Former world number one Vijay Singh won’t tee it up on the developmental Korn Ferry Tour in June after all, Golf Channel reported Sunday.
Golf Channel said the PGA Tour had confirmed that the 57-year-old Fijian has decided to withdraw from the Korn Ferry Tour Challenge June 11-14 at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida.
The three-time major champion’s decision to enter the event had sparked criticism in some quarters, even though his lifetime US PGA Tour membership allows him to enter any KFT event in a week in which he is not eligible for the main tour tournament.
One KFT player, Brady Schnell went so far as to call Singh “a piece of trash” on Twitter, saying the KFT should be left to young golfers striving to play their way onto the US PGA Tour.
“Do you know how much those points and money could do for a young kid?” 35-year-old journeyman Schnell — who has missed five of six cuts on the Korn Ferry Tour this season — tweeted.
“He’s a complete turd for playing. He’s got his money and he’s got his career. Just wait another month and roll with your senior friends.”
Five-time major winner Phil Mickelson — who has had a sometimes testy relationship with Singh — was quick to defend the Fijian.
“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 Hall of Fame, he’s a big part of the PGA Tour’s success which financially subsidizes, and always has, the KFT,” Mickelson tweeted.
“He has earned the right to play when and where he wants.”
Schnell later apologized, writing, “a different approach should have been taken in order to get my point across.”
Singh, who owns a total of 34 US PGA Tour titles, has missed eight of nine Tour cuts in the past two seasons.
He finished 29th in his lone Champions tour for 50-and-over players start this year, at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Hawaii.