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Singh Just Says No to Sorenstam

Golfer says he will withdraw if he is paired with LPGA star at Colonial. He also hopes she misses cut.

May 13, 2003|Thomas Bonk | Times Staff Writer

Gentlemen, start your mud-slinging?

Annika Sorenstam's appearance on the PGA Tour at Colonial Country Club is still a week off, but there were some bad vibes sent her way when two-time major winner Vijay Singh said the No. 1-ranked female player should stay away.

And Singh went much further than that.

"I hope she misses the cut," said Singh, who also said he would withdraw if he is paired with Sorenstam in the 124-player field at Colonial in Fort Worth.

Sorenstam will be the first woman since Babe Zaharias played the Los Angeles Open in 1945 to compete in a PGA Tour event. She won her final tuneup before Colonial last week when she took the Nichirei Cup by nine shots at Tokyo.

Last year, Sorenstam won 13 tournaments worldwide and was chosen as the LPGA's player of the year for the fourth time.

Singh unloaded as he left the locker room at Quail Hollow, where he was the runner-up at the Wachovia Championship in Charlotte, N.C.

"What is she going to prove by playing? It's ridiculous," he said.

Meanwhile, defending champion Nick Price has said Sorenstam's entry "reeks of publicity."

Singh, who is ranked No. 7 in the world, said Sorenstam, who received a sponsor's exemption to play at Colonial, is taking a spot in the field that would have gone to a PGA Tour player.

"She's the best woman golfer in the world and I want to emphasize 'woman,' " Singh said. "We have our tour for men and they have their tour. She's taking a spot from someone in the field."

Sorenstam has framed her appearance at Colonial as a one-time occurrence and as a personal challenge that would improve her play even more on the LPGA Tour. Both LPGA Commissioner Ty Votaw and PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem say they have no problem with Sorenstam's entry at Colonial and believe it has captured the imaginations of golf fans.

"We respect the reasonable opinions, but have no comment on the unreasonable ones," Votaw said.

Colonial officials have issued nearly 500 media credentials, meaning media will outnumber players by a ratio of almost 4-1.

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