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Wild 15-year ride for world-beater

It was 15 years ago this week that Tiger Woods made his professional debut in Milwaukee, stepping to the podium with the words "Hello, world" and winning twice in his first seven starts.

That was only the start of a dizzying ride —– one that includes 69 other PGA Tour victories, 14 major championships, a wraparound Grand Slam, bouts with injuries and the sex scandal that brought so much crashing down 21 months ago.

Asked on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive" what advice he might have told his younger self that day in Milwaukee, Woods was direct: "Life is very difficult."

"When I first walked on that tee, I didn't realize the magnitude of what I was embarking on," he said. "To embark on something that's a global sport where the media attention is very different than what we had (in college) at Stanford, it was something that was eye-opening."

Few could have foreseen the full impact Woods has made on the sport. And yes, he acknowledged, there have been mistakes for which he has had to bear responsibility.

"But it has been a lot of fun to be able to chase your dreams," he said, "and do something that I love to do each and every day."

Master of timing: Vijay Singh was a missing man for much of the summer, sidelined by back woes that kept one of the PGA Tour's ironmen from teeing it up. Now after top-5 finishes at Greensboro and The Barclays, he's in the thick of the FedEx Cup race.

The Fijian stands eighth, with a good chance to move up on a TPC Boston layout where he has won twice and notched two other top-four starts.

"I'm feeling good," said Singh, who found relief in Germany for a bulging disk. "I can be more aggressive and not really worry about how I'm going to wake up the next morning."

Tap-ins: The U.S. Solheim Cup selection process gets a tweak for 2013, cutting back to eight qualifiers from a two-year points system and awarding the next two berths based on world rankings. If the system had been used this year, captain's pick Vicky Hurst would have taken one of the world ranking slots, bumping Christina Kim into the wild-card pool. … Rocco Mediate and John Daly cross over to the Nationwide Tour for this week's stop outside Pittsburgh. It's the second straight Nationwide start for Daly, who tied for 32nd in Knoxville, Tenn.

— Jeff Shain

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