Hoggard was in Australia last week for the Emirates Australian Open and is at Royal Melbourne this week for the Presidents Cup. Tiger contended in the Australian Open before ultimately finishing third and the headline in the newspaper read “Now it’s Tiger vs. Williams.” It was all about Tiger in Sydney last week and it was amazing to see what Tiger’s presence did for that event and what his performance did to inject excitement into what is usually a quiet event. Tiger’s caddie Joe LaCava told Rex that while his longtime player Fred Couples was and is a great ball striker, he has never seen anyone hit it as flush as often as Tiger. Tiger also showed last week that he has his low stinger shot back and it is great to see him playing well and contending again. Tiger rose to 50th in the Official World Golf Ranking with his 3rd place finish in Sydney and he is excited again and showing it in his body language with some of his best shots. It seemed as though Tiger believed until the very end that he could win the tournament and he has not shown that confidence in a very long time.
He walked the back nine of Royal Melbourne and was struck not only by how similar it is to Augusta National in many ways, but also by the fact that the course demands a fade off the tee unlike Augusta National which demands a draw on almost every tee shot.
Steve Stricker is in Australia and says that he is feeling good despite the recent troubles with his neck. He has been practicing in Wisconsin and last week prior to coming to Australia he was in Phoenix with his swing coach where he played and practiced a great deal. Stricker says that he is regaining strength in his left arm and is feeling very optimistic.
As far as a playing partner for Phil Mickelson, the rumblings around Royal Melbourne tell him that the top two candidates are Nick Watney who finished T4 in the Emirates Australian Open and Dustin Johnson who he was teamed with in the 2010 Ryder Cup and are good friends and practice round partners.