Singh Ends Tigers Reign


PGA TourPONTE VERDA BEACH, Fla. -- First, Vijay Singh took the money title. Then he took the No. 1 spot in the World Rankings. On Monday, he captured another one of Woods' honors.
Singh was voted the PGA Tour Player of the Year by his peers on Monday. That snapped Woods' five-year stranglehold on the award. Woods, Masters champion Phil Mickelson and Ernie Els also appeared on the ballot.
Singh lost a tight battle to Woods last year for the Jack Nicklaus Trophy, an award voted on by the players. Singh won the money title in 2003, but only visited the winner's circle four times. Woods won five times, but became the first player to capture the award without winning a major since Fred Couples in 1991.
The 2004 season was a different story for Singh. He won at Pebble Beach to start the year, then took back-to-back starts at the Houston Open and HP Classic of New Orleans. In between wins at Pebble Beach and Houston, Singh tied for sixth at the Masters, an event he won in 2000.
Singh was not much of a factor at either the U.S. Open or British Open, but came back to the tour and outlasted John Daly and Tiger Woods down the stretch to win the Buick Open.
His next victory was his biggest. Singh did not card a single birdie in the final round of the PGA Championship, but reached a playoff with Chris DiMarco and Justin Leonard. Singh collected his first birdie on Sunday on the first playoff hole and went on to hoist the Wanamaker Trophy for the second time.
Singh closed the gap on Woods' reign atop the world ranking thanks to his third major victory, but it was a showdown on Labor Day that propelled Singh to first.
Singh, at one point tied with Woods late on the back nine, won the Deutsche Bank Championship and ended Woods' streak of 264 consecutive weeks atop the World Rankings.
The No. 1 player in the game did not rest after ascending to the top. He came out the next week and beat crowd favorite Mike Weir in a playoff at the Canadian Open.
Two weeks later, Singh won the 84 Lumber Classic. He tied for second at Disney World, then recorded his final win of the season at the Chrysler Championship. Singh took ninth at the Tour Championship.
All totaled, Singh won nine times, finished as runner-up twice and notched 18 top-10s. He won his second consecutive money title with a single-season tour record of $10,905,166.
Singh also won the Vardon Trophy for low scoring average (68.84) and led the tour in total birdies and total eagles. He finished second in 2004 in greens in regulation.
Singh was not the only player to win hardware on Monday. Todd Hamilton, who defeated Els in a playoff to capture the British Open, was named Rookie of the Year. Former British Open champion and PGA Championship winner John Daly was selected as the Comeback Player of the Year.
Hamilton, who also won the Honda Classic, finished higher than Zach Johnson, Ryan Palmer and Vaughn Taylor, all winners in their first years on the PGA Tour.
Daly picked up his fifth PGA Tour title, and first since winning the 1995 British Open, when he defeated Chris Riley and Luke Donald in a playoff to win the Buick Invitational. He had gone 189 starts in between the two triumphs. Daly was chosen over Joey Sindelar, who won for the first time since 1990, and Bart Bryant, who picked up his first career win this season.