Tue, Oct 28, 2003 - Page 19 News List

Singh threatens to unseat Tiger from PGA money list


Tiger Woods is taking next week off to prepare for the Tour Championship and a run at a record fifth straight money title.

The way Vijay Singh is playing, it might be too late.

"I'm in the best position to win the money title," Singh said after closing with a 5-under 67 for a four-shot victory on Sunday in the Funai Classic at Disney.

"If I win next week, he can win the next week because he's not going to beat me."

Singh not only is a great player, he showed some accounting skills.

By winning across the street from the Magic Kingdom, the big Fijian earned US$720,000 and reclaimed the No. 1 spot on the money list by US$250,094 over Woods.

Advantage, Vijay.

Singh is playing next week in the $4.8 million Chrysler Championship in Tampa, which pays $864,000 to the winner. A victory -- Singh is a clear-cut favorite -- would give him an insurmountable lead.

"I'm playing the best that I can play right now," Singh said. "And 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."

If he doesn't win in Tampa, the money title will come down to the Tour Championship.

Woods did well to at least keep the gap from getting larger.

He started the final round six strokes behind and bogeyed the first hole, but rallied late with a 31 on the back nine at Magnolia for a 65 that eventually pushed him all the way up into a tie for second with Scott Verplank and Stewart Cink.

In fact, Woods picked up an extra US$98,000 in two minutes when Cink and John Rollins missed par putts.

Woods already has played eight fewer tournaments than Singh, but some were surprised when he didn't give himself a better chance at the money title by going to Tampa.

"It's important, but not that important," Woods said. "The most important thing to me is being ready for the Tour Championship. That's a very big event, and I want to be physically and mentally ready."

Told that Singh could win the money title before Woods plays again, he shrugged.

"If he has it wrapped up, then so be it," Woods said. "I think anyone would rather have player of the year than the money title."

Also up for grabs is PGA Tour player of the year, which is a vote of the players.

Singh, who finished at 23-under 265, has four victories and moved up to No. 2 in the world ranking released yesterday.

Woods has five victories, and is virtually assured a fifth straight Vardon Trophy.

Next on Singh's wish list is knocking off Woods in the world ranking, which will take a little more time.

Woods has been No. 1 since winning the 1999 PGA Championship, and he likely will remain there for at least another year.

"I give myself another five years," the 40-year-old Singh said.

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