1. SBS Championship at Kapalua, Maui. Let’s get balls in the air! And what a place to start. Kapalua is one of the best and most magical spots on the planet. I've travelled the world (at least 3 times around), been to many a goat ropin' and several shrub judgins'. You might say I've seen it all, but I'm always excited to go home. Except when I leave Kapalua. It’s the only place on the planet where I get sad when I leave.
2. The Open Championship at St. Andrews. Even though I am a Southerner (breaking news), the Open Championship is my favorite major. I love links golf and I just can't get over the fact that guys smacking rocks with shepherd crooks around a stretch of land good for nothing but that purpose are the forefathers of our great game. And it all started at St. Andrews. It is unique and well above comparison.
3. The Masters. Well, it’s the Masters. The back nine Sunday is back ... and I hope for good.
4. PGA Championship at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. This Pete Dye gem is a true American classic, and you don't even feel like you are in America. It’s a love it or hate it golf course. If the wind is up, it may be possible that just one man will love it in August.
5. AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. I just finished 'The Match' by Mark Frost. I sure wish I had read that book before playing this event for the first time. Great read. Great event. Frost traces the history of the 'Clam Bake' and it's fascinating. A new course is in play this year and the Monterrey Peninsula CC is reputed to be a beauty. I've never played it as the club has a requirement that you must keep your shirt on at all times. That’s a commitment I just can't make. Just watching Bill Murray play golf is enough to get my attention. And finally, if you attend the event, you have to try some fried squid. They have it in stands all over the place. Prior to my first trip to Pebble Beach I thought squid was just used for catching catfish. Now I know why it works so well. That stuff is good!
6. The U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Always a great U.S. Open venue. I missed the cut there in 1992. I think it was because I ate too much fried squid.
7. The John Deere Classic. This was a favorite during my playing days and remains so today. Events like this are the heart and soul of the PGA Tour. It’s a great fit for the community and hopefully John Deere as well. Kudos to the players who keep the John Deere Classic on their schedule and also to the community that supports this event. And did I mention that they have world class pork chop sandwiches on the course? I can close my eyes and smell those babies grillin’ right now.
8. St. Jude Classic in Memphis. Charlie Vergos' Rendezvous Ribs. 355 North Main Street. Charlie Rymer 5-Star rated (out of 5). And in case you are counting, that’s two consecutive picks that involve pork. My record is four.
9. The Barclays at Ridgewood Country Cub in Paramus, N.J. Viewers tuning in this year will miss the beautiful camera shots of the Statue of Liberty that were such a treat at Liberty National in 2009. But they will come to love Ridgewood. Designed by A.W. Tillinghast and opened in 1929, it is an absolute beauty. It’s some of 'Tillie the Terrible's' finest work. I'm a huge fan of classic architecture and I'm always thrilled to see a great old course added to the PGA Tour. And did I mention this is the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs?
10. HP Byron Nelson Championship. I have the course record at the TPC at Four Seasons [It’s a 61 gross. Really. All 18 holes. I was paired with Davis Love III. He shot 71. I beat him by 10. In one day. Really.]. If you listen to the broadcast of the tournament I'm real sure they will mention me. At least they better! Hey, when you only have one career highlight you gotta fit it in somewhere.