Singh Gets A Freebie
By Kickntrue on 6/4/10
Vijay Singh was giving a special exemption by the USGA into the US Open at Pebble Beach later this month. I guess being a Hall of Famer has it's privileges. The US Open is supposed to be the one event that anyone can play and you absolutely have to earn your way in. I guess that's not always the case.
The idea of playing 36 holes on Monday was hardly appealing, and neither was the notion of missing a major championship for the first time in 16 years.

Vijay Singh was facing both prospects this week until a surprise reversal by the United States Golf Association, which offered up a special exemption to the Hall of Famer just two weeks before the start of the 110th U.S. Open.

...

"We give out special exemptions rarely," said Mike Davis, the senior director of rules and competitions for the USGA. "We have some 9,000 people trying to qualify, and we try to keep 55 percent of the spots open to qualifiers. Our exemption categories are pretty clear."

But Davis admitted he asked a USGA sub-committee to re-think the decision in regards to Singh.

He's a Hall of Famer, Davis reasoned. He's won three major championships. He has a strong U.S. Open record -- having made 15 out of 16 cuts. He holds a share of the U.S .Open scoring record, a 63 shot in 2003 at Olympia Fields.
Sorry you had to read all that- but I wanted to make sure I had enough here that you could see this is an admitted freebie. What a crock!

Can you tell I'm not a big Vijay fan? Even if I was... some poor qualifying sap is now out of a position... right?

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[ comments ]
srogers13 says:
At least with his play in the British Open and the Masters, Tom Watson earned his special exemption. What has Vijay done in the last year?
6/4/10
 
mjaber says:
I agree. With the way he's been playing lately (last year and this season so far), he hasn't earned a spot in the US Open. He should have been made to qualify.
6/4/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
Really guys!? He's Vijay Singh, he's a pro's pro, and I think the gesture is a good one. Vijay is more than likely at the end of being a real force on the Tour and allowing him to have a shot at the Open is not akin to giving a Michelle Wie-type player a free pass.
6/4/10
 
mjaber says:
@ ElGallo...If they hadn't given it to him, no one else would have gotten in without EARNING it. There would not have been a Michelle Wie-type free pass. They basically just took a spot for someone who would have gone through qualifying and earned a spot and gave it to him. Guys who have won on the PGA and Euro tour this year have to qualify. Vijay hasn't won a thing in since 2008, only has 1 top 10 finish, and has missed almost half of the cuts (6 out of 13).

I always thought the Majors were for the best players in the world, and he's not playing like one of the best right now.
6/4/10
 
Kickntrue says:
@ElGalloGigante- One thing I would say... I'd have no problem if a sponsored event gave him an exemption. They pay millions and have sponsor's exemptions to give away. That's totally legit. It's a free pass- but their right to do. This is the US Open... a qualification event. Totally different in my opinion.
6/4/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber & Kickntrue - Seriously good points, and I guess I'm not really arguing against that view, but like the article mentioned, Vijay has had success at the Open and I'm sure that weighed heavily in allowing him to participate. You're both completely correct in suggesting that he's taking a spot away from someone who would have qualified, but I disagree with Kickntrue's sponsor exemption comparison. The Tour is a business, and they feel Vijay is marketable enough to be included. These decisions are atleast partly based on economics, and to the Tour, Vijay is worth the investment.

Heck, check out the Tour website, select "Players" and Vijay's mug is the one you see right after Tiger.
6/4/10
 
TeT says:
Oh please, think of all the exemptions given in sports to all the slimes.. VJ is not one of those... Good Call USGA. How can you not be a VJ fan... did he steal your candy when you were a kid, what??
6/4/10
 
mjaber says:
@ElGallo, the US Open isn't run by the Tour. It's run by the USGA. That's the difference. The USGA rarely hands out exemptions specifically because they want to allow the players who are playing the best golf at the time of the Open to be able to get in.

My feeling is that giving the exmeption to Vijay, the way he has been playing lately, is simply to keep his streak of US Opens alive.
6/4/10
 
bplewis24 says:
I guess I'm a bit torn on this one. I would be okay with them giving Vijay a free pass if he had some special circumstances regarding his poor play (and let's face it...it's been poor). However, he doesn't; at least no more so than anybody else on tour. I heard some broadcaster mention it was justified because his poor play was due to "injuries." No, it's not. He's been playing poorly for the better part of 1.5 years now. And even if he has been injured the entire time, is he suddenly not injured now?

