Vijay Singh

Associated Press

PALM HARBOR, Fla. —Vijay Singh will need time for this to sink in.

The guy who once gave $10 lessons as a club pro in Borneo is now the first $10 million man in golf. Singh once found work as a bouncer in a Scottish night club when he failed to get through European qualify school. On Sunday, October 31, 2004, he joined Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Paul Runyan and Tiger Woods as the only players (5) with at least nine wins in a year.

 “I just know it’s been an incredible year for me,” Singh said. It got even better at the Chrysler Championship, where the 41-year-old Fijian put a quick end to the tournament with birdies on the first two holes, closed with a 6-under 65 and set the tournament scoring record and won by five shots for his ninth victory of the year.

Woods in 2000 also won nine times, the most by anyone since Snead won 11 times in 1950. Singh won $900,000 to push his season earnings to $10,725,166, a staggering amount considering it took him eight years and 173 starts (why not just quit after 172 starts, Vijay?) on the PGA Tour before making $10 million for his career. “The wins keeps coming, and I’m enjoying every bit of it,” Singh said. He finished in style, hitting out of a fairway bunker to 15 feet and making that for a birdie. Singh finished at 18-under 266 to break by one the record set in 2002 by K.J. Choi.

Tommy Armour III (69) and Jesper Parnevik (68) were five shots back, but they were just along for the ride. “He hits the ball solid every shot, and he makes putts and does what he has to do to be No. 1,” Armour said. “You’re going to have to go out there and take it from him. He’s not going to give it to you.” Armour unknow-ingly was in the giving mood. His three-putt from 30 feet - the par putt was only 3 feet - dropped him into a two-way tie for second. That was the difference of $100,000, enough to allow Parnevik to finish No. 40 on the money list and qualify for the Masters.

The Chrysler Championship was the final full-field tournament of the year, the last chance for players to finish in the top 30 on the money list to qualify for the Tour Championship; the top 40 to get into the Masters; the top 125 to secure tour cards for next year; and the top 150 to get a pass to final stage of Q-school.

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