A Swan Song to Singh


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.
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