By RANDALL MELL
Tiger Woods starts taking healing medicine this week.
He starts a treatment plan that prevents Phil Mickelson from taking that No. 1 ranking away from him and leads to competitive recuperation before we even reach the FedEx Cup playoffs.
A dose of Muirfield Village beginning Thursday should be good for what ails Woods’ game if not his personal life. Woods has won the Memorial four times. He got his driver right on those expansive fairways a year ago, hitting all 14 in a final-round 65 to win.
The treatment plan’s next step is a therapeutic regimen at Pebble Beach, where Woods won the U.S. Open by 15 shots a decade ago.
In July, Woods is off for more therapy at the British Open at St. Andrews, where he won by five and eight shots the last two times he played there.
Woods is ailing, no question, but the treatment plan looks like exactly what he needs to right his game. That’s if it’s only his swing that’s broken. If it’s his spirit that’s broken, well, all bets are off. Still, betting against Woods when he’s between the ropes has never been a good bet. Betting against him at Muirfield Village, Pebble Beach and St. Andrews is a worse bet yet.
By REX HOGGARD
Tiger Woods will likely have the most eventful summer, if current form on and off the golf course holds, but it will be Phil Mickelson, currently No. 2 in the world ranking and the only player still clinging to any Grand Slam expectations, who will have the bigger summer.
For players of Woods and Mickelson’s ilk golf is a pass/fail endeavor based entirely on one’s performance at the majors.
Following Padraig Harrington’s record-setting 2008 Woods gave his own Player of the Year nod to the Irishman. It was simple math for Woods, one major, albeit of the historic variety on one good leg, to two.
One turn into the 2010 Grand Slam season Mickelson holds the advantage, while Woods’ efforts are best characterized as incomplete.
On Saturday at The Players Woods said he would get more “reps” before the U.S. Open. A day later he made it just six holes before a convoy of SUVs and a previously-undisclosed neck ailment cut short his final round.
Woods can turn the tide, particularly at Pebble Beach, to say nothing of St Andrews. But he will need to do it quickly if he intends to keep pace with Mickelson. He’s already spotted him a green jacket.