For the most part, I understand them giving Vijay a pass because of his track record and who he is. But because he took a spot away from a qualifier, I feel the reasoning for it should have been much stronger.
6/4/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - My point remains the same, only insert "USGA" for "the Tour." Vijay has a fan base, and the fan base has dollars to spend. Whether it's to preserve a streak or to get more people on the grounds, you can't deny that Singh is still a draw.
6/4/10
 
mjaber says:
@ElGallo... He might be, but by applying that logic, would Rocco draw as many? How about Rickie Fowler (who's tearing up the Memorial at the moment)? I know Rocco isn't exempt, and I don't think Rickie is either. Neither of them have the stats Vijay has, but Rocco has had more injury issues over his career, and Rickie is playing better golf.

I think the exemption for Vijay is a poor decision by the USGA and is going to set a bad precedent for good players who are near the end of their PGA Tour careers.
6/4/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - Really!? Mediate nor Fowler have won a major, let along 3. Mediate nor Fowler was once the World #1. Singh has almost 7x more PGA Tour victories than Mediate (5) and Fowler (0) combined.

I can ask everyone in my office who Fowler or Mediate are, and not one will recognize the names. VJ? I'm sure I'd get a different result. Vijay is an ambassador for the game, Mediate and Fowler are not (though who knows what will come from Fowler.) You know this as well as I.
6/4/10
 
mjaber says:
@ElGallo... You think Vijay has more fans in California than Rickie Fowler? Really? The kid is from Anaheim.

My point was that if you're going to start handing out exemptions because they are a draw, why not do it for more players? Rickie would draw. So would Rocco, because alot of people remember 2008.

What about Fred Couples? He's probably got as big, if not a bigger, following than Singh. He's a major champion. He's an ambassador for the game. And he's playing better golf right now than Vijay is.

Like I said, it's a bad precedent to set. It's a bad choice by the USGA to try and postpone the inevitable end to Vijay's streak.
6/4/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - 2008? You mean the same 2008 Singh won the FedEx Cup? C'mon, man, Mediate is to Singh what Jeff Foster is to Shaquille O'Neil.

As for Fowler, hell, the Lakers are in the Finals, the Ducks just finished the post season, the Pads, Giants, and Dodgers are slugging it out in the NL West, and Cali's 3 football franchises are in OTAs. No one, outside of his immediate family and friends, cares about Fowler in Cali right now.
6/4/10
 
Kickntrue says:
#thisargument - is making my afternoon bearable
6/4/10
 
mjaber says:
@ElGallo... Yes, 2008. The last time Vijay won ANYTHING. You might have a slight argument if he had won the US Open before. He missed the cut at the Masters this year, one of the Majors he's won. He hasn't won EITHER open. His best finish at a US Open is a T3 in 1999. He hasn't been in the top 10 since 2006 (2 years before Rocco's epic match with Tiger, btw).

The Laker's will be done before the US Open begins. The Pads, Giants and Dodgers might as well be playing in AAA, since they have no shot of beating the Cards. OTA's are barely news worthy, except for finding out who didn't show up.

Add to this the fact that it wasn't simply an offer from the USGA (like Watson's), but he ASKED for it. He ASKED to be treated differently than everyone else. He ASKED to have a spot that he didn't earn.
6/4/10
 
Werepuppie says:
The rules should be the rules.Nobody should get in for free.Vijay may well have qualified anyway.They should have at least made him try.

