When it comes to Phil and Tiger, Hawkins feels that Phil is still one of the game’s best players when he is focused and when Tiger is beside him, it makes Phil just that much more focused. Phil hit 13 of 14 fairways which he never does and was firing on all cylinders at Pebble Beach while Tiger was not. Having Tiger in his group makes Phil a better player and increases his focus. Sunday’s final round may have been the best example of this ever.
On whether or not Tiger took steps forward or backward last week, Hawkins says that he is not sure but leans towards backward. When he failed to win against Robert Rock in Abu Dhabi, John felt that it was a step forward because Tiger had not been there in a while but this time, Tiger does not have that same excuse. When you have made a career out of winning when you are in striking distance of the lead on Sunday and you don’t, it cannot be anything but a step backward.
He loves that Tiger is playing The Honda Classic although he wonders whether or not he will play the Arnold Palmer Invitational this year. He is a bit unsure at how he will play at PGA National but he added that he had the same doubts about Tiger at Southern Hills before he won the 2007 PGA Championship. On paper, PGA National may not be a good course for Tiger but the fact that he has been so good for so long, there may not be a course that he cannot at least possibly be able to eventually dominate.
On the question of 40 PGA TOUR wins or 4 Major wins, he said that Phil’s 40 PGA TOUR wins is more impressive. He has covered Mickelson full-time since the mid-1990’s and Phil is just an amazing player who constantly gets the question of whether or not he is done whenever he is not playing well. There are just nine players who have at least 40 PGA TOUR wins and that big number is very impressive. But both accomplishments are very, very impressive.
A number of players over the years have won a lot yet never won Majors and he threw out the name of Colin Montgomerie as an example. It is even possible that Sergio Garcia will end up in that category at the end of his career along with Harry Cooper, Macdonald Smith, and Doug Sanders. The talent in the world of professional golf today is so strong that it will be quite possible to have several very successful players win a lot on the PGA TOUR or European Tour yet never win a Major.