Hall of Fame for Singh

By Associated PressAugust 17, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. -- An official from the World Golf Hall of Fame joined a casual conversation last year about players on the verge of election, and someone mentioned Vijay Singh.
 
'He wouldn't get my vote,' the official said. 'He's an underachiever.'
 
Singh was 40 at the time, seemingly headed toward the twilight of his career, with 14 victories on the PGA Tour and two majors. The official, one of the 100 members in the Hall of Fame, thought he should have accomplished more given his Hoganesque swing and work ethic.
 
No one can dispute his record now - or whether he is worthy of the Hall.
 
Singh's victory Sunday in the PGA Championship, while it won't win him style points, was his third major and 20th career victory on the PGA Tour, giving him a lifetime exemption. His credentials are superior to Ben Crenshaw (19 wins, two majors) and equivalent to Nick Price (18 wins, three majors, No. 1 in the world for almost a year).
 
Not many could have seen this late surge coming, least of all Singh.
 
'When I first came out here, I just wanted to make a good living,' Singh said. 'And then I started playing really well. My motivation got stronger and stronger. I wanted to win golf tournaments, and then I wanted to win majors. Now I just want to go out there and win.
 
'The harder I work, I feel I can win more and more.'
 
The next stop is No. 1 in the world, a goal that Singh figured would take five years of great play to accomplish.
 
Singh moved to No. 2 on Monday in the latest world ranking, a meager one-tenth of a point behind Tiger Woods, and the Fijian takes a load of momentum into the NEC Invitational. Singh could go to No. 1 simply by finishing ahead of Woods at Firestone - and provided Ernie Els doesn't win or finish well ahead of both.
 
While Singh no longer spends 25 hours a day on the range, his work ethic remains legendary and leaves his peers in awe. During a practice round last week at Whistling Straits, Woods came across a shallow bunker that was only about 6 feet long and 3 feet wide.
 
'Looks like Vijay has been here,' Woods said. It wasn't a dig at the Fijian, rather recognition of his practice sessions that leave long trenches from the divots he creates.
 
His endless work on the range has paid off in a swing that he trusts enough to hit driver on holes where almost everyone else takes the safe route.
 
While the key shots Sunday at Whistling Straits all belonged to Justin Leonard - he missed six putts inside 12 feet on the back nine, any of which would have made him the PGA champion - the boldest move of the final round came at the start of the three-hole playoff.
 
The 361-yard 10th hole features an elevated fairway with a bunker in the middle, and the left side drops severely into thick grass. The safe play is a fairway metal, leaving a wedge to the green.
 
Singh pulled out his driver.
 
He was lucky to be in the playoff in the first place. Singh was on the verge of going three shots down with three holes to play when Leonard missed a 10-foot birdie putt on the 15th. He figured he would be two shots down with two holes to play until the Texan lipped out a par putt from 5 feet on No. 16.
 
And Singh was helpless again on the 18th as Leonard stood over a 12-foot par putt for the win, only to miss again. That led to a three-way playoff that included Chris DiMarco, and Singh ended the suspense early.
 
'A playoff ... you have nothing to lose,' he said. 'You've got to be aggressive when you play it. You know that you can't finish worse than second. Go all out and play for it. That's pretty much why I took a driver on 10.'
 
He nailed it, leaving himself just short of the green, a simple pitch.
 
DiMarco missed the green left and had to scramble for par. Leonard went long, leaving himself a 20-foot putt from the fringe that he lagged down to 3 feet. Singh's pitch climbed the crest at a perfect speed and trickled to 6 feet, leading to his first and only birdie of the final day.
 
'It was a well-deserved one,' he said. 'I waited all day for it, and it was a good time that it came.'
 
The most spectacular shot of the round was his 3-iron into 6 feet into the wind on the 236-yard 17th hole that drops off severely into bunkers, weeds and eventually Lake Michigan. Singh missed the putt, but at that point it didn't matter.
 
Putting is about the only thing that keeps Singh from winning more.
 
Irritated by a miserable week on the greens at Royal Troon, he ditched his belly putter after nearly two years for a conventional-sized putter and won the Buick Open two weeks ago by holding off Woods and John Daly.
 
He made it two in a row at the PGA Championship, and while his putting was awful in the final round - 34 putts - it carried him to a one-stroke lead after 54 holes.
 
'I think this is the biggest accomplishment I've ever had in my whole career,' Singh said. 'I never thought at any stage that I was going to come back and putt so well so quickly and win golf tournaments. That makes my year.'
 
It also makes for a Hall of Fame career, one that started anew as a teaching pro in Borneo, where he gave lessons for $10 and spent every free moment working on his swing, not sure where it might lead.
 
He might be in for a big surprise when the Hall of Fame ballots are mailed next year.
 
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    Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

    WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

    It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

    Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

    ''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

    The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

    It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

    ''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

    ''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

    A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

    ''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

    Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

    ''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

    ''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

    Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

    Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

    ''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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    Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

    SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

    Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

    ''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

    Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

    The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

    Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


    Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


    ''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

    Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

    Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

    Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

    Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

    The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.

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    Singh tops Maggert in playoff for first senior major

    By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:10 am

    HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. - Vijay Singh birdied the second playoff hole to beat Jeff Maggert and win the Constellation Senior Players Championship on Sunday.

    Singh knocked in a putt from about 2 feet after a nearly perfect approach on the 18th hole at Exmoor Country Club, giving an understated fist pump as the ball fell in. That gave him his first major title on the PGA Tour Champions to go with victories at the Masters and two PGA Championships.

    Singh (67) and Maggert (68) finished at 20-under 268. Brandt Jobe (66) was two strokes behind, while Jerry Kelly (64) and defending champion Scott McCarron (71) finished at 17 under.

    Maggert had chances to win in regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    He bogeyed the par-4 16th to fall into a tie with Singh at 20 under and missed potential winning birdie putts at the end of regulation and on the first playoff hole.

    His 15-footer on the 72nd hole rolled wide, forcing the playoff, and a downhill 12-footer on the same green went just past the edge.


    Full-field scores from the Constellation Energy Senior Players


    The 55-year-old Singh made some neat par saves to get into the playoff.

    His tee shot on 17 landed near the trees to the right of the fairway, and his approach on 18 wound up in a bunker. But the big Fijian blasted to within a few feet to match Maggert's par.

    McCarron - tied with Maggert and Bart Bryant for the lead through three rounds - was trying to join Arnold Palmer and Bernhard Langer as the only back-to-back winners of this major. He came back from a six-shot deficit to win at Caves Valley near Baltimore last year and got off to a good start on Sunday.

    He birdied the first two holes to reach 18 under. But bogeys on the par-4 seventh and ninth holes knocked him off the lead. His tee shot on No. 7 rolled into a hole at the base of a tree and forced him to take an unplayable lie.

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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.