TRIPLE THREAT: For the second time this year, Tiger Woods has three-peated in an event. He first did so at the Buick Invitational. He has now done so at the WGC-CA Championship. Strangely enough, this was a pair of three-peats wrapped up in one. It was his third straight win at Doral Country Club and his third straight win in what used to be the American Express Championship. Woods has now won five different tournaments three years in a row. He can add to that total at this years Open Championship - and do it for the second time in his career at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
PUTTING ON A SHOW: Woods called his putting pathetic following his opening-round 1-under 71. Those 32 swipes left him four off the lead. Twenty-six putts later on Friday and he was atop the leaderboard. He needed only 28 more rolls in round three to all of a sudden go up by four. He needed just about all of those strokes, too, as he took 33 putts on Sunday to barely hang on for victory. This was his sixth CA Championship title, giving him more in this tournament than any other one on TOUR.
COMMERICAL SUCCESS: Woods is one of 20 PGA TOUR players who will star in a $25 million ad campaign to promote the FedExCup, according to USA Today. For all of his commercial endeavors, this will be the first time the games most notable and marketable player has acted for free in a TOUR advertisement. Tigers spot will feature him communing with a painting of Bobby Jones, asking for a sign as to whether or not he will win the inaugural Cup. A mascot, dressed from head to toe in a Tiger outfit, then comes walking by. OK, that works, Tiger deadpans, according to the paper.
HERO WORSHIP: Albert Pujols, you may be getting a call from Tiger very soon. Woods seems to have a tendency to develop relationships with the cream of the crop in other sports and leagues ' Michael Jordan, Wayne Gretzky, Peyton Manning, even Annika Sorenstam. His latest BFF is tennis No. 1, Roger Federer. Federer joined Woods for dinner Tuesday night on his yacht and then inside the ropes for Wednesdays practice round. Woods then attended Federers Saturday night match about 15 minutes away in Key Biscayne. Federer won easily; Woods struggled a bit more the next day, but held on for the win.
CHARLES IN CHARGE: The next time you see Charles Howell III, he will be in his native Augusta for the Masters Tournament ' and hell be trying to put behind him the nightmare of a year ago. Howell shot 80-84 to not only miss the cut, but finish dead last ' behind Charles Coody. Dont expect a repeat performance this time around. Howell earned his sixth top-20 of the season at Doral, more than he had in all of 2006. A closing 75 kept him out of the top 10, but Howell still has five top-10 finishes this year (he's never had more than seven in a single season) and a win (his first since 2002).
JUST SAY NO: Carolyn Bivens has taken a great deal of heat since becoming LPGA Tour commissioner. But she does seem to be one step ahead of the PGA TOUR in implementing policy. The LPGA beat the boys to the punch in installing a playoff system, and now they have come out with a list of banned substances. The Tour wont test for everything that is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), like Human Growth Hormones, but it will test for 33 anabolic steroids, 29 stimulants and 20 beta-blockers, among other substances, beginning in 2008.
QUEEN OF THE MOUNTAIN: Its one thing to make it to the mountain top. Its another thing to stay there. Lorena Ochoa is off to a good start at retaining her LPGA Tour player of the year title by capturing her first event of 2007 in the Safeway International (at Superstition Mountain, no less). Ochoa made four birdies in her final five holes en route to a hard-fought victory. She now shares the top spot on the points list for P.O.Y. with Stacy Prammanasudh. Next up: the Kraft Nabisco Championship, where Ochoa has a bit of revenge on her mind as she lost a year ago to Karrie Webb in a playoff.
DECISIONS, DECISIONS: Skip Kendall has a bit of a predicament ' albeit a good one. Thanks to a 157th-place showing on last years PGA TOUR money list, the veteran is splitting his time this year between the primary and secondary circuits. He won this past weeks Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Nationwide Tour, which moved him to fourth in earnings, with the top 20 at seasons end gaining PGA TOUR privileges for 2008. He now must decide whether or not he wants to spend more time in the minors to secure a spot in the majors next season. The victory was Kendalls first on either tour since 1994.
