Sure hed won the Masters in 2004, but critics could use the glass half empty point of view and point out that, given the near misses that came in the 2004 majors after his victory leap at Augusta, what if that putt at 18 to win hadnt dropped? And what if Phil had lost a playoff with Ernie Els that year? Then what would be said about a majorless streak with no signs of an end?
Instead, now that Phil has two majors, we ought to look back at all the close calls and salute him for years of major consistency. He didnt win 'em all, but he sure knew/knows how to contend.
One thing that hasnt gotten a lot of play among the media is that in Phils two major victories ... he absolutely did it.
At the Masters, Phil needed that putt at the last to avoid a playoff and win outright. He made it.
At the PGA Championship on Monday, Phil needed to birdie the last hole to avoid a three-way playoff and win it outright. He did it.
Phil was clutch. And so often before, he hadnt been.
So now Lefty is right where he wants to be heading into the 2006 campaign.
*Hes now third in the Official World Golf Ranking, and suddenly not too far behind Vijay Singh for the second spot.
*He now ties Woods for most victories on the PGA Tour this season with four.
* He now throws his name into the ring for 2005 Player of the Year; though, hell need a huge, huge finish this season to upend Woods for the honor given Tigers major success this year (1,2,1,4).
And that gets me to my point. Dont let up. Dont give in to the exhale factor. Dont leave us simply waiting for Augusta in April 2006 to pick up this great story where it left off.
This weekend at Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio can become a WGC event worth really paying attention to rather than just another gathering of the world golf ranking leaders playing for what is deemed a big event.
Cmon, Phil ' make more magic. Cmon, Vijay ' make some putts and make a run at another money title. Cmon, Davis ' make last week seem like an appetizer, make like your old self, and take it all the way to the house like we know you can.
The year 2005 began with Stuart Appleby successfully defending his title at the Mercedes Championships. Then we got on this run with all of the big names winning tournaments. Remember David Toms at the Match Play? Remember that Mickelson had three wins before the Masters? Remember Vijays early season string of success? Remember Tiger outlasting Phil at the Ford Championship at Doral? Do you remember that Justin Leonard and Kenny Perry have multiple titles this year?
Im just afraid that all of those guys remember all too well their successes this season and might just lose their collective will to care about the rest of the season.
Dont do it guys. Dont force us to think only about Jason Gore the rest of this PGA Tour season. That would be a shame. Augusta doesnt come until April ' and before we get into thoughts about Phil going for his third major or Tiger going for his 11th ' lets make some late-season fireworks and finish this thing off in style.
p.s. Anybody think Gores got a win in him?
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