Golf

Singh could learn something from Barber, Wilson

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is a star in the world of golf, with a pair of major championships and 13 PGA Tour victories to his name. And yet he could learn a lot from a pair of PGA Tour rookies with no wins and a combined total of three top-10 finishes to their credit. Aaron Barber and Dean Wilson are the only players that have a genuine right to complain about Annika Sorenstam's participation in The Colonial this week. That's because they've drawn the short straw, earning a pairing with Sorenstam for the first and second rounds of the tournament. They're the ones who'll have to cope with the roughly 600 media members watching their every move. They're the ones who'll have to deal with galleries 10 times larger than any they've experienced in their PGA Tour careers, which total 13 and 12 tournaments, respectively. And for at least two days, they're the ones who'll be compared most immediately and directly to Sorenstam. Which means if they struggle like the first-year players they are — the pair has missed 14 cuts so far this year — it'll make the pressure of Q School look like a $2 Nassau with a bunch of Sunday hackers. So if they've got nothing but positive things to say about this endeavor, then every other PGA Tour member — starting with Singh — needs to keep quiet. "She has every right to be in this tournament," said Wilson, who shelled out $3 for a "Go Annika" button. "And I'm all for her playing well." Hear that, Vijay? Now was that really more difficult than publicly wishing for Sorenstam to miss the cut? It's hard to imagine any golfer openly rooting for his competition to fail, but that's exactly what Singh did during an interview at last week's Byron Nelson Championship. What would he do if he was actually at the tournament? Yell "Noonan" while Annika is putting? Singh also broke out the ever-popular "she's taking a spot from someone in the field" argument, something he'll certainly remember to bring up the next time he gets paired with Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer in a tournament. Or did he conveniently forget that was playing on a sponsor exemption when he won his first PGA title? Barber, who like Sorenstam is playing at Colonial thanks to a sponsor exemption (an invite he received even though he's missed six straight cuts, mind you), has a different take on the subject. "She's earned this opportunity," Barber said. "She got an unrestricted sponsor exemption. She didn't take a spot. She's earned this based on her resume. And that's how you get sponsor exemptions." And while Singh threatened to withdraw from the tournament if he was paired with Sorenstam — before withdrawing from the tournament because he was scared of Sorenstam — these guys actually appear to be looking forward to being a footnote to golfing history. "I was looking forward to it actually," Wilson said. "It's a unique experience to be able to play with her in a tournament atmosphere like this. And I've been a big fan of hers for many years in her career watching her. I think it will be great to be alongside her and watch how someone like her handles herself." So this week, I'll be rooting for Sorenstam to put Singh, and in their place. And at the same time, I'll be rooting for Barber and Wilson to take their place among the PGA Tour elite. Todd Behrendt is a FOXSports.com editor. He can be reached at tbehrendt@foxsports.com.
Tagged: Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Nick Price, Scott Hoch

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