Vijay Singh once earned $10 a lesson as a club pro in Borneo. With his ninth victory of the year yesterday at the Chrysler Championship in Palm Harbor, Fla., the Fijian became golf's first $10 million man.
In a year that gets better with each week, Singh birdied the first two holes at Innisbrook and never let anyone get within two shots the rest of the way. He closed with a 6-under-par 65 to win by five shots, matching Tiger Woods for the most victories in a season on the PGA Tour since 1950.
"The wins keep coming, and I'm enjoying every bit of it," Singh said of his sixth victory in his last eight starts.
He finished in style, hitting out of a fairway bunker to 15 feet and making that for birdie. Singh finished at 18-under 266 to set the tournament record by one shot, previously held by K.J. Choi in 2002.
Jesper Parnevik qualified for the Masters with a birdie on the final hole to shoot 68 and finish No. 40 on the money list. Tommy Armour III three-putted the final hole for a 69 to share second place at 271.
Singh now goes to the Tour Championship with a shot at a 10-10 season -- 10 victories, $10 million.
He earned $900,000 for this victory, the easiest time he has had all year. It was Singh's largest margin of victory since he won by six shots in the 2002 Houston Open.
Woods won nine times in 2000. No one else has won that many times since Sam Snead had 11 victories in 1950.
"It's hard to swallow it right now," Singh said. "It's incredible."
It took Singh 173 tournaments over eight years to earn $10 million for his career. He has surpassed that with one incredible season, his victory at Innisbrook pushing his total to $10,725,166. That's more than $5 million more than Phil Mickelson, who is second on the money list.
This was the final full-field tournament of the year, the last chance for players to get into the top 30 on the money list to qualify for the Tour Championship; the top 40 to get into the Masters; the top 125 to secure their PGA Tour cards for next year; and the top 150 to have conditional status and bypass the second of three stages in Q-school.
* LPGA TOUR: Grace Park won the Nine Bridges Classic in Cheju Island, South Korea, shooting a 7-under 65 for a five-stroke victory and giving her game a big boost after a collapse in the final round two weeks ago.
"I can't describe my happiness with words," the South Korean star said.
Park finished at 16-under 200. Top-ranked Annika Sorenstam and Carin Koch, both of Sweden, shot 67s and tied for second at 11 under. Sorenstam entered the day three strokes off the lead and closed her round with an eagle.
Defending champion Ahn Shi Hyun (69) was at 10 under, tied for fourth with Lorena Ochoa (67) and Jeong Jang (68).
* EUROPE: Ian Poulter of England won the Volvo Masters in Sotogrande, Spain, beating Sergio Garcia on the first playoff hole.
Garcia missed a four-foot putt on the final hole of regulation that would have given the Spaniard the victory.