BLOOMFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. ' On the eve of Glorys Last Shot, which sounds a bit like a Coppola war epic, its a good time to acknowledge a few hard truths and possibilities.
Only four people can realistically win Player of the Year and right now the clubhouse leader is home in Orlando. Padraig Harrington and Trevor Immelman could stake a claim, but only by winning a second major in 08. Kenny Perry could as well, by winning this week and the FedEx Cup Playoffs.
Tiger Woods four victories, plus the epic quality of those wins ' blowout at the Buick Invitational; Match Play comeback; Bay Hill hat slam; and the U.S. Open on a busted leg ' all in half a season make if not an airtight case certainly a compelling one.
Players should acknowledge how fortunate they are and would be wise to refrain from sounding off about a tiring schedule or a tough golf course. Were in the Motor City, and times are especially hard in the auto industry. Thousands have lost jobs or face a similar prospect.
No doubt the press will acknowledge this week one of the greatest final rounds in the history of golf ' Ben Hogans 67 here at Oakland Hills in the 1951 U.S. Open. It came several years after the near fatal car crash and before his 1953, three-majors-in-three-tries season, part of an eight-year run that many experts argue puts Hogan alongside Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus and Woods on the all-time ladder.
Phil Mickelson would undoubtedly acknowledge that without a major his year will have been a disappointment, that in Tigers absence he will have done nothing to fortify his standing as the man after the man. Hes gifted unquestionably, capable certainly, but not reliable the way Tigers reliable.
We should all acknowledge that even more progress needs to be made in the area of diversity in golf. Some 40 years after race divided Detroit, a time in which there were about half a dozen African Americans on Tour, with Charlie Sifford winning in Los Angeles, there are none competing in this years final major. Golfs doors are open wider than ever, and efforts at the grass roots level are heartening, but economics still form a barrier.
Finally, an acknowledgement that few events in any sport consistently deliver drama as the four majors do in golf. Majors matter.
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