Els crowns Singh as 'the world's best' - Golf - Sport - The Independent

Els crowns Singh as 'the world's best'

The best player in the world will tee off in the Volvo PGA Championship on the West Course here today. Before there is a stampede to see Tiger Woods in action, it should be pointed out that in the opinion of Ernie Els the "unofficial world No1" is Vijay Singh.

The best player in the world will tee off in the Volvo PGA Championship on the West Course here today. Before there is a stampede to see Tiger Woods in action, it should be pointed out that in the opinion of Ernie Els the "unofficial world No1" is Vijay Singh.

Outspoken of late, Els is more usually the soul of discretion. The South African's admiration for Singh is genuine despite the hard-working Fijian being one of those who wields a belly putter, an implement Els thinks should be banned.

"If that's what he thinks, I guess I have to agree," Singh said of Els' compliment. "But the ranking system is something we cannot break. I will only be fulfilled when I am No 1 on the official rankings."

Singh, with three victories this season in the States, has got closer to Woods than anyone has for years. At 41, he has had the most remarkable career. At one point honing his game in Borneo, at another being a nightclub bouncer in Edinburgh.

He has got where he has by hard work, spending longer on the practice range than anyone else, "figuring out a way to hit the ball straight". Around three years ago that clicked into place and since then he has worked assiduously on his fitness to maintain the strength to keep up with the young guns.

"I am still very driven," he said. "I am trying to win every week but I know I am not going to. If I hit a bad shot it does not bother me. I am comfortable with my swing. If something is wrong, I can fix it during a round."

Like Els, and Greg Norman and Nick Price before them, Singh enjoyed a lengthy apprenticeship on the European Tour. "It was playing against Seve [Ballesteros] and Nick Faldo that I learned how tough you have to be," he said.

Also like Els, Singh has won the World Match Play here but not the PGA. Though there are the odd unexpected absentees this week, such as Padraig Harrington and Sergio Garcia, Singh was No 1 on the US money list last year and heads it so far this season. Els was and is in the same position in Europe. The two tour's Players Champions, Adam Scott and Trevor Immelman, are also present.

Immelman watched Singh come home in 29 to win in New Orleans earlier this month and decided to switch to the belly putter. He promptly won in Germany last week. Singh placed a belly putter in Els's locker yesterday. "If he thinks it is so easy, he should try it," Singh said. "I told him to try it before he breaks it."

This is the 50th PGA Championship and the 1,000th event since the European Tour was founded in 1971. It is also the 17th and last to be sponsored by Volvo, who will now concentrate on the season-ending Volvo Masters for at least another three years and on the China Open, which will start next season's European Tour.

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future