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Press Pass All-Time Upsets in Golf History


Press PassEach week, GOLF CHANNEL experts and analysts offer their thoughts and opinions on hot topics in the world of golf with the Press Pass.
Hot Topic
Outside of his three major wins, was this Phil Mickelson's most important career victory?
Brian Hewitt Brian Hewitt - Columnist, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Yes, actually. And for the obvious reason that he did it on a final day while playing in the same twosome with Tiger Woods. He bearded the Tiger in his own den. Now Mickelson needs to do the same in a major and people will begin whispering that he has Tiger figured out.
Mercer Baggs Mercer Baggs - Senior Producer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
Good question. Time will tell, but I think it may very well be Mickelson' most important, non-major victory. It all depends on how he fares should the two do battle head-to-head in a major. A couple of years ago, Vijay Singh took down Tiger one-on-one in Boston, but Woods quickly re-established his dominance over Singh and the rest of the TOUR. Tiger only seems to get madder -- and better -- when you shoot him.
Ian Hutchinson Ian Hutchinson - Contrib. Writer, GOLFCHANNEL.com:
It would definitely rank right up there for a couple of reasons, not the least of which was his ability to operate under the direct glare of Tiger. There are times when you think Mickelson is a character player and other times when you question that. This is one of the times that looks good on him, especially after the season he's had in 2007 with the wrist injury. The timing of his outstanding performance was excellent with it not only being The Playoffs, but also with the Presidents Cup on the horizon.
Hot Topic
The college football season got off to bang with arguably the biggest upset in the history of its sport. What's the biggest upset you've ever witnessed in golf?
Well, I wasn't there for Francis Ouimet or Jack Fleck. But Nathaniel Crosby winning the U.S. Amateur in 1981 was a shocker. And I'm having a hard time thinking of a bigger upset than Ben Curtis winning the Open Championship in 2003. But I'll go with Hilary Lunke winning the U.S. Women's Open in 2003. I'm sure I'm forgetting something.
Ben Curtis winning the 2003 Open Championship. Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III and even Thomas Bjorn all had great chances to win on Sunday. And instead it was the 396th player in the world who got it done. At the time, Curtis was as familiar to most golf fans as fashion sense. In fact, 2003 was an upset year in the majors with Hilary Lunke in the Women's Open and Shaun Micheel at the PGA Championship.
Any major not won by Tiger. You hear the word upset thrown around all the time, but the nature of golf is that the word doesn't work in this game. You expect the unexpected. That's how names like Ben Curtis and Todd Hamilton get noticed. If it's a sheer exquisite unexpected moment you're looking for, was there anything sweeter than Nicklaus' win at the Masters in '86?
Hot Topic
Next year's BMW Championship will move from Chicago to St. Louis. Should the PGA TOUR rotate Playoff event sites or keep the current four?
I don't mind the venues rotating. But I do have a problem with Chicago not being on the TOUR schedule on a regular basis. Next year there will be no PGA TOUR event in Chicago. That's not right. It's a hot golf market. And the players love the city. There have been smoke signals coming out of Ponte Vedra Beach that at the earliest opportunity Chicago will return to the TOUR schedule on a yearly basis.
The first three Playoff events should definitely rotate. It's not likely to happen, but the TOUR should have three tournaments and their sites be designated for The Playoffs one year, and three different ones the next. Areas like N.Y., Boston and Chicago shouldn't lose events on an annual basis. They should still stage their events as regular tournaments, but other venues should be allowed to host Playoffs, too. Of course, it's much more complicated than that, but that is what I'd like to see. The TOUR Championship - the ultimate Playoff event - could stay in Atlanta each year.
Whether that's possible will depend on what agreements are in place, but I don't think it would hurt The Playoffs if that were to happen. This is one of the bugs to be worked out if we are to have playoffs in golf, which is like no other sport because nobody is fighting for home field advantage. Showcasing it in different markets would certainly help sell The Playoffs and, let's face it, there is still a lot of selling it to do. All of the other major sports move their playoffs and championships around, but usually, that depends on the teams that are competing. The Super Bowl moves every year. You may want to talk to the Royal Canadian Golf Association. They move the Canadian Open around every year and they wouldn't mind being slotted in as a playoff event on the schedule.
Hot Topic
What is the ONE thing you are most looking forward to this week?
To see if Tiger and Phil are the top two in the FedExCup points standings going into East Lake. I'd love to see them going head-to-head again Thursday and Friday. And Saturday and Sunday of the TOUR Championship, for that matter.
There is no home advantage in these playoffs, but Tiger playing at Cog Hill is about as close as it comes. Woods has won here three times and has been runner-up each of the last two years. I want to see if Tiger can win and take the lead into the final event in Atlanta.
I'm obviously biased on this one because of my Canadian heritage, but it will be interesting to see what Mike Weir does now that he's out of The Playoffs. How does he stay sharp with the Presidents Cup just a few weeks away? Canadian fans will be expecting a lot of him and he was a controversial captain's pick by Gary Player, so he'll want to be at his best in Montreal.
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