FEELING GREEN: Mark Calcavecchia, despite making quadruple-bogey on the final hole Sunday at Doral, can expect a little something special in the mail this week. Calcavecchia qualified for the Masters Tournament by virtue of his position on the money list following this past weeks event in Miami. Calcavecchia is 10th in seasonal earnings, with the top 10 after Doral getting invitations to the seasons first major championship. This will be just the second time since 2002 that Calc has competed at Augusta National.
WHAT DO AZALEAS SMELL LIKE?: Mark Wilson, surprise winner of the Honda Classic earlier this month, came into this week in the ninth spot on the money list. Needing to stay inside the top 10 to gain entry into the Masters for the first time, Wilson can thank a couple of major champions for saving him traveling expenses to Augusta. Tiger Woods, who was 11th on the money list coming in, and Geoff Ogilvy, who was 10th, finished first and T-3, respectively, thus bumping Wilson out of the top 10, leaving him to wonder what the flowers smell like off the Augusta fairways.
Last year she had an eagle chip to win it and a birdie would have gotten her into a playoff. This year, however, Michelle Wie will have no such chances, as she officially pulled out of the Kraft Nabisco due to a nagging wrist injury. Though her forays into the men's game get far more publicity; her record in women's majors is simply outstanding, albiet without a win.
THROW THAT 60 IN THE TRASH: Brendan Pappas must have been having a conversation with the golfing gods during the opening round of the Chitimacha Louisiana Open. The South African made things look easy as he made his way around Le Triomphe Country Club with a bogey-free, 11-under 60, one off a magical 59. Alas, golfing gods being golfing gods, Pappas turned around the very next day and shot a 74 and somehow faded from contention.
REALLY! HE'S THE 4th BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD: We all know top-ranked players usually eat up the par-5s at TOUR events. Sometimes, however, the top-ranked players perform like, well, the rank-and-file hackers of the world. Take Adam Scott at the par-5 10th at Doral, where the world's fourth-ranked player posted an eye-popping 10 in the first round. Yikes! As painful as that one hole was, it might not have hurt as much as his closing 80.
MAJOR WARM-UP?: With the LPGA Tour's first major ready to start and the Masters next week, it had to be a bit disconcerning for several big names from both tours in their tune-ups for their respective majors. Retief Goosen limped away from Doral with a tie for 58th, following a plus-9 final score, and Scott topped that with an 11-over tie for 61st. On the ladies side, Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak and Cristie Kerr will head to the Kraft Nabisco coming off a missed cut. Not the kind of mojo these superstars had in mind.
TOUGH RIDE, COWBOY: Television coverage had yet to come on by the time Shingo Katayama had finished up his round Sunday in Miami, so unless you were there, it was tough to know whether he was still wearing that ever-present cowboy hat for which he has become known -- or if he had lost it after being bucked off a bull of a course. If he wasn't, who could blame him. After starting the tournament with a birdie, the Japanese star went on to produce 19 bogeys, three doubles and a triple. His opening-round 81 eventually made way for a last-place finish, a whopping 30 shots behind Tiger.
TO SPIT OR NOT TO SPIT: Sergio, Sergio, Sergio. Cotton mouth he has not. The fiery 27-year-old Spaniard, ticked off by yet another missed short putt that lead to a three-putt bogey on the 13th hole Saturday, not-so-kindly spit into the bottom of the cup after retrieving his ball. He then later snapped at reporters who dared asked him about the incident.
SHOW NORWAY THE DOORWAY: She put up a noble fight, making last year's Player of the Year Lorena Ochoa sweat it out all the way down to the 18th hole. Unfortunately for Norway's Suzann Pettersen, she came up just a bit shy. Starting the final round with five birdies on the first seven holes, Pettersen could only muster one more birdie the rest of the way and lost to Ochoa by two strokes.
NOT SO FAST, MY FRIEND: Moving down to the Nationwide Tour this week didnt do anything for PGA TOUR regular Craig Perks. The 2002 PLAYERS champion missed the cut in Louisiana, the state where he attended college. He has made only one cut on either tour since July 2005. Carlos Franco, Len Mattiace, Chris Smith, Steve Pate, and a handful of other former TOUR winners also failed to make it to the weekend.