On This Day

2004: Vijay Ends Tiger's Record Reign at #1

Woods watches Singh drive during the final round of the 2004 Deutsche Bank Championship in Boston.
Tiger Woods’ record-breaking reign of world ranking dominance was brought to an end on this day 13 years ago in the US city of Boston by a rampaging Vijay Singh.

When Woods arrived at the 2004 Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston, talk of his game slipping from its peak was already old with the then 28-year-old having not won a major since the 2002 US Open almost 27 months earlier.

But for the all the talk that Tiger’s aura of invincibility had deserted him, the eight-time major winner (at the time) was in his 264th week as the top-ranked men’s golfer in the world.

To put into perspective how impressive that run was, the previous longest streak as men’s number one belonged to Australian Greg Norman who lasted 96 weeks at the top between 1995 and 1997.

Entering the final round at TPC Boston, Woods was in the final pairing but three shots adrift of playing partner Singh, who was red-hot with five wins already in 2004 including his third major title the previous month at the PGA Championship.

The equation was simple for Woods to remain number one, he needed to finish ahead of Singh, which was no mean feat given the Fijian’s remarkable run of form.

Singh thwarted every challenge Woods threw at him and they fired matching final round 69s to give  Singh his sixth win for the season ahead of Woods and defending champion Adam Scott, who stormed home with 65.

As the rankings officially corrected themselves the following day, while Woods was only barely adrift of Singh, the rolling two-year period of counting events meant Singh could extend his lead even without winning.

But winning proved no issue for the three-time major champion.

Singh not only won again the following week at the Canadian Open but added two more Ws to end the year with nine PGA Tour victories, the same tally Woods compiled in 2000, which is widely viewed at the greatest season of his career.

But Woods would have the last laugh over Singh.

For the next nine months, the top ranking changed hands between the two a further five times until Woods firmly entrenched himself in a new era of dominance.

Woods collected his fourth green jacket at the 2005 US Masters and on June 13, officially began new record run as number one that would last 281 weeks.


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