Every Sunday in golf is super.
With apologies to Tom Brady and Adam Vinatieri and Ricky Proehl and Jake Delhomme, Ill take Arnold Palmer and Jonathan Kaye and Miguel Angel Jimenez and Phil Mickelson.
You can have the frenzy of Reliant Stadium in Houston. Ill take the madness of the arena that is the 16th hole at the TPC of Scottsdale at an event theyre now calling the FBR Open.
FBR. It stands for Friedman, Billings and Ramsey, the new title sponsor of the tournament formerly known as the Phoenix Open.
But acronyms were made to be broken. Try FBR as in Full-Blown Riot. Thats riot in the best sense. No violence. Just a lot of testosterone and noise. Every couple of weeks out of the year a little craziness in golf is a little refreshing.
You can have former player Michael Irvin mugging for the cameras during the Super Bowl post-mortems. Ill take current player Chris DiMarco taking his medicine (and not particularly liking it) moments after finishing second to Kaye despite making six straight birdies on the back nine.
Yes, it was one of those kind of weekends in our sport. Phil Phil Will Be Phil Mickelson was tied for the lead with five holes remaining and lost by an astonishing six shots. Still, his play at Phoenix coupled with his victory at last weeks Bob Hope Chrysler Classic leaves us with the feeling that one of our games gifted players has moved back into the best fraternity house after living off campus for 18 months.
To extend the Greek metaphor, the chapter president was up to his old tricks again as well. That would be 74-year-old Arnold Daniel Palmer, who made five birdies in a seven-hole stretch on his way to beating Jack Nicklaus and Lee Trevino at the Wendys Champions Skins Game in Hawaii.
Spains Miguel Angel Jimenez shot 31 going out Sunday in Thailand and hung on while Thomas Bjorn bogeyed both back-nine par-5s at the Johnnie Walker Classic. Jimenez wore an orange shirt to match his pony-tailed coiffure en route to his eighth victory on the Euro Tour. The significant stat here: Jimenez turned 40 last month. We should have known.
Speaking of ages, its hard to believe that Kaye, who wears the look of a guy who just burned a bootleg Grateful Dead CD, is just six weeks younger than Mickelson, who won his first PGA event 13 seasons ago. Kaye wears a soul patch under his lower lip. Mickelson wears a Ford patch on his shirt. Both are 33. And both have every bit as much identity as Sundays in golf.
Now the tour jumps from the raucous frying pan that is the TPC of Scottsdale into the banked fire of beauty that is the Monterey Peninsula. The AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am will never suffer from an identity crisis, no matter what they decide to call it.
Robert Louis Stevenson once referred to the curve of Carmel Bay as it simultaneously embraces and buffets the sand and rocks at Pebble Beach as the most felicitous meeting of land and sea in creation.
Creation is the key word there. Jonathan Kaye has introduced himself to golfs stage with the help of a game that is sounder than the casual observer might suspect. Phil Mickelson has returned after being absent without leave. The last two winners on the European Tour have sported pony tails. Arnold Palmer, in his eighth decade, is still shaking down the thunder.
So, nicely done, New England Patriots. Quarterback Brady, the experts are now saying, is Joe Montana Lite.
Im not sure what label we should affix to Jonathan Kaye or what the next story will be that pops onto golfs radar screen. But I cant wait until next Sunday to find out.
With apologies to Roget, Webster, Merriam, Bartlett and Miss Pemberton, my eighth grade English teacher, every Sunday in golf is super.
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