PRODIGAL SON RETURNS: It was a busy PR week for Tiger Woods as he first released photos of his family and their newest addition, son Charlie. He then announced that he would be competing in the upcoming WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, his first event since winning the 2008 U.S. Open.
Woods returning to the PGA Tour is like Michael Jordan returning to the NBA after his first 'retirement' ' without the whole failed baseball thing. When Jordan came back he dominated just as before, winning three consecutive World titles. We expect Woods will do much the same. Guess this comparison makes Padraig Harrington, Hakeem Olajuwon. Which would make Sergio Garcia, Patrick Ewing.
NICE TIMING: On the same day Woods announced he was returning to the Tour, Phil Mickelson shot 63 to lead after the first round of the Northern Trust Open. He followed that with rounds of 72-62-72 to win by one over Steve Stricker.
Mickelson had to birdie two of his final three holes ' and have Stricker bogey 18 ' in order to successfully defend his title at Riviera. He started the final round with a three-stroke lead. Had he blown it, fans and media would have roasted him like a Salem witch. As it is, there's promise for a Woods-Mickelson rivalry renewal.
TOUGH TO TAKE: While Stricker's loss was disappointing ' he had a 12-foot putt on 17 to go three up at the time ' Fred Couples endured the most disheartening defeat. At 49, and trying to win on his favorite course not named Augusta National, he was one back on 18, when his errant approach shot landed behind a eucalyptus tree. He made bogey to finish two back.
A victory at Rivieria would not only have been a great way to cap his PGA Tour career, but a nice ending to a difficult week, which began with Couples learning that his estranged wife, Thais Baker, died Tuesday of breast cancer.
BOY AMONG MEN: Danny Lee, the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, birdied his final two holes Sunday to win the European Tour's Johnnie Walker Classic by one shot over three other players.
Those three players got to share in the first-place prize as Lee is still an amateur. He expects to turn pro after the Masters, and said in the aftermath of his victory: 'All I want to do is just break what he's (Tiger Woods) done. Obviously I can't win three U.S. Amateurs in a row but I'll try to break his records on the PGA Tour.' It's good to have goals. He could have the goal of bringing the Dodo back to life and it might be just as realistic. But at least the kid's got moxie.
SHARK CAGED: Greg Norman, in his run-up to a return to Augusta National, missed the cut at the Johnnie Walker in Australia. Norman, who won the event in 1994, shot 75-71 to miss the cut by five strokes.
Norman still has a couple of months to fine tune his body and his game for the Masters. As exciting as it was to see the Shark in the hunt at last year's Open Championship, it would be double that should he contend Sunday at Augusta. Sure it's not likely to happen, but one can dream. Right, Danny Lee?
GO HOME: Anthony Kim's caddie, Eric Larson, was reportedly denied entrance into Australia due to 'an alleged failure to declare a criminal conviction in the United States.' Larson was convicted in 1995 for his part in a a small cocaine ring and served 11 years in prison.
Talk about irony: Western Australia was a penal settlement in the mid-1800s. Guess they only accept British convicts. Larson didn't miss much as his boss closed in 67 to tie for 25th. The good news for Larson: he's going to to be just fine as long as he stays on Kim's bag.
WEATHER OR NOT: Dustin Johnson was declared the winner of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am when the final round spilled over into Monday and was eventually canceled due to lingering inclement weather.
Mike Weir was bummed because he didn't get a chance to chase down Johnson. But if he was disappointed, think how we felt: instead of Monday golf, we were forced to watch infomercials with Chuck Norris.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Ryo Ishikawa, playing in the first of three U.S. events leading up to the Masters Tournament, shot 73-71 to miss the cut at Riviera by three strokes. .... Loren Roberts birdied his final hole to win the Ace Group Classic on the Champions Tour. ... Allen Stanford, chairman of Stanford Financial Group, which sponsors the PGA Tour's St. Jude Classic, has been accused of conducting an $8 billion fraudulent investment scheme.
Wonder what the over 100 credentialed Japanese media did over the weekend in L.A.? ... Roberts claimed his ninth senior title and denied Gene Jones his first. ... PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said the St. Jude event would continue ' as will America's distrust in people who wield power.