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My Shot
Ernie Els
May 01, 2000
It's time people stopped bad-mouthing Vijay Singh and started giving him respect
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May 01, 2000

My Shot

It's time people stopped bad-mouthing Vijay Singh and started giving him respect

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In his story about Vijay Singh's winning the Masters (SI, April 17), Alan Shipnuck refers to "one American Ryder Cupper" who, at the mention of Singh's name, sniffed, "Once a cheater, always a cheater. Golf has a long memory." My reaction to reading this was disgust.

Why would someone say that about Vijay as he triumphed in the Masters? Why would SI's article on the first major of the 21st century not confine itself to Vijay's magnificent victory? Why instead did the writer dredge up an unsubstantiated allegation about an event that may or may not have occurred 15 years ago? Why paint an unflattering picture of Vijay by saying he is "thought to have as much personality as Iron Byron" and calling him "unapproachable" and "the worst interview in the sport"?

I've probably played more with Vijay over the past 10 years than anyone else in all parts of the world, and I know and respect him as a good friend, a great family man and the ultimate professional. Sure, he works long and hard at his game, but that is something to be admired. Anyone who knows Vijay would tell you that there is a lot more to the man.

I take people as I find them, and each person should make his own judgment, but let's make those judgments based on the facts. I know Vijay, and the fact that I often choose to play my practice rounds with him is enough evidence of how much I enjoy his company.

The bottom line is that Vijay Singh won the Masters. He beat the best players in the world, and he has done it before, at the 1998 PGA at Sahalee. We should be congratulating Vijay on being a great champion. Golf should be proud of Vijay Singh.

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