there is really no point in creating the object of the class if you know there will only be one instance of it ever. Any downside to doing this (other than OOD purists yelling at me)?
Prepare to be yelled at
.... just kidding.
I believe (IANAnExpert/Academic) the major benefit of using a Singleton (which is an object) rather than static methods is that if, in the future, you decide to provide an alternate implementation or an enhanced implementation of the methods, it would be very easy to change either the call that returns the singleton or the call that retrieves the singleton to return/retrieve a different object with the same interface (read "method signatures" not necessarily "java interface"). If using static methods, you would have to manually change EVERY call to those methods to make the same change.
So, in essence, it's a future-proofing pattern, not one that gives any particular advantage at runtime.