Here we all sit, a week removed from Tiger Woods' 12th major title, a few days removed from Tom Lehmans Ryder Cup captains picks, a month or so away from the Ryder Cup itself, and a few months away from a new season which puts a good bit of PGA TOUR golf in the hands of The Golf Channel and a whole lot of FedEX Cup money into the pockets of the players.
So what to think? Actually a lot. So here goes:
Tigers headed for his biggest stint of domination since turning professional. Somehow I cant see it any other way. Much as Id like to see a stiffer brand of Sunday competition when Tigers in the mix, sadly these Sundays have become predictably predictable.
If youre on the bandwagon ridden by those expecting a disappearing act of Vijay Singh, Ernie Els, Davis Love III and other big names whove challenged Woods for headlines and been among the favorites at big events ' dont get a comfy seat. The PGA TOUR is thankfully littered with stories of 40somethings and late 40somethings whove been big winners. If Vijay can do what he did in his 40s, then so can Ernie. Believe me, so can Ernie. None of these guys is done.
Love not on the Ryder Cup team? Hard to believe but you (and he) had to see it coming. Davis is one of the most likeable guys on the PGA TOUR. Now hell become one of the most determined. And that will be a great thing.
Can you believe Retief Goosen hasnt won on the PGA TOUR this year? I sure cant.
Stewart Cink and Scott Verplank? No wow factor. But name a European Ryder Cup team that had much wow beyond the the likes of Faldo, Montgomerie, Ballesteros and Langer over the years. There wasnt a pick aside from John Daly and whoevers No. 1 on the Nationwide Tour money list this week that would have made huge noise. Maybe this team without a lot of hype and fanfare is just what the doctor ordered.
By the way, its Johnson Wagner at the top of the Nationwide Tour money list. And really ' Tom Lehman could have gone with his two vice captains (Corey Pavin and Loren Roberts) and not done half bad.
So who among PGA TOUR rookies is going to give Tiger a run for his FedEX Cup money in the next few years. Heres some choices: Immelman, Holmes, Villegas, Hoffman, and Watson (Bubba).
Do you really think Tiger wont win this weeks WGC-Bridgestone Invitational? Hes won 10 of 20 WGC events hes played. Hes won $13 million dollars in those events and has 18 top-20s.
Will anyone ever wear a red shirt again when paired with Woods on a Sunday? In a major no less?
For those who think Luke Donald has emerged as the best European Tour player out there right now, lets not get too far ahead of ourselves. Sergio Garcia still has the most talent. Donald might be the most refined, but when a guy makes 16 birdies over three days on a course that had a one-week firesale on them, and then makes ZERO on Sunday when the heat is on and everyones still going low, it says he still has work to do. Not that Sergio is the Sunday role model, but I think hes still Europes best hope for its first major since Henry Ford put a car on the road.
Wasnt Paula Creamer supposed to go bananas this year? And for that matter, what eight-month cruise ship has Grace Park been on?
Phil Mickelson will be just fine in 2007. In fact, Ill say it right now: Hell win a major next year ' maybe the first one. And my friend Dave Pelz didnt even tell me to say it.
And think about it. How would you handle the year after the 18th at Winged Foot? Surprising to look at his results ' he really hasnt been a threat since Augusta and the fact that he nearly won the U.S. Open without his best game off the tee is a huge testament to his talent.
From this media guys perspective, Lehman has set a new pre-Ryder Cup standard for captains. Hes a true leader. But while Tiger might be viewed as the leader of the team among players, the guy who might fall second might just be Chris DiMarco. And when its all said and done, the points leader might well be Jim Furyk.
Anybody wonder if Michelle Wies put in her application for PGA TOUR Q-school?
If that last one doesnt get you thinking ' I dont know what will. Whats on your mind? As always, I'm all ears.