That said,if anyone deserves to be given the exemption,Vijay is that man.He is the only golfer to hold the #1 spot in the era of HWSNBN.
6/4/10
 
mmontisano says:
VJ also decided AGAINST qualifying!!!! REALY!?!?!? his excuse was that it was at 7:30 AM and therefore too early if he wasn't making any money from it.
6/4/10
 
mmontisano says:
@Werepuppie - how soon they forget. what about David Duval? he had the #1 spot during the Tiger era also. he got 2nd place last year. so in your opinion, he should have gotten an exemption also?
6/4/10
 
Werepuppie says:
I do not forget.I like Duval.He was the number 1 player before Tiger became #1.Although they did play at the same time,Tiger was not the number 1 player until he took the spot from Duval,I think.Duval should be in due to his finish last year right?
6/4/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - (Enjoyed your weekend? Yeah? Me too. So anyways...) The fact that Singh asked to be exempt is even better! More to talk about, another reason to watch, and it surrounds a golfer that the general sporting public actually knows. He asked for it, and like I mentioned earlier, the USGA figured it made cents. It's their tourney, their decision alone, and for the guy who's missing out, well, it's just another lesson in "Life's Not Fair."

Oh, and take back what you said about the Dodgers. Not cool.
6/7/10
 
mjaber says:
@ElGallo... rainy weekend up here in the Northeast. Couldn't even get my lawn mowed. I did manage to get a little time at the range, though.

I think we're going to have to agree to disagree. We have our opinions, and we're not going to change each others minds. I will add one additional point to my argument, though. If Vijay had not been given the exemption, he was not even going to attempt to qualify. He was just going to sit it out. Why give a guy an exmeption who wasn't even going to try and qualify?

It is their decision, but just because it's their decision, doesn't mean it's not wrong.

I'll take back what I said about the Dodgers if they move back to Brooklyn and send Manny packing. :)
6/7/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - The whole "agree to disagree" thing is summarized with your feeling that it's the wrong decision. I feel his inclusion helps accomplish the greater goal, growing the game; therefore it's the right decision. Vijay enjoyed success during the Tiger Era, which meant his mug was plastered all over popular programming like Sports Center for the masses to see. The general sporting public knows his name. The other guys, not so much. He is still, although fading, in a position to say, "Look, I'd like to play, but I don't want to have to qualify to do so, so throw me a bone."
6/7/10
 
mjaber says:
@ElGallo... I love the fact that we can disagree, but still be civil about it, which happens more here than in most places on the 'net. :)

The biggest reason I have an issue with Singh getting the free pass is because of all the past tense in your statements. "He enjoyed success", "his mug was plastered." I think it's in the best interest of golf to have guys who are enjoying success now, and who are on Sportscenter now, in the spotlight, instead of an aging pro who's possibly on his way down. I don't catch Sportscenter much these days, but I'll bet after Tiger and Phil it was Ricky, Rickie and Justin on the highlights. I think more young(er) people are going to connect more with Fowler, because of his style, than with Vijay. And that connecting will grow the game more than Vijay (possible) last shot at the US Open.
6/7/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - Ditto on your first line.

I agree that more young people are going to connect with players like Fowler, and that those players should be showcased more, but they'll get there sooner than later.

Best case scenario, they gave Singh an exemption because they still believe he is a draw. Worst case, they gave him an exemption as a parting gift, which is fair considering what he has done in the game. Personally I think they gave him the exemption because they don't think he's done and will return to form. Either way, it's still a justifiable decision.
6/7/10
 
mjaber says:
@ElGallo... Hopefully, he won't make the USGA regret the decision by missing the cut, and hopefully, it's not one of the newer young guys (Barnes, Fowler, etc) who is #78 at qualifying and misses out.

Maybe it'll be Romo... wouldn't that put a whole new twist on his ability to not get it done at crunch time.
6/7/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - Haha if it's Romo! I'm an LA transplant in Texas and the amount of Cowboy coverage I have to suffer through is ridiculous. I'm actually pulling for Romo because he is going about it the "right way," but c'mon dude, concentrate on the job that is paying you a gadzillion dollars a year.

Singh did alright at the Memorial, so maybe it's a sign of things to come, but again, we will see.
6/8/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - Oh, how about that 12-4 beat down LA put on the Cards. I actually thought about your comment. I know its June, but sooner or later they'll get over the hump! Back to back to back NLCS appearances? I think so.
6/8/10
 
mjaber says:
@ElGallo... one game does not a season make. :) The Cards have not been playing well, and they are still the class of the NL.
6/8/10
 
ElGalloGigante says:
@ mjaber - Tell that to the Phillies.
6/8/10
 
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