October 29, 2003

Since Tiger Woods turned pro, golf fans have lamented the lack of a true rival to challenge his dominance of the sport. One may finally have arrived in the form of a 40-year-old fellow Masters champion who is one of the pros who likes Woods the least -- Vijay Singh. They've battled all year and are 1-and-2 in PGA money leaders.

posted by rcade to golf at 12:17 PM - 16 comments

I think Vijay is the best foil for Woods, at least competitively. He won't back down from anyone or anything, considering the controversies he's been through in his career (cheating allegation; "kiss my ass" comment after Masters 2000 win). And although SI's Gary Van Sickle says Woods will make a run at the money title, I think Vijay will take it. Vijay's ahead by $250,000 right now, and playing in this weekend's tournament against only four of the other 9 golfers ranked top 10 in the world. He's playing the best golf of his career and should be considered a virtual lock for a top-5, if not a win. Say he places 3rd or better, that's at least $300,000. Since Woods is not playing, Vijay should head into the Tour Championship (which he won last year) with a lead of at least $550,000. Tiger would need to win the Tour Championship, with Vijay finishing no better than fourth. Singh will end Tiger's streak of four straight money titles, and if he wins 1 or both of his last tournaments, I think he could take player of the year, as well. The only thing that would stand between Singh and that award is the voting of his fellow players, who don't think him too warm of a personality. The lack of comments in this thread show the lack of interest in men's golf this year. What this thread needs is more old women cracking on Asians.

posted by msacheson at 06:36 PM on October 29, 2003

I know we all look at the Money List to judge the premier players, but since Vijay has played in 25 tour events and Tiger has played in 17, I'll hand Tiger the trophy right now. And that is after missing the beginning of the season due to knee surgery. They should keep a per start payday with a minimum of 15 events played, that way they can include some of the euro and foreign tour players. Then at the end of the season, kill the guy with the least $$$. (Just checking to see if anyone was still reading).

posted by usfbull at 06:56 PM on October 29, 2003

kill kill kill!!! Golfers deserve death, the way their courses destroy the ecology.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:50 PM on October 29, 2003

Everyone's got a past - some pasts involve and over-bearing father relentlessly pushing you toward excellence; some pasts involve magic pencils that help you make the cut in Jakarta in 1985 - but how you deal with your past and move on is more important than what's behind you. If you are accused of cheating, you either: hold your hands up, admit that what you did was wrong, and face whatever punishment the powers that be throw at you; or you deny the accusations and you fight your corner until you are either forced to admit defeat, or have your accusors drop their accusations. You do not skulk off to Borneo and spend the rest of your life walking out of interviews if the journalist so much as asks you what the capital of Indonesia is. You do not get all (publically) high and mighty about a governing body that allows a woman to play in one tournament, even though the same governing body allows you - a convicted cheat - to play, week in week out, for millions of dollars each year. I used to be a struggling pro (I have since given up both professional golf and struggling). I missed the cut in the pre-Q for the European Tour school by one shot. I missed keeping my playing privileges in South Africa by one shot. Sadly for me though, my pencil was working both times. I'm not asking for praise - as Bobby Jones said when a journalist congratulated him on his honesty for calling a penalty on himself, "You might as well congratulate me for not cheating." - I'm just pointing out that Vijay isn't all he's cracked up to be. If he didn't cheat, then why didn't he fight the two year ban at the time, or subsequently use his undoubted power as one of the world's most talented players to have his conviction resinded? His actions at the time and ever since indicate to me not only that he did cheat, but also that he is not in the least bit sorry for it. He has hit a bit of a purple patch at the moment - that's undeniable - but to talk of him as a realistic contender to Woods position as the best player in the world is ridiculous. If and when Woods is challenged seriously, it will be by a youngster who comes steaming into the picture the same way Woods himself did; the same way Watson did; the same way Nicklaus did; the same way Palmer did. The challenge will not come from an aging Fijian, haunted by his past, with a chip on each shoulder, who's having a Mark O'Mera style swan song at the end of a career that has been riddled with under-achievement.

posted by JJ at 05:20 AM on October 30, 2003

Sorry - that got a bit long. And another thing - golf courses encourage wildlife by providing stable and sustainable habitats for animals, plants, trees and flowers - they enhance the ecology or they don't get permission to be built - much to Greg Norman's chagrin. As one friend of mine said "So, he has to stop building his golf course to ensure that a snail no one can see remains there so that no one can continue to see it? Or do I have that wrong?"

