On the surface, it would appear that Davis Love III had a wonderful and lucrative West Coast swing. But then again, it could have been downright Tiger-like. Had Love made either of two makeable eagle tries in the stretch run at Torrey Pines, and had he not come down with a disturbing and recurring case of the short-rights at Riviera, he very well could have bagged the California triple--Pebble Beach, Torrey Pines and Riviera. That would have been one better than even Tiger did a year ago when he left the coast with two wins. Love also could have erased those unfair whispers that he's a bit soft. As always, there's no shortage of critics who can't break 85 yet are never satisfied with a professional who's won 14 times.
Interesting, Sunday night I did an entire highlight package on Golf Central without a single shot of Tiger. I know that his numbers to this point are similar to those he posted a year ago, but last season had he needed three under, 68 on the final day to make a playoff, there would have been no doubt. Thus far, the engine's simply not igniting. But then again, his worst finish has been a respectable 13th, and of his preparations for Augusta Woods says flatly, 'That's already begun.'
Oil and Money
Anyone but me wondering just how much the oil shieks are REALLY paying Woods to play Dubai this week? I've heard two mill, but why not 10 really large ones for an outing at the local palace?
By the way, Robert Allenby used one magnificent swing at Riviera like a five-man wrecking ball. His second shot in the playoff is an early candidate for shot of the year. And 18 was refreshingly hard. Guys were blasting 3-woods from 240 and coming up short. As for Allenby, he's golf's latest version of Mr. October. Like Reggie, he's really good in playoffs.
Beware the Aussie Wave
What's more, there are plenty more Aussies ready to storm our shores in the next decade. Watching the highly entertaining ANZ Tour on The Golf Channel, you can see the wave coming. Order of Merit winner Aaron Baddely's just 19 and already owns two Aussie Open titles. Wonder what he'll look like at 33? There are now more than a dozen Aussies on The PGA Tour.
Remembering a Friend
Finally, you'll see me at Doral this week. Colleague Bill Blighton called Doral a 'media major' for the grand manner in which the media is treated. I once asked him to be more specific and with his crooked half smile, soft and lilting British accent, the witty scribe quipped, 'Well for one thing, we're well fed and well watered.' Bill Blighton passed away last month at 54. True, we may be well fed and well watered, but it won't be nearly as much fun without Bill. We'll be sure to raise a glass for you, Bill, and remember to keep our sense of humor covering one of the greatest games man's ever created.