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“Black Pearl” Singh Unseats Tiger, Takes Over Number One Golf Ranking

“Black Pearl” Singh Unseats Tiger, Takes Over Number One Golf Ranking

Posted September. 07, 2004 21:55,   


The “Black Pearl,” Vijay Singh (41, Fiji), has become the number one ranked player in men’s professional golf.

Singh achieved his new status after the final round of the Deutsche Bank Championships (total prizes: $5 million), a U.S. PGA championship tournament held in Norton, Massachusetts (par-71) on September 7.

Singh won his sixth victory of the year after hitting 2-under-par 69 this day, finishing the tournament with a total score of 16-under-par 268.

Singh thus became the top ranked professional golfer by making up 12.72 points in the world golf rankings, replacing Tiger Woods (12.27 points), reputedly known as the “King of Golf.” Woods had previously defended his number one ranking title for over 264 consecutive weeks, and finished in a tie for second place at the Deutsche Bank Championships with a score of 13-under-par 271.

The men’s’ professional golf rankings take into account the size and importance of tournaments the golfer participates in within the last two years and assigns points according to his performance in those tournaments. The rankings are updated every week.

Woods was ranked first for a total of 334 weeks and had defended this title ever since he won the 1999 U.S. PGA championship.

Singh also became the first non-U.S. golfer to be ranked first in six years after Ernie Els’s brief stint at the top of the rankings in June 1998.

During his press conference, the excited Singh said, “Last year, my goal was to rank number one, and I haven’t changed that goal this year. As long as I put as much effort as I have, I’ll probably be able to keep up my performance next year as well.”

He also made an indirect comment on his rival Tiger Woods’ unpredictable drive shots, saying that, “ My drive shots were the key to victory. Not only do I hit far but I also hit accurately.”

Relations between Singh and Woods worsened after Singh failed to keep his caddy Paul Tesori from wearing a hat imprinted with the words “Who’s Tiger?” at the November 2000 President Cup Tournament.

After this incident, whenever the two met, their discussions became strictly perfunctory, only exchanging words such as “please move your marker.”

Last year, when the two were competing for the title of “Golfer of the Year,” Woods remarked, “If you just participate in many games, it is fairly easy to make a lot of prize money,” degrading Singh who made the most prize money on the PGA tour. Singh struck back, saying, “In professional golf, the numbers of wins doesn’t matter as much as how much you take home in prize money.”

Woods, who gave up his number one ranking, kept his cool by saying, “I had many chances to compete with Singh in many tournaments. Every tournament we competed in was very close, and in the future, there will be more opportunities to compete with him again.”

Last year. Singh stopped Woods’ bid for a sixth consecutive first place finish in total PGA prize money. This year, Singh is going strong with a total of $7,889,566, while Woods is in third place with $4,562,472.

During today’s final round, both Woods and Singh, who were part of the “Champions Group,” were tied at 13-under-par, but Woods bogeyed the 14th hole (par-4) and Singh birdied the 15th hole (par-4) to pull ahead by two strokes.

Singh then made a seven-meter birdie on the 17th hole (par-4) to win the match.

Young-Sik Ahn ysahn@donga.com