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

May 01, 2000
May 01, 2000

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May 1, 2000

Baseball

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

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.

This is an article from the May 1, 2000 issue Original Layout

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.

Ernie Els, 30, has been a Tour member for seven years.

COLOR PHOTO: BOB MARTIN