Baby 59 and Paying Tiger


The good news, if any exist, about missing the cut at the Tampa, Fla., area event is that most players' next stop, the Arnold Palmer Invitational, is just a short drive back up Interstate 4 and the chance to catch a Detroit Tigers spring training game at Joker Marchant Stadium in Lakeland, the most user-friendly and relaxing of all the Grapefruit League haunts, is on your way to Arnies place.
The good news about falling short in Cut Line is that it doesnt count against ones FedEx Cup points and the sting only hurts for a minute.

  • Annika Sorenstam/Mike McGee: The newlyweds didnt waste any time. The happy couple announced last week that Sorenstam is expecting the couples first child less than three months after the two were married.
    The former world No. 1 is a shoo-in for 2009s worlds greatest mom, award, and may we be the first to offer the expectant parents a gender-neutral suggestion to name the little one: Baby 59. With those golf genes ' McGees father, Jerry, is a four-time Tour winner ' they may as well set the bar high from the start. And, besides, Baby 59 is way more memorable than Charlie.
  • Dan Forsman: Direct from the good things happening to good people department, the original Tour nice guy waited just 12 events into his Champions Tour career to cash, winning last weeks AT&T Champions Classic in a playoff.
    All one needs to know about Forsman is that in his post-game debrief with the press he called his first over-50 title a humbling victory. Have to give Karma a plug for this one. After posting just five victories in an Ironman Tour career that spanned three decades and 651 events, the golf gods must have figured Forsman had waited long enough.

  • John Daly: We want it to be true, we hope for the best, thank the cosmic tumblers for a second, or 15th, chance, and then race to the hill adjacent Turn 2 and await the pile-up. Its human nature. Its Dalys nature.
 reported last week that Daly has been holed up in the Tampa area working on his game and physique ' according to JDs manager the big man has lost 40 pounds ' to prepare for his comeback, which is scheduled to begin next month in Europe.
    The game could use a healthy, happy and focused Daly and theres little question Daly could use a do-over, but history suggests this album plays just a single tune.
  • Victorian (Australia) authorities: It cant be easy to pen a $3 million check, not in these troubled times and particularly when the payback can be a bit murky.
    Tiger Woods return to Down Under for the Australian Masters will be a boon for golf and the tournament, but for the sake of those Victorian politicians who signed that check lets hope its worth $3 million.
  • Michelle Wie/IMG: There are two sides to the teens management two-step. After just four years, Wie split with the William Morris Agency in March, a sign that suggests something wasnt right either with the newly minted LPGA player or the firm.
    With tour card in tow, Wie could become the engine that drives the LPGA, but only under the proper circumstances. Lets hope Wies new team at IMG takes a page out of Woods playbook, the frims other top client. When legacies are being molded, less is more and the bottom line should be among the bottom half of all priorities.

  • Official World Golf Ranking: Late Sunday, Golf Channel number crunchers went to work. What the calculators and spreadsheets and Ouija Boards spat out may have been factual, at least according to the rules that govern the convoluted world of ranking professionals, but what we saw was Orson Wells stuff. Pure fantasy, a numbers induced hallucination.
    Without the aid of a PowerPoint presentation, the crux of what the accountants tabulated is this: if Woods plays poorly next week at the Arnold Palmer Invitational and Phil Mickelson plays well in two weeks at the Shell Houston Open, Lefty could overtake Woods atop the ranking.
    Just a thought, but if the World Ranking eggheads think Mickelson should be ranked ahead of Woods at anything other than Ping Pong then weve got some sub-prime mortgages wed like for them to consider.

  • One-in-three rule: Although there is nothing wrong with the concept, an often-floated idea that would require Tour players show up at every stop at least once every three years, it has missed the cut before advocates ever put a metaphorical peg in the ground. The independent contractors have spoken, and one-in-three has been voted off the island quicker than an accountant who refers to himself in the third person.
    It would be perfect. You sign a six-year contract with a sponsor and they are guaranteed to get everybody at least twice, said one tournament director last week at Doral. By everybody, of course, he meant Woods, but even off the record tournament directors have to toe that narrow line.
    Without a one-in-three mandate we end up with the curious case of the missing headliners. Exhibit A: the Transitions Championship. Despite having what is widely regarded as the best ball park in the Florida Swing, perfect conditions and sunshine, the Transitions has just one (Kenny Perry) of the top 10 players in the world.
    We know they cant play every week, but when a good golf course and $5.4 million purse cant lure a deeper field it might be time for the contractors to give up some independence.

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