At Last Vijay All Alone at the Top

By George WhiteSeptember 7, 2004, 4:00 pm
So now its official. Everyone has known it for some time, of course, but now it's right there in black and white. Ironically, it finally happened on the same weekend that, for the first time in forever, Tiger played like the Tiger of old.
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.

And Woods?
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.
Email your thoughts to George White
Getty Images

Garcia (73), Fleetwood (74) off to slow starts at BMW

By Associated PressJune 21, 2018, 8:30 pm

PULHEIM, Germany – Sebastien Gros carded a 4-under 68 in windy conditions to lead by one shot after the opening round of the BMW International Open on Thursday.

The Frenchman had four birdies to take the lead before the turn, and a six-footer on the 15th hole moved him two ahead. But a bogey on the next hole left the 28-year-old Gros just one ahead of Jorge Campillo, Scott Jamieson, Aaron Rai and Henric Sturehed.

Sturehed eagled the par-5 No. 13 to take the lead in the morning at the Gut Laerchenhof club.

Christofer Blomstrand, Nico Geyger, Mark Tullo, Victor Perez, David Howell and Nicolai von Dellingshausen are a further stroke back on 2-under 70.

Defending champion Andres Romero was among a large group at 1 under, including 2013 winner Ernie Els and three-time European Tour winner Andy Sullivan.

Romero is bidding to be the first player to retain the title.

Local favorite and 2008 champion Martin Kaymer shot 72, ahead of Sergio Garcia (73) and Tommy Fleetwood (74).

Getty Images

Ryu thriving again after simple advice from Inbee Park

By Randall MellJune 21, 2018, 7:07 pm

So Yeon Ryu shared Rolex Player of the Year honors last year.

She reigned as world No. 1 for almost five months.

So when she couldn’t keep her momentum going at year’s start, she got frustrated. She wasn’t happy with two top 10s in her first 11 starts.

“I lost a lot of confidence at the beginning of the year,” Ryu said Thursday as she prepared to lead a strong field as the defending champion in Friday’s start of the Walmart NW Arkansas Championship. “My expectation level was way too high.”

So she sought the counsel of her pal, world No. 1 Inbee Park, who gave her some plain-spoken advice.

Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship

“Get over it,” Park told her. “You know what to do. You’ve done it, so it’s not really a big deal. Don’t worry about it. You were No. 1. You’ve achieved a lot of things as a professional golfer. Just don’t be too hard on yourself.”

Ryu got over it winning the Meijer LPGA Classic last week, the sixth LPGA title of her career, her third in 15 months. She’s feeling good again leading a stellar field this week at Pinnacle Country Club in Rogers, Ark., a strong tune up before next week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, the year’s third major championship.

World No. 1 Park, No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn and No. 3 Lexi Thompson are among the top nine players in the world scheduled to compete this week. Twenty-four of the top 30 are in the field.

“When you come to defend your title, you obviously have a lot of pressure, but after I won last week, now I sort of think, maybe I have a chance to defend my title,” Ryu said. “So I've got total confidence, by last week.”

Getty Images

Watch: Spieth, JT hole bunker shots in back-to-back groups

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 21, 2018, 6:57 pm

Jordan Spieth has a thing for holing bunker shots at the Travelers Championship, where he made one in a playoff to win last year.

He did it again in Round 1 at TPC River Highlands, knocking in this shot for eagle at the par-5 sixth to reach 4 under par for the tournament

In the next group, Justin Thomas did the same thing to reach 1 under. Keep an eye out for the best part of this highlight, when Thomas' caddie Jimmy Johnson tries to hand him his putter.

Getty Images

River Highlands a 'breather' for Zach Johnson (63)

By Will GrayJune 21, 2018, 6:43 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After enduring the pressure-cooker of the U.S. Open, Zach Johnson was more than happy to drift north to the friendly confines of TPC River Highlands.

Birdies were rare last week at Shinnecock Hills, but they’ll be plentiful all week long at the Travelers Championship. Browned-out and crispy conditions transitioned to lush and verdant, and players can attack flags without fear of turning a possible par into a struggle to avoid triple.

Johnson did just that in the opening round, carding eight birdies against a single bogey to take the early lead with a 7-under 63.

“It’s a different kind of breathing. It’s a different kind of exhaling, if you will, but they’re both good,” Johnson said. “You can put some red on the board here. We know that. We’ve seen it. You can go the other way in a hurry if you press it; it can keep going in the other way. So you kind of have to let it happen. This is one of those courses where you have to let it happen.”

Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos

Like many in this week’s field, Johnson took it easy after a grueling major championship, staying away from the course Monday and easing into his prep over the next two days. Those decisions paid off quickly as he rattled off six straight birdies on Nos. 11-16 to take sole possession of the lead.

While Johnson tied for 12th last week at Shinnecock Hills, that was just his second top-15 finish since the Sony Open in January. But the veteran is no stranger to fast starts at TPC River Highlands, having now opened with 65 or better four times in his last eight appearances dating back to 2011.

It’s a course where he continues to have success, even if his past consistency hasn’t lived up to expectations.

“I feel like every time I get here it feels like I should shoot nothing, and it bites me,” Johnson said. “The last couple years I’m like, ‘All right, you can’t have any expectations in that regard. You’ve just got to go out and execute, you know, put the ball in the fairway and you will have opportunities.’”