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Singh wins again and breaks $10million mark

At the Westin Innisbrook Golf Resort in Palm Harbour, Florida on Sunday, world number one, Vijay Singh cruised to the easiest of his nine victories this season, setting more records in the process. A fifteen foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole of the Chrysler Championship took his final score to 266, eighteen under par, and broke the tournament scoring record, set by K.J. Choi in 2002, by one shot. His $900,000 paycheck made him the first player to pass the $10million earnings mark in a single season, leaving him over $5million clear of his nearest rival on the PGA Tour money list. Singh's nine titles this year equals the modern era record set by Tiger Woods in 2000 and if he can win the season-ending TOUR Championship this week he will join the elite band of Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead as the only players in the history of the game to record ten wins or more in a single season. The way he is playing at the moment, it is hard to imagine that he won't do it.

The Chrysler Championship was the final full-field event on the PGA Tour calendar and many players had their own challenges to meet. Money list positions were finalized which decided who would play in THE TOUR Championship this week (top 30), earn an exemption for the 2005 Masters Tournament (top 40), retain their Tour card for next season (top 125) or get a pass to the final stage of Q-school and earn conditional status on the PGA Tour for next year (top 150).

The most significant movers were the tournament joint runners-up Tommy Armour III and Sweden's Jesper Parnevik, who picked up $440,000 each. Armour went from 153rd to 95th and retains his playing privileges while Parnevik climbed 30 places to earn an exemption for the Masters in 40th spot. Kirk Triplett also earned a trip to Augusta with his fifth place finish on 273 that took him to 38th on the money list. Kenny Perry's tied eighth place finish on 275 moved him up to 29th and earned him a tee-time this week at East Lake at the expense of Australia's Rod Pampling.

Tag Ridings followed up his excellent tied second place in the Michelin Championship at Las Vegas three weeks ago with a final round of 64 to earn a tied eleventh finish worth $120,000 which was enough to give him the 125th and final Tour Card based on 2004 official earnings. The magic figure this year was $623,262, which is $135,767 (28%) more than last year's 125th place finisher, Esteban Toledo, earned in the 2003 season. At that rate of increase it will only be a couple of years before the players need to earn $1million to keep their card.

Having missed the cut in the last two events of the season, both Paul Azinger and Olin Browne dropped out of the top 125 as a result of Ridings and Armour's table climbing performances.

Apart from Tommy Armour III (was 153rd), the only other player to rise from outside the top 150 following the last event was Jeff Brehaut who earned $29,062.50 for his T30 finish and went from 152nd to 149th. Steve Stricker and New Zealand's Craig Perks dropped to 151st and 152nd respectively.

Jay Haas' choice to go for the top 30 on the PGA Tour so that he could play in the TOUR Championship rather than qualifying to play in the final limited-field event on the Champions Tour, the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, has paid off. He stands at 28th on the money list with $1,873,626 entering this week's event.



Written by: Andy Smith (Editor, Golfing Weekly) -  Mon, November 1, 2004

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