HELLO! GOODBYE!: Tiger Woods' much anticipated return to action, following an eight-month hiatus due to knee surgery, was short lived. After winning his first-round match against Brendan Jones, 3 and 2, in the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, he lost to Tim Clark, 4 and 2, in Round 2.
Woods wouldn't let on as to when he would play again, but you have to figure he'll play Doral and Bay Hill, before heading to Augusta. Even with only a small sampling, based on his early Match Play exit, it's a pretty good bet that he'll win one of those three events ' if not two ... or three of them.
OH, HEAVEN: Running blogs describing his every move. Clocks counting down his first-round match. Hundreds of media members right on his tail. Promotional ads running ad nauseum. Tiger. Tiger. Tiger. It was long awaited for some. It was pure overkill for others.
A lot of people joked that Golf Channel and other media outlets might as well have been comparing Tiger's return to the second coming of Jesus. The big difference is: J.C.'s not going to announce his return in a press release.
THE MASTER: Geoff Ogilvy won the WGC-Match Play for the second time in four years, narrowly escaping each of the first two rounds in extra holes and then routing good friend and neighbor Paul Casey , 4 and 3, in the 36-hole final.
Ogilvy is the match play master. But how will he fare at the Masters? With the season's first major on the horizon, Ogilvy would love nothing more than to become the first Aussie to win the green jacket. For the record, he's officially played Augusta National three times, with his best finish a tie for 16th in his debut.
YOU'RE GOOD ... JUST NOT AS GOOD AS ME: Lorena Ochoa, competing for the first time on the LPGA in 2009, won the Honda LPGA Thailand. The women's world No. 1 rallied past Paula Creamer to get her 25th career tour title.
The best part about Ochoa's victory was in the press conference afterward, she was asked if she believed that she was mentally tougher than her peers. 'Yes,' she answered. It's one thing to be the best; it's another to know you're the best. Ochoa knows it, we know it, and the rest of the LPGA knows it.
ALL BUT AUGUSTA: Mark Wilson earned his second career PGA Tour title by winning the Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico, an opposite-field event. Wilson held off a handful of players seeking to, like him, add a secondary title to their resume, as well as a number of players looking for their first Tour win.
What Wilson didn't get was an automatic invite to the Masters, which does not recognize opposite-field victories. The top 50 on the Official World Golf Ranking the week prior to the season's first major will get a ticket to Augusta. Unfortunately, Wilson's win only moved him to 150th in the world.
WITH YOU ALMOST ALL THE WAY: Greg Norman suggested that players on the PGA Tour take a pay cut and have tournament purses lowered. 'It seems like on the PGA Tour the players are still playing for a million dollars first week,' he said, 'like theyre recession-proof.'
Someone making over $1 million for winning a golf tournament is sublime. I have no problem with Norman's opinion ' as long as that opinion doesn't carry over to golf writers.
HAIR TODAY ...: Back to the Match Play: While Casey was runner-up to Ogilvy, Rory McIlroy likely had the second best week of anyone in the 64-man field. The 19-year-old was taken out by Ogilvy in the quarterfinals, but managed to win three matches along the way, as well as the American crowd.
McIlroy won just a few weeks ago on the European Tour and will compete in the Masters in April. He initially made a name for himself by tying for 42nd in the 2007 Open Championship. Expectations are higher than his 'fro right now.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Thongchai Jaidee won the European Tour's Indonesian Open. ...The Charlotte event on the PGA Tour will now be known as the Quail Hollow Championship instead of the Wachovia Championship. ... Alistair Presnell won the Nationwide Tour's Moonah Classic.
It was Jaidee's first win in four years on the European circuit. ... Wachovia, the Stanford Financial fraud, Northern Trust's frivolous spending during the L.A. tournament. We'd feel sorry for for Commissioner Finchem ' if he didn't make roughly $5 million a year. ... Presnell may have had the best story of the week, saying if he didn't earn enough money over a four-tournament stretch (with this being No. 2), he'd have to return to the air conditioning industry. He's now fully exempt on the Nationwide Tour for 2009 and in good shape for the PGA Tour in 2010.