Hard labour pays off as Singh takes Tiger's crown

Far more surprising than Tiger Woods being demoted from the top spot of the world rankings was how he managed to hang on to it for so long.

Far more surprising than Tiger Woods being demoted from the top spot of the world rankings was how he managed to hang on to it for so long. Finally, the mathematics of the situation caught up with what everyone knew as Vijay Singh became only the 12th player to be anointed as the world No 1 since the inception of the rankings in 1986.

Fittingly, Singh moved to the top of the pile after beating Woods himself at the Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston on Monday night. Woods, who has not won a major championship for over two years, has been a shadow of his former greatness but even finishing tied for second in his last two tournaments could not postpone the inevitable.

If there was a debate about who was the game's best player, the two central characters were Singh and Ernie Els, a dispute effectively settled when Singh won the USPGA Championship last month. But it took his third major title plus five other victories this season for Singh to be recognised by the computer. He got close to overtaking Woods in May, pressed too hard and promptly, and briefly, lost form.

Since then he put the notion out of his head and three wins in a month have followed. "This week wasn't about the ranking," Singh said. "It was a golf tournament. I was trying to beat Tiger and win the golf tournament. It was a good win, as well. Coming down the stretch got pretty tight there, but I got focused and played pretty good."

Singh added: "It's great. I've worked pretty hard for this. I finally achieved what I wanted to do starting at the beginning of the year. It's great to be ranked No 1 player in the world but it can change next week. It can change in two weeks' time. I don't know how to feel.

"I thought I was playing good enough to be No 1 for a while, but, I kept telling you guys, I can't do anything about the ranking. Finally it's turned in my favour. So, I don't know how long the ranking is going to favour me or anybody else. But it feels great right now and I'm really proud to achieve that."

So a Fijian, aged 41, who spent the early part of his career teaching the game in Borneo, is the best player in the game. It is a triumph for dedication to practising 365 days of the year and, in recent years, a relentless fitness programme. "I never thought I would be sitting here, the best player in the world right now," Singh said. "You know, it feels great, all of the hard work and all that I've come through, all of the people that have helped me through, I'd like to thank them. Obviously, it's been a journey and something that cannot be forgotten."

Woods has been the world No 1 for a record total of 334 weeks, including a run dating back five years to August 1999. At one point his lead over the next best player was 17 points but since then the calculation of the ranking has been upgraded. Hal Sutton's American team at the Ryder Cup no longer has the world's best player.

Woods, who has won only once this year, said: "No, I'm not disappointed about the ranking, I'm disappointed in not winning. As I said, winning takes care of the ranking. I had a great opportunity to win and just didn't do it." But he added: "I think it's just exciting to finally put the pieces together in my golf swing. All summer long, I've been slowly but surely putting them together, and this week was the culmination of it all. I really hit it good this week."

Kings of the fairways: the world no 1s

Bernhard Langer

April 1986. Total: 3 weeks

Seve Ballesteros

First spell: Apr 86; last: Aug 89. Total: 60

Greg Norman

First: Sept 86; last: Jan 98. Total: 331

Nick Faldo

First: Sept 90; last: Jan 94. Total: 97

Ian Woosnam

First: Apr 91; last: Mar 92. Total: 50

Fred Couples

First: Mar 92, last: Jul 92. Total: 16

Nick Price

First: Aug 94, last: Jun 95. Total: 43

Tom Lehman

Apr 97. Total: 1

Tiger Woods

First: Jun 97; last: Sept 04. Total: 329

Ernie Els

First: Jun 97. Last: Jun 98. Total: 9

David Duval

First: Mar 99. Last: Aug 99. Total: 15

Vijay Singh

First: Sep 04. Total: 1

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
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific