Nick Faldos engineered the most remarkable personality transformation since George Foreman went from sullen bully to lovable teddy bear.
Whats the moment of the year in golf? Tiger breaking down in tears at the British Open? Daren Clarke holing a chip shot at the Ryder Cup? Sadly, its probably Phil Mickelson picking his ball out of the cup on the 72nd hole at Winged Foot -- the course of golf history so radically altered inside of 10 tragic minutes.
Lee Trevino offers this Ryder Cup fix: Make Tiger Woods the playing captain and let him pick whichever 11 guys he wants.
As it turns out, this was not, as expected, the year for the young stars on the LPGA, but rather for the established Hall of Fame members. Morgan Pressel and Paula Creamer are winless, while Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb have recaptured greatness.
Hard to imagine that Coke, which sponsors the TOUR Championship, and Mercedes Benz, attaching its name and considerable dollars to the 07 season opener, are too thrilled with Mickelsons decision to stay home. Majors, not money, motivate Phil. Some of us would swim to Hawaii to stay in the Ritz Carlton Kapalua and play for a million.
Alex Hay, formerly the lyrical voice of the BBC, on Faldo: He used to say very little. Now you cant get him to stop talking.
Eyebrows are raised when Jack Nicklaus is mentioned as a possible Ryder Cup captain for 2008. Whats the difference? Hell, make Jack Black the captain, or Jack Daniels for that matter.
With both Tiger and Phil on different planets, golfs so starved for a new, charismatic, young American superstar whos willing to play in Houston and Greensboro and Memphis.
There are already 77 players on The PGA TOUR whove earned at least a million dollars this year, raising the question: Is the huge money making guys so comfortable that its killing that burning desire to actually win golf tournaments?
Lets amend the previous idea that Tigers on another planet. Hes actually in an unknown galaxy. His current win streak, longest in a calendar season since Hogan won six straight in 48, gives Tiger at least a half dozen of the 12 to 15 greatest achievements in golf history. In no particular order, lets obviously submit Jones grand slam; Jacks 18 majors; Nelsons 11 in a row; Hogans triple major season of 1953; and Sneads 81 PGA TOUR victories. Then, without argument, can we safely include the following from Tiger: four consecutive majors; U.S. Open by 15 in 2000; Masters at 21 by 12; three U.S. Amateurs in a row; 67.79 scoring average in 2000; the career slam at 24; first ever with three seasons of eight victories or more; and six in a row, not once but twice? Oh, and hes now won multiple majors in back-to-back seasons, each worthy of consideration in the discussion of the handful of greatest single seasons ever.
Finally, something to chew on from the late, great Byron Nelson: We had to play every week to make a living. We played because we loved to play. We were family, really. Today the players see each other only at the first tee and practice tee. In our day, when we left Phoenix, Louise and I would tell Valerie and Ben (Hogan) wed stop at Las Cruces, New Mexico, at a little bus stop that specialized in tamales.