Vijay Singh has buckled under the weight of fierce criticism after deciding to drop out of a second-tier tournament in the United States.
After facing significant backlash, the Hall of Fame golfer has officially withdrawn from a Korn Ferry Tour event later this month, according to Golf Digest.
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Singh declared his interest in playing the Korn Ferry Challenge at TPC Sawgrass later this month — which will mark the Korn Ferry Tour’s first tournament back after the COVID-19 hiatus.
Given his status in the golf world, however, that move didn’t sit well with everyone.
Korn Ferry Tour golfer Brady Schnell called out Singh in a series of ugly tweets, which he later deleted, taking aim at what he considered a sad cash-grab from the three-time major winner.
“Hey @VijaySinghGolf you are a true piece of trash if you [accept] money playing in a Korn Ferry Tour event and I’ll say it right to your face,” he wrote on Twitter.
Schnell continued on his rant for a while, making the point that an established golfer like Singh shouldn’t be taking spots away from others who are still trying to make it in the golfing world.
At one point, he even called him a “complete turd.”
Singh gets support from high-profile rival
Phil Mickelson, however, defended Singh's right to compete in the tournament on Twitter.
“It’s no secret VJ and I aren’t close, but I’d like to say on his behalf that in addition to being a member of the HOF, he’s a big part of the PGA Tour’s success which financially subsidizes, and always has, the KFT,” Mickelson wrote.
“He has earned the right to play when and where he wants.”
The Korn Ferry Tour, previously known as the Web.com Tour, is used primarily for golfers attempting to either earn or regain their PGA Tour cards.
Singh — with 34 career wins on the PGA Tour under his belt, both a FedExCup and lifetime exempt status in hand and more than $70 million in career earnings — clearly doesn’t need to do either of those things.
The three-time major champion was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2006, too.
The Korn Ferry Challenge will kick off on June 11 at TPC Sawgrass’ Dye’s Valley Course in Florida, the same day the PGA Tour is set to resume play amid the coronavirus pandemic at the Charles Schwab Challenge in Fort Worth.
The PGA Tour Champions, the senior Tour which Singh normally plays on, isn’t set to return until July 31 with The Ally Challenge.