Thankful Its Almost 2009

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Its that time of year. Time for golf writers everywhere to reveal those things for which they are most thankful. To be honest, there are really only two things on that list: 1) Free meals in the media center. 2) Printed out transcripts of interviews.
 
What Im truly thankful for doesnt involve golf. But you dont care to read about my family or how happy I am that Tim Tebow didn't go to Alabama.
 
So instead of those things, or looking back on 2008, Im listing the top 5 reasons ' golf only ' Im thankful its almost 2009.
 

Race to Dubai
 
5. The Race to Dubai
Technically, the new season has already started, but it wont really heat up until next year. The European Tour needed this shot of adrenaline. It had to find a way to lure back its homegrown talent as well as fresh, popular faces from the PGA Tour. And how do you do that? Money. Lots and lots and lots of money. This thing could prove to be duller than Steven Wright. Like the FedEx Cup. But not likely.
 

Padraig Harrington
 
4. The Paddy Slam
Padraig Harrington is slower than the wheels of justice. Hes as vanilla as Bob Newhart. And he cant start a sentence without sounding like a goat. But I love the guy. For some strange reason hes been my favorite player over the last 12 years. I told co-workers back in 96 that Harrington would one day win a major. Now hes got three, including the last two. It will be interesting to see how he handles the pressure leading up the Masters in April.
 

Sergio Garcia
 
3. Sergio's Confidence
On the other hand, I dont care much for Sergio. I couldnt care less if he ever wins a major. But the guy has an immense amount of talent and its great to see, judging by his play at the end of 2008, that his confidence hasnt been shattered over the last couple of years. Tiger Woods makes me look like the president of the Sergio Garcia fan club. That would be a tremendous rivalry, if it could develop.
 

Michelle Wie
 
2. More Michelle Wie on the LPGA
Im not nearly as much of a fan of Wies as I used to be. But the LPGA needs her star power. For as great as Annika Sorenstam was and Lorena Ochoa is, neither moves the needle, as they say in this business. Wie is the only female player able to transcend the game and bring in the non-traditional fan. Carolyn Bivens and company really, really need her to make it through Q-School finals.

 
Tiger Woods
 
1. The Return of Tiger
Golf without Tiger is like eating a club sandwich without turkey, ham, lettuce, tomato, bacon and mayonnaise. Its just a bunch of white bread. No one knows when he will re-emerge, but it cant happen soon enough. I ' and so many others ' will be much thankful when he returns.