been a clich for a long time now, but its still true ' the current system to designate a world No. 1 may be bad, but no one has come up with a better one. Now that Woods has abdicated the throne, there isnt a clear No. 1. The best in the world changes every day. Sometimes its shared by two or three players. Sometimes its shared by two or three tours.
We're not out trying to be No. 1 player in the world; we are out there every week to try to win golf tournaments, and that is our real goal, said Singh. I'm going to tee it up next week and I'm going to have the same thing I did this week - trying to win the golf tournament.
You know, in the meantime, there's the World Ranking and like Tiger said it very well, you play good enough and win golf tournaments, everything is going to take care of itself.
Woods agreed. Hes been No. 1 for five years, it was an unbelievable run, but now there may not be a clearcut No. 1 who will continue undisputed week after week after week. And that isnt a major setback to his psyche.
No, I'm not disappointed about the ranking, he said. I'm disappointed in not winning. As I said, the ranking takes care of - winning takes care of the ranking.
And golf may be the better for it, he concedes.
Yeah, we are both 1 and 2 in the world and it's both to go out there and play at a level - we both played well, said Tiger.
You know, Vijay and I have gone head-to-head many times, and hopefully we can do it again.
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