For the second week in a row rain pushed the final round of a PGA
Tour event to Monday. This time it was the HP Classic of New
Orleans, and for the second week running Vijay Singh started the
day off the lead, only to race up the leader board and steal a
victory. This week's performance was more impressive, as the No.
2-ranked golfer in the world manufactured a back-side 29 that
included five birdies and an eagle to cap a 22-under 266 that
nipped Phil Mickelson and Joe Ogilvie by a stroke.
At the start of the day Ogilvie enjoyed a two-shot edge on
Mickelson, who was playing in his first event since winning the
Masters, and Charles Howell, who was making his first serious run
at a win in what has been an atypically poor season. Over the
front nine Ogilvie increased his lead to three shots with a
steady four-under 32 and at the turn was six shots up on Singh.
That's when things got interesting.
Ogilvie, a nonwinner in five years on Tour, did not lose the
tournament. He remained solid, missing a few birdie chances but
parring out despite immense pressure. Playing alongside him,
Howell and Mickelson made moves toward the lead, with Howell
cutting the advantage to two before falling back and Mickelson
closing in by making birdies on three of the last four holes.
The big moment came when Singh eagled the 542-yard 15th with a
huge drive, an eight-iron and a 20-foot putt to pull to within
one, then birdied 16 to tie for the lead. From there, Ogilvie and
Singh traded pars, and the only question seemed to be, Would
Mickelson, one stroke behind, turn it into a three-way playoff?
But Singh dropped a 30-footer to birdie 18 and take the lead. "I
got a great look at the line off [playing partner Hidemichi]
Tanaka's putt, which was just right of mine," Singh said. His
dagger put even more pressure on Ogilvie, who was watching from
the 18th fairway. Ogilvie put his approach in the left bunker,
and his shot from the sand came up a turn short of going in and
forcing extra holes.
The crisp, tense action made for great TV. Too bad for CBS that,
also for the second week in a row, the drama was taking place on
Monday afternoon and was being shown on the Golf Channel. "Your
heart goes out to the viewer," said Jim Nantz, CBS's lead
announcer. "The loyal, passionate golf fan sets his weekend
schedule around the coverage, and you've got nothing to show
The delays were hard on the CBS crew too. "People say, 'Boy, you
guys didn't have to work too hard,'" Nantz said. "But it's
brutally difficult to create three hours of programming."
Singh could teach everyone a lesson about what to do when rain
gums up the works: He simply remained patient. "He made that look
so simple and easy it was silly," said Justin Rose, who played
with Singh on Monday. "The way he talks, the way he walks,
everything is so under control. He didn't get off to a great
start, but he never got flustered. He stayed patient and
COLOR PHOTO: DARREN CARROLL (SINGH) BETTER LATE Singh's back-nine 29 was the best finish by a Tour winner since 1999.
COLOR PHOTO: SCOTT HALLERAN/GETTY IMAGES (GULBIS)
COLOR PHOTO: CAMERON SPENCER/GETTY IMAGES (BARNES)
The U.S. Open run-up begins at the Wachovia Championship, which
in its second year has emerged as a premier event, attracting
Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Phil Mickelson.
Up & Down
The former world No. 1 was one of a record 8,726 golfers to file
for entry to the U.S. Open.
Said he won't keep playing if he isn't competitive, then missed
the cut in a Nationwide tour event.
The 25-year-old shot a bogey-free 65 to win the Chick-fil-A
A day after turning 18, she blew the lead by shooting a six-over
78 to finish 23rd.
Ricky Barnes's reported love interest had her first top 10 of
2004 at the Chick-fil-A.
He missed his fourth cut in six tries and has only one exemption
left to earn his Tour card.