News and Views for the Week

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NEWS: Phil Mickelson refuses to let the controversy die and still insists nobody is paying him any attention for speaking the truth: Namely Tiger Woods isn't playing with the best equipment.
 
VIEWS: Yo, Lefty. Tiger is playing the equipment he chooses to play. It's about distance control and trajectory management and comfort levels. Time for you to just move on and let it be. Or as Mark Calcavecchia told the Palm Beach Post: 'It's something Phil probably should have just let go.'
 
NEWS: Brian Kontak says he wants to play in the U.S. Women's Open even though the rules and the odds are pretty clearly stacked against him.
 
VIEWS: Do you like buzzwords? Try 'non-starter.' Or 'disconnect.' That's the effect Kontak's arguments are having on me in the year of the gender-bender story in golf. I loved it when Golf Channel co-anchor Vince Cellini called the Kontak story a 'Reverse Annika' on Golf Central last week. Sounds more like a wrestling hold that a legitimate issue.
 
NEWS: Tiger Woods purples the air with a stream of obscenities at Riviera when a cell phone goes off in the midst of a three-putt green.
 
VIEWS: Why is it that so many people hammer Pat Perez for smashing clubs into the ground while Tiger continually gets away with bad language? I think Tiger's getting a free pass on this and that's a double standard. The second part of this issue is cell phones on golf courses. People who violate the rules against having them on during play should banned from Tour events for at least a year.
 
NEWS: The first name of the Masters chairman is 'Hootie.' The last name of the Augusta, Ga. sheriff is 'Strength.' When Martha Burk visited Augusta she was seen signing autographs at a local restaurant.
 
VIEWS: Who's writing the script for all this, Hunter Thompson? I mean now they're reporting that two other groups have applied for protest permits. One is an organization called WAMB which stands for Women Against Martha Burk. The other is a man who operates a website www:theburkstopshere.com. . . . Sheesh.
 
NEWS: Mike Weir wins the Nissan Open at Riviera, a tournament in which he had missed the cut in all his four previous appearances.
 
VIEWS: So much for the horses-for-courses theory. Weir, by the way, has snuck up to No. 1 on the money list and has finished ninth, first, third and first, respectively in his four starts this year. That groundswell growing in the provinces is making a noise that sounds suspiciously like: 'Tiger who? Ernie who?'
 
NEWS: Charles Howell shoots 73 in the final round at Riviera and loses to Weir in a playoff.
 
VIEWS: Despite this loss, Howell has moved to the head of my class of young guns. He will learn from this and he will be less tentative next time.
 
NEWS: Aaron Baddeley, still another young gun, signs a deal with McGregor that gives him distribution rights for the company's equipment in Australia and New Zealand. Baddeley is 21 years old.
 
VIEWS: How long will it be before Baddeley has his own wine label and a yacht bigger than the one countryman Greg Norman paid six bazillion dollars for? 'Good question?' a smiling Baddeley said recently on The Golf Channel Pre-Game Show.
 
NEWS: A svelte, 180-pound Jack Nicklaus is playing pain free and hasn't given up on the idea of entering the Masters this year at the age of 63.
 
VIEWS: Nicklaus will go to Augusta if he makes the cut at the Ford Championship next month at Doral. If not, he will skip the Masters and, like Norman, be happy to have avoided the Martha Burk-Hootie Johnson circus that certainly will occur.