posted by JJ at 05:29 AM on October 30, 2003

I think you're letting personal dislike of Vijay Singh cloud the facts. I share those sentiments, but if someone with 15 Tour victories (including a Masters, PGA championship, and Tour championship) is an underachiever, what does that say about the 99 percent of the tour with a lesser career? Woods has fallen back to the pack a bit. If Singh tops Woods in the Tour Championship, looking at their combined results, I'd give him the edge as this year's best PGA golfer. Which, by extension, would make him the best golfer in the world. Also, I don't think Singh should be slighted if he wins the money title by playing more events than Woods. Don't be unamerican -- the guy with the biggest pile of money at the end of the year wins, not the guy who would have had the biggest pile of money if he didn't spend so many weekends at home with his Swedish model girlfriend.

posted by rcade at 06:20 AM on October 30, 2003

What if Mike Weir wins the Tour Championship thingy next week? That would give him the Masters AND another king-sized tourney (plus 2 others). That would make him a candidate for player of the year. Don't forget the canuck!

posted by grum@work at 07:04 AM on October 30, 2003

Golf courses and cemetaries. The two biggest wastes of land in society. There are hundreds of golf courses in cities and thousands of homeless. We need to eradicate golf for the good of the whole! Plus, my game is just not improving.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 08:48 AM on October 30, 2003

I'll confess, I don't like Vijay very much on a personal level, but I think the facts back me up as far as my claim that he's an underachiever goes. I don't compare him to the 99% of the tour with a lesser record, I compare him to his potential. This year's Open Championship was a prime example of something that has plagued his career - an inability to step up and close it out. Admitedly, there were plenty of other famous names standing by and doing the same that week, but still, it's been a bit of a habit with Vijay. Either way, I doubt Woods is all that bothered about the money title. Major championships and world number one status are his priorities. What's money worth anyway? Look at poor Sandy Lyle - he won the European money list in 1979 with the grand total of 49,000 (even then, that wasn't very many dollars), and now has lost his exempt status on the European Tour for falling out of the top career money winners list. That said, I think it's silly to let people like Sandy Lyle and Seve keep playing in big tournaments at the expense of young, talented newcomers who can at least occassionally break 75.

posted by JJ at 08:59 AM on October 30, 2003

JJ I think your analysis is a good one. Vijay is not the first one to make a run at Tiger over the course of a year. Let him win a few Grand Slam events head-to-head then he'll be a serious challenger. I think building a golf course is more eco-friendly than building stadiums. At least it preserves some natural beauty.

posted by vito90 at 09:21 AM on October 30, 2003

I just can't get excited about Vijay. I know he's good, but his game is just plain BORING to watch. (what is up with his putter?) There are a lot of other more interesting golfers out there who, sadly, aren't as good. Now, if one of them would challenge Tiger, that would be great. Added to that about his cheating and that fact that he is pretty nasty about women in general and not a very pleasant person, and I just don't like him much and don't find watching him interesting. But it would be nice to see someone really challenge Tiger. It would make golf more interesting to watch than it is now, certainly.

posted by aacheson at 10:46 AM on October 30, 2003

msacheson, if you choose Vijay to be on your fantasy golf team next year, you'll be in big trouble.... ;)

posted by aacheson at 10:48 AM on October 30, 2003

well, honey, I drafted Mickelson instead of Vijay this time, and look where it's got me...LAST PLACE.

posted by msacheson at 04:37 PM on October 30, 2003

p.s. Thanks for your comments JJ. Great contribution!

posted by msacheson at 04:37 PM on October 30, 2003

Tiger may not be top of the money list, but he still leads the tour in Swedish Model Girlfriends. But seriously, Vijay is an ass. There's not a single remote reason that I can conjure to excuse even thinking about rooting for him. And re expert opinions on community blogs: Take that MeFi!

posted by lilnemo at 05:31 PM on October 30, 2003

Mickelson - oh don't get me started. Seems to me like all he wants to do is hit the ball as far as he can all day and to hell with who wins. He looks positively relieved when he drops out of contention... But I'm not starting.

posted by JJ at 06:21 AM on October 31, 2003

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