Singh pulls out of Colonial after winning Byron Nelson

Updated: May 19, 2003, 4:25 PM ET
SportsTicker

IRVING, Texas -- Vijay Singh has pulled out of the Colonial, the tournament he said Annika Sorenstam had no right to play.

"
It's a good time to take off.
"
-- Vijay Singh

"It's a good time to take off," Singh said Sunday, after winning the Byron Nelson Championship by two strokes.

He claimed the decision was not based on the blitz of publicity he generated Monday with comments critical of Sorenstam's participation in the event, which starts Thursday at nearby Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth.

"I have to be at (Mark) McCormack's memorial (service) on Wednesday," Singh said, referring to the International Management Group founder who died Friday. "I also have something on Thursday."

However, it must be noted that Singh had committed to the Colonial weeks ago, so it's not unfair to speculate that his late withdrawal has at least something to do with his desire to avoid a media circus.

On Monday, Singh said a woman didn't belong in a men's event, that he would pull out if he was paired with Sorenstam and he hoped she missed the cut. As it turned out, he pulled out even without being paired with her.

He subsequently backtracked, sort of, saying he apologized if he offended Sorenstam, as if there was any other way for her to take such comments.

Nick Price, Sunday's runner-up and the defending Colonial champion, also has been critical of Sorenstam's participation, although a little more diplomatically than Singh.

"Vijay is a straight-up person," Price said. "You always know where you stand with him."

Price continued to defend Singh.

"I don't think he meant to say that he wants Annika to miss the cut, but I think he is frustrated with all the questions that have been going on," he said. "He sure got criticized this week.

"It shows how strong the guy is that he can come back and play the way he did and win. I certainly have a lot of admiration for him."

Price is among the most popular players around, but he also is sick of being asked about Sorenstam.

"I have answered more questions about Annika than how I am playing," said Price, a former world No. 1 from Zimbabwe who was voted into the Hall of Fame this year. "She had 41 other tournaments she could have chosen.

"I wish her the best of luck. She has a big heart. I don't think I would be able to do what she is going to do next week."

By that, he meant cope with the huge media spotlight and focus on her golf.

That's exactly what Singh did this week. He did it well, but he won't have to do it next week.

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