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2005 Mercedes Championships

Vijay Singh happy with season's first victory

Vijay Singh wasted little time in continuing his assault on the golfing record books on Sunday as his victory in the Sony Open maintained his extraordinary streak of form that catapulted him to the top of the rankings.

It seems like only yesterday everyone was asking 'who can stop Tiger Woods?' yet Singh has eclipsed him and is without doubt the world's number one player.

Golf has always been a game of statistics but Singh, 41 years, 10 months and 26 days old, 1.88 metres tall weighing in at 83kg, is taking things to the extreme.

The Fijian's victory on Sunday was his seventh success in his last 11 PGA events and his eighth consecutive top-10 finish.

Last year he became the first player to earn more than $10 million in a season as he triumphed in nine events -- the best since Tiger Woods in 2000 and a tally previously beaten only by Byron Nelson, Ben Hogan and Sam Snead.

His golden streak in August, September and October garnered him six titles and a tie for second in another while his 64 sub-70 rounds was the second best in PGA history after Steve Flesch's 66 in 2000.

He ended the year as world number one, displacing the previously untouchable Woods, and shows no sign of handing the honour back to the American.

Singh opened 2005 with a tie for fifth in the Mercedes Championship, after leading at the end of the third round, then wasted little time in claiming his 25th career title and, most remarkably of all, his 13th since turning 40, with the Sony.

Three weeks into January he has already passed the one million dollars mark in earnings for the year -- the 10th successive year he has done so.

Singh, renowned as one of the most dedicated professionals on the tour, has continued his remarkable run despite the disruption of a double caddie change.

Dave Renwick, his bag man throughout 2004 and for all three of his Major victories, declined to continue one of the most lucrative relationships in the game because he felt there was no longer any fun in it.

Singh used friend and personal trainer Joey Diovisalvi as his caddie for the season-opening Mercedes and returned to former assistant Paul Tesori for the Sony "and beyond."

The changes did not bother him, just as Ernie Els's charge through the ranks on Sunday with a course record-equalling 62 left him unruffled.

"I prepared pretty well, it's a great way to start the year," said Singh, who has dedicated just about his entire life to improving his golf game and allows nothing to distract him.

"It takes a lot of pressure off me, everyone saying 'is he going to win again?' It's a great relief."

Ominously for the rest of the golfing world, he added: "I can start breathing again and go and play more comfortably for the rest of the season."


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