Retief Goosen knows a thing or two about winning a money title. He also knows how to prevent someone from doing it.
Unflappable in the face of a threat from the world’s hottest player, Goosen held off Vijay Singh to win the Chrysler Championship and keep Tiger Woods alive in a bid for his fifth straight PGA Tour money title.
Goosen had a three-stroke lead over Singh trimmed to a shot after 11 holes at the trying Innisbrook course before pulling away for his third PGA Tour victory and first of the season.
The stoic South African finished with a one-under-par 70, giving him a 72-hole total of 12-under 272, three shots better than Singh and four ahead of Briny Baird – his playing partners.
“I know I wasn’t hitting the ball as well as I would like to, but I have a good feel for the course and that’s what it all comes down to,” said the 34-year-old.
Goosen collected his 18th title worldwide and fifth between the PGA and European tours since the start of the 2001 season.
His world ranking will improve from number ten as he attempts to get closer to his career-best ranking of number four.
“I feel like I am definitely up there in the top six players in the world,” he said.
“That is sort of my goal, to see if I can get back into a better position than I have been.”
Goosen also would like to return to the top of the Order of Merit, the European Tour’s money list, which he won in 2001 and 2002. The 2001 US Open champion slipped this year, thanks in part to the birth of his son.
“Let’s see if I can do a little bit better there next year than I did this year and give myself a chance to win a money title there again,” said Goosen.
Singh could have locked up the first money title of his career with a win, but he could not keep pace on the back nine, settling for a 70.
“I am a little disappointed I didn’t win,” said the two-time major winner from Fiji, who has collected four titles this year.
“I thought I had a good chance. Retief played solid all day and he deserved to win.”
With only next week’s season-ending Tour Championship remaining on the schedule, Singh leads Woods by some $750,000 (€647,000) atop the money list.
Singh wins the money title by finishing alone in third, second or first next week in Houston. Woods needs to win the event and have Singh place no better than fourth to finish atop the money list for the sixth time in seven years.
“I have to play a solid tournament next week,” Singh said.
“I don’t think I have to win to win the money title, but I would like to win again next week. I will figure it out when I get there.”