Vijay On a Tiger Hunt

By Golf Channel NewsroomOctober 28, 2003, 5:00 pm
PGA TourLAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (AP) -- Vijay Singh is unlike any other player who has come and gone through the revolving door of rivals for Tiger Woods. None of the others threatened to take something away from Woods, such as an unprecedented fifth straight money title or perhaps even the PGA Tour player of the year.
No one else has won more tournaments with Woods in the field - seven with Singh's victory Sunday in the Funai Classic at Disney.
And remember, it was Singh who kept Woods from a calendar Grand Slam in 2000 by winning the Masters for his second major championship.
That was about the time the seeds of this rivalry were planted.
Later that year, Singh's former caddie wrote 'Tiger Who?' on the back of his cap before their singles match in the Presidents Cup. Woods didn't concede a putt longer than 18 inches and beat Singh, 2 and 1.
The rivalry reached its fruition Monday when Singh rose to No. 2 in the world ranking, his highest position ever.
'I'm playing the best that I can play right now,' Singh said. 'It's a good feeling to go out there knowing that you've got a chance of winning the golf tournament every time you tee it up. That's the way I feel.'
Just like Woods' other rivalries - Ernie Els, David Duval, Phil Mickelson - it starts with performance.
Singh has finished out of the top 10 only once in his last 10 tournaments, and his career-best four victories are only one fewer than Woods this year.
At just over $6.8 million, he leads the money list by $250,094 over Woods, although Singh already has played eight more tournaments than Woods and will add another this week in the Chrysler Championship in Tampa, where a victory would clinch the money title.
Even more impressive is his head-to-head battles with Woods.
Neither of them won a major championship this year, although Singh finished higher than Woods in the Masters, British Open and PGA Championship. They tied for 20th at the U.S. Open.
In the 14 tournaments they played together, each has finished ahead of the other six times, with two ties.
The difference is Woods has three victories to Singh's one, and Woods traditionally plays against stronger fields on tougher courses, which is why he has virtually locked up another Vardon Trophy for lowest adjusted scoring average.
The dynamic that Singh brings to this rivalry is a general dislike between the two players.
Woods and Duval became so close that they traveled to Argentina and Japan to play in the World Cup.
Els and Woods also are good friends, although the Big Easy gets along with everybody. The Woods-Mickelson relationship is overblown; Woods just likes to poke fun at Lefty, and he's certainly not the only player who does that.
There have never been warm feelings between Woods and Singh.
Singh's former caddie, Paul Tesori, was responsible for writing 'Tiger Who?' on his cap at the Presidents Cup, and Singh endorsed it by saying nothing.
When Woods and Singh went head-to-head in the final group at the American Express Championship earlier this month, where Woods won by two shots, their conversation could have fit on an index card.
'Good luck today.'
'I'm playing a Titleist 2.'
'Could you move your coin one to the right?'
'Nice playing with you.'
'Here's your card.'
While they never saw each other at Disney - the closest they got was four shots on the leaderboard - there were a few subtle shots fired across the bow.
Singh has said for the last month that the money title is the most important award.
'It's hard to win a money title,' he said. 'It's harder than winning golf tournaments because you have to play consistently all year to win that.'
Woods said he takes more pride in the Vardon Trophy for scoring than the money title because it's a better barometer of consistency.
'The money title can be a little skewed if you've played 30 tournaments,' he said.
Woods is not playing in the $4.8 Chrysler Championship this week, nor was he tempted to add it to his already thin schedule for the sake of trying to win the money title.
Even when told that Singh could have ended Woods' four-year reign before the Tour Championship, Woods shrugged.
'If he has it wrapped up, so be it,' Woods said. 'Anyone would much rather have player of the year than the money title. He plays a lot more than I do. If it were important, I'd play 25 to 30 events every year.'
The rivalry will continue to play itself out over the next two weeks.
How long it lasts after that is anyone's guess.
Singh is 40, although he is so strong and in such good shape that it wouldn't surprise anyone if he continued to play at this level for several more years.
The big Fijian even set his sights on being No. 1 in the world.
'I give myself another five years,' Singh said. 'It's going to be really hard to get Tiger from the No. 1 spot. He's playing so well every week. I just have to match that and play better than that in the next few years.
'We'll have to wait and see.'
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”