HELLO, DUBAI: It's a pretty good time to be Tiger Woods. The world's No. 1 came from behind to win the Dubai Desert Classic with six back-nine birdies to edge 54-hole leader Ernie Els. It seems painfully obvious that Woods feeds off of comments like the one Ian Poulter made, and is now 2-foir-2 in 2008.
After opening the week with a 65 it seemed like it would be another runaway for Tiger. But to make things interesting Woods cooled off, spotting the leader, Ernie Els, a four-stroke cushion, only to shoot a 65 on Sunday to win by one. After being asked whether he liked winning at the Buick by eight or in Dubai Woods said, "I like (winning) by seven or eight a lot. It's a lot less stressful."
OH, ERNIE: Els stood four back of Tiger as they headed into the weekend at Dubai and proceeded to blow by the world’s No. 1 and his arch nemesis with a near flawless third-round 65. Four ahead of Tiger entering Sunday’s final round, Els suffered yet another collapse with three back-nine bogeys, none worse than the one coming on the 72nd hole, when a birdie would had gotten him into a playoff.
Much has been made – mostly by Els – of the South African’s three-year plan of overtaking Tiger as the game’s No. 1 player. Already one of the most resilient players on tour, this latest collapse, however, could take a serious toll on the Big Easy’s three-year plan and perhaps his overall legacy on the game. A few more choking incidences like this and he will be treading in Greg Norman waters.
WHAT'S UP, HOLMES?: The playoff between Phil Mickelson and J.B. Holmes was a fitting end to the PGA TOUR's most exciting week in golf. Holmes, in his first ever playoff, defeated Mickelson on the first playoff hole to win the FBR Open at the TPC Scottsdale.
Mickelson battled his way into contention late, but just didn't have enough juice to win in the playoff. The Arizona State graduate got some of the biggest cheers of the weekend, particularly at the par-3 16th. But in the end it was Holmes getting the victory and walking away with the giant check.
PARTY IN THE DESERT: The FBR Open cemented its legendary status as the biggest party on the PGA TOUR this year. A record of over 500,000 fans made their way out to TPC Scottsdale for the drinks, women, and debauchery... Oh, and when they had time, some golf, too.
With the Super Bowl nearly within a Bubba Watson tee shot, this year's FBR broke all sorts of attendance records. Just to put it in perspective, all the fans who attended the final round made the TPC Scottsdale the seventh biggest city in Arizona, with a higher population than the city of Scottsdale itself.
BRAIN F*RT:"I haven't played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger," Ian Poulter recently told Golf World magazine. Poulter later called it a misquote saying, "The whole answer to the question has been taken out of context." Poulter finished tied for 39th in Dubai, a mere 13 strokes behind Woods.
Poulter proved to be all talk this weekend in Dubai, and why he felt the need to challenge the best golfer in the world to play better is beyond us. But for as good as Poulter is, and there is little doubt the Englishman is talented, maybe he should call Rory Sabbatini, or Stephen Ames, to ask how it turned out for them after verbally challenging the Mr. Woods
WIE WOULD LIKE TO PLAY:Michele Wie accepted a sponsor's exemption to play in The Fields Open in Hawaii, hopeful of getting her career back on track after last year's tough season. Wie has started her season at the Sony Open on the PGA TOUR the previous four years but she did not play the Sony this year, a sign that she plans to concentrate on the LPGA while trying to regain her form.
After a tumultous 2007 season Wie will be looking for a more consistent 2008 as she tries to manage professional golf with being a freshman at Stanford. Wie is still trying to live up to her lofty expectations, but it is easy to forget that she is only 18-years-old.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:Jarrod Lyle won the Nationwide Tour's Mexico Open event in Morelia; Leo Fiyalko, a 92-year-old blind man, recorded a hole-in-one on the fifth hole at the Cove Cay Country Club in Clearwater, Fla.
Lyle, a 26-year-old Australian, won his first Nationwide Tour victory in style, firing a final-round 63 for a five-shot win; A 92-year-old blind man gets a hole in one? Who saw that coming? Well, certainly not him. Here's hoping his other senses are heightened and at least he could hear the ball go into the cup.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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