At 79-years-young the King ' hosting his 30th Arnold Palmer Invitational ' looked more like a charged-up college student than the stoic host as he watched Tiger Woods make more magic on his final green.
Few can appreciate Woods accomplishments better than Palmer and Jack Nicklaus and it was a telling moment to watch Palmer celebrate Woods heroics for the second consecutive year. Perhaps only a true artist can appreciate a singular masterpiece.
And if officials needed a reason to be optimistic, the seasons first major championship delivered. Lumped within the top 20 through 1 rounds was Paula Creamer, Natalie Gulbis and Michelle Wie. The only thing missing was Lorena Ochoa, but she still had 18 holes to join the fun.
Give officials credit for making the most of a tough spot on the schedule with an intense golf course maintenance program that simulates, as best any course can, conditions at Augusta National, and give players kudos for adding the event to busy schedules.
MADE CUT' DID NOT FINISH (MDF)
During the Nationwide Tour event in Wichita, Kan., a few years ago John Maginnes teed off on No. 10 and birdied his first two holes, both from inside 10 feet using yardages from his caddie Donald Weasel Irvings yardage book.
Irving at the par-3 12th: You got 186 (yards) front, 194 hole.
Maginnes: That sprinkler head says 148.
Irving as he pulls his yardage book from its protective case: Are we up a tee?
Irving: Where we at?
Maginnes: No. 12
Irving: No, no where we at?
Irving: Well, this book is from Springfield.
After a few moments the laughter subsided and Irving offered the coup de grace: Well hell, we aint been 2 under in a while. Lets just go with this one.
Now thats good TV.
Were more concerned about the finished product that shows up on Monday at Augusta National then the slightly rough-around-the-edges model that stumbles its way around Redstone.
Bottom line: the golf world needs a Tiger/Phil Sunday finale at the Masters like Penn needs Teller. Not once have the two set off in the same group on a Sunday of a major championship. Historical truth of the matter is theyve only been paired together in a final round just four times, the last being that memorable shootout at the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship.
Lets hope last weeks DUI in South Carolina doesnt change things and that DJ takes his lumps and moves on. We all make mistakes. The sign of a better person is learning from them.
The other, Golfweeks Top 100 Classic Courses had a different spin. Now, weve never played Michigans Crystal Downs, and were sure its a wonderful place to spend an afternoon, but at eighth on the list Crystal Downs is two spots ahead of Augusta National. In the name of full disclosure, it must be noted that your correspondent served as a Golfweek rater for nearly 10 years before joining GolfChannel.com.
Just a hunch, but if you polled 1,000 American golfers and asked if theyd rather play Augusta National or Crystal Downs, 999 are going to go with The National. We could be wrong.
Email your thoughts to Rex Hoggard