Woods Mickelson or Stricker

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This just inPGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem has announced a new corporate deal with a hydroplane manufacturer to replace PGA Tour courtesy carsWest Coast only!
 
Lets face it ' Mother Nature has done its best to dampen the spirit of the West Coast Swing. The weather weve seen the last two weeks has been dreadful ' at best. And Ill be the first to say that my enthusiasm for the PGA Tour has been hurt of late. In fact, I cant think of the skids being put on momentum to a greater degree.
 
The Nissan Open was a huge disappointment. Thirty-six holes seemed like a waste of time. And one hole to settle things seemed strange. Actually, it seemed like a slap in the face given a year thats already given us Appleby, Singh, Woods, Leonard, and Mickelson as official trophy holders.
 
Just think of the excitement had Adam Scott won the Nissan in 72 holes over the likes of Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke and Chad Campbell. Wed really have something to talk about.
 
I hardly believe I was alone in thinking bad thoughts. After all, I really get revved up for the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. But when the L.A. rains didnt let go and word leaked (pun intended) that the next tour stop La Costa had turned into La Lake-aId had enough. And youd be hard pressed to convince me that Finchem himself might have considered drowning his West Coast sorrows as well.
 
I needed a few days awaybut now, weather permitting, Im back. All four of the top seeds at La Costa have survived the first days play and the leaderboard at the Chrysler Classic of Tucson is equally as intriguing.
 
So heremy glass is now half full and we have some great possibilities this weekend:
 
  • To the few who enjoy passing opinion that Tiger Woods is overkill, Im sorry. The PGA Tour could really use a Woods vs. Mickelson semi-final. The winner wouldnt be all that important to the story. The story would be the match-up we never seem to get.
     
  • Fred Couples and John Daly provide great potential stories too. If youre looking for ratings and a chance to forget about last weekend ' either would fit the bill.
     
  • Lets hope Vijay Singh returns to form. Last year was too good to forget. His continued great play only strengthens the run of hype for the Masters.
     
  • Beware any of the following: Stewart Cink, Padraig Harrington, Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia, Stuart Appleby or David Toms. Each is more than capable of a run to the finals.
     
  • Davis Love III is in need of a big week. Really in need. Hes far too good to be forgotten. And his passion for a Green Jacket runs very deep. If hes going to give himself a chance this year ' hed better get going soon.
     
    Enough on the Match Play. My real rooting interest this weekend takes me to Tucson for the Chrysler Classic of Tucson. For those who think two tournaments in one week on the PGA Tour is too much, perhaps the name Steve Stricker will change your thinking.
     
    Steve Stricker
    Steve Stricker's last PGA Tour win came at the 2001 Match Play.
    Strickers disappointing 2004 caused him to fall outside of not only the Top 125, but also the Top 150. Meaning his starts on the PGA Tour this year would come only with status as a Past Champion or via the sponsors exemption.
     
    Steve Stricker opened with a terrific round. If youve spent any time with or around Stricker youd know him as a tournament directors dream. Hes as clean as they come. Hes as good with the amateur as they come and when hes on his game, his opportunity to win would provide as good a defending champion as could be found.
     
    Admittedly, Strickers odds at contending, let alone winning, are an Ill believe it when I see it situation. Hes struggled mightily the last few years. But the fact that hes found himself with more status on the Nationwide Tour than he has this year on the PGA Tour might just be the motivating factor he needs.
     
    And if he needs a few more, he can look at the name thats also near the top of the leaderboard in Tucson after Round 1. Mario Tiziani is a PGA Tour rookie and Strickers brother-in-law!
     
    The fact that Strickers contention in Tucson comes during the same week as the WGC Accenture Match Play is also interesting.
     
    Strickers last PGA Tour win came at the Match Play in Australia back in 2001. Regaining his status for the PGA Tour during the week of the event he last won would be sweet. It would also give proof to the importance of a PGA Tour stop in Tucson opposite a WGC event.
     
    Good stories are all around us in golf. The PGA Tour is full of them. Yes, plenty of you feel like network coverage and media coverage is geared toward the likes of Woods and Mickelson.
     
    And if Woods or Mickelson were to win this week at La Costa, Id say its a mighty big story. But if Stricker were to win in Tucson, Id argue that his victory story would actually be a better one.
     
    Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann