It’s time again for stadium golf, this week at The Players. And what a way for the week to be ushered in with Rickie Fowler’s first victory. There is no better person to top this week’s Hot List. And there’s no better person to end it with than Mom. So here’s the rundown of what’s buzzing this week not only on the course but in the galleries as well.
Rickie Fowler – Justin Bieber got his GED this week and Rickie Fowler, his first win. Coincidence? Regardless, Fowler schooled the Quail Hollow field, leading the tournament in total driving. He averaged 305.9 yards off the tee and hit close to 80 percent of the greens in regulation. Beating Rory McIlroy and D.A. Points in sudden death also killed the “over-hyped” theory. Not only has our summer interest in the Tour just revved up, our young gun power force is set to start wylin’!
Cobra/Puma Golf – Finally Cobra/Puma gets the “Sweet. Juicy. Victory.” they’ve been waiting for with their primo investment in Rickie Fowler. If you thought the orange flat-brim hats were popular before, I imagine courses are going to look like orange trees from the Goodyear blimp soon. And let’s talk about the AMP driver, which has aided Rickie’s huge improvement in his tee-to-green game.: last year, T-87 in total driving, this year, fifth.
The ’Stache – Whether you think it’s sexy or downright dirty, the ’stache is a statement that players have gloriously worn into the winner’s circle this year. Johnson Wagner, the first full-field winner of the year, is still rocking the manly look and it could be here to stay for a long while thanks to Fowler, who could set off a firestorm for new facial hairdo.
Military Appreciation – Wednesday marked Military Appreciation Day at The Players, a salute that continues throughout the week with free admission for all active duty, retired and reserve military personnel and their dependents. The PGA Tour goes beyond to salute the brave men and women who protect America. Part of the evening ceremony included a flyover by Four F-15 fighter jets from the 125th Fighter Wing of the Florida National Guard as well as a concert by country artist Luke Bryan. In addition, Amy and new Hall-of-Fame inductee Phil Mickelson, along with Cathy and Jim Justice and the Greenbrier Classic, announced earlier in the week a fundraiser to benefit Birdies for the Brave, a two-day fundraising event that will include a pro-am gala dinner and a concert featuring A-list country music stars.
Phil – Whether you are glad Mickelson is already in or would have rather seen his name appear on the ballot at a later date, it’s still Phil’s week with his celebrated induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame. And what a speech he gave. If you weren’t a huge Phil fan before (I hear there are a few, although it’s hard to believe) you can’t help but like him after his caring, charismatic, and genuinely sweet speech in St. Augustine.
Island Greens – The famed (or maybe more aptly, infamous) par-3 17th at the Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass is set to show its teeth this week. Pete Dye (whose wife Alice gave him the idea for the design of the hole) knew how to insert the fear factor into championship golf. This week the 17th reigns. Here’s to island greens in all their glory!
Moms – U.S. Open Sunday is known for celebrating fatherhood as The Players Sunday is now a Mother’s Day treat. Don’t forget all the moms out there who do so much to love, nurture, inspire and support us all. Remember, if mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!