If golf's major championships are designed to identify the very best player, then this last one of the year put the right name up in lights.
People looking at the scores from yesterday's final round of the PGA Championship are going to look at Vijay Singh's score and wonder how a guy can shoot 76 on the final day of a major and still walk away with the trophy.
"I think this is the biggest accomplishment I've had in my whole career," said Singh after winning in a three-hole playoff, leaving Justin Leonard and Chris DiMarco tied for second.
"This makes my year right here. I played well at the Masters and did not win. I played well for two days at the U.S. Open and played well at the British. But this is it. I wanted to win another major and it came at the right time. I only have five or six more years to contend in these things and I'd like to win a few more before I finish."
Truth is, this victory had a lot more to do with Singh's evolution over the past two years as a hard-nosed competitor than it did with his his score yesterday.
Two years ago about this time, all the practice and experience that had made him a good but not great player, suddenly reached a critical mass. Yesterday's win is his ninth since the start of 2003 season, by far the most on Tour. He has become almost the same kind of fearsome predator that Tiger Woods has been, and may be again.
Woods, who still holds the title of world No. 1, but only by a thread, has always maintained that winning is a state of mind. Seldom was that more evident than yesterday at Whistling Straits.
"At no time did I feel anxious or scared," Singh said.
"I'm not saying I was sure I was going to win, but my confidence is in such a good place that I figured if I was able to hang around long enough, something good would happen."
Or, from Leonard's perspective, something bad. Leonard had two or three golden opportunities to put the tournament away, but failed to make short putts each time to leave the door open.
Singh is at a place in his career where, if you leave the door open long enough, he's going to come crashing through.
"I missed four putts inside 10 feet on the back nine," Leonard said. "It's hard to win a golf torunament, let alone a major when you do something like that."
Singh himself recognized that he wasn't making any putts. Indeed, he became the first man to win a PGA title in something like 70 years without making a birdie during regulation play in the final round.
"I just hung in there," he said. "I never gave up, I never had any real negative thoughts. I just told myself I was going to make a putt sooner or later."
It came later, during the three-man playoff. At the first playoff hole, Singh ripped a driver just short of the green, chipped to about eight feet and drained it for his first birdie to grab a quick lead.
At the next playoff hole -- the par-3 17th -- he put even more pressure on his opponents by hitting a gorgeous 3-iron that settled six feet from the pin. Even though he missed the putt, Singh at this point looked like a lion toying with his prey.
"You know, a playoff is a playoff," Singh said. "You have nothing to lose. You've got to be aggressive. After all, you know you can't finish worse than second. You have to go all out."
This is the attitude that has taken Singh to the brink of becoming, officially, what most believe to be true: The No. 1 player in the world.
Woods will be, for the 332nd consecutive week, the No. 1 player when the Sony rankings come out today. But Singh is virtually tied with Tiger and, given the directions both men's games are going, it's just a matter of a week or two before Singh's name is on top.
"You know, when I came out here, I just wanted to make a good living," Singh said. "Then I started playing well and my motivation got stronger and stronger. Then, I started to win majors and now I just feel the harder I work, the more I can win. When I started out, I never thought about being top-10 in the world."
And now, trust me, he's the best. The rankings will catch up soon enough.