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Hooks and Cuts Beginning of the End

  • 2010 PGA ChampionshipKOHLER, Wis. – Whistling Straits sounds like an ominous stretch of unexplored territory in the Arctic Circle. Cold, wandering and lost pretty well describes Tiger these days.
  • On the subject of world's No. 1, Tiger’s basically served up a perfectly prepared filet for Phil Mickelson, cut it up in juicy pieces, poured the red wine and asked him if there’s anything else he could do to make him happy. And Phil’s pushed it away. Said I’m not hungry.
  • Observers have long raved about Hunter Mahan’s full swing action. What’s really opened eyes this year is the way he’s run home key Sunday putts in both his 2010 wins, at TPC Scottsdale and now Firestone.
  • Golf used to be a game of aim it and hit it. It’s slightly disturbing when the top two players in the world generally can’t hit it where they’re aiming it.
  • Amazing what man can do, moving and shaping so much earth to make Wisconsin look like Scotland. Or Ireland. Or the moon.
  • Ernie Els has won twice this year. But the ghosts are still winning their share, too.
  • Golf was supposed to be a sanctuary for Tiger to escape the messiness of his personal life. Shedding problems that heavy isn’t as easy as shedding a rain suit.
  • It may well have been just one bad day for three great players, but Ernie, Phil and Tiger combining to shoot 21 over par Sunday made it feel like a changing of the guard is close at hand.
  • The jarring quote from Tiger’s post 77 Sunday press gathering was this: “This week’s performance doesn’t surprise me at all.”  That’s three oceans away from “second sucks” back in 1998.
  • Remember those posters depicting fantasy golf? A long par 4 up Kilimanjaro or a testy par 3 around the Matterhorn or a never-ending par 5 off Lake Michigan? Welcome to Whistling Straits.
  • We’ve been here before. The last time we went to Whistling Straits, Woods was about to lose his grip on No. 1, relative long shot Todd Hamilton had won the British and we were coming off a run of pesky upstarts like Rich Beem, Mike Weir, Ben Curtis and Shaun Micheel pushing aside the glossier names.
  • Airlines charge big dollars for the kind of extra baggage Woods would bring to the Ryder Cup. And the U.S. did just fine without him two years ago. But Tiger’s built up the kind of competitive equity that has to be considered with 14 majors in 14 years. It’s one thing to say no to Sergio Garcia, but Tiger?
  • Who do you like right now in a three-on-three battle? Nos. 1, 2 and 3 in the world or Nos. 41, 42 and 43 in the world
  • If Tiger does continue to struggle, he could do U.S. Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin a favor by saying, “My game and my life need work. I’m not in a position to help the U.S. team the way I’d hoped so I’ve asked captain Pavin to look in another direction.” And I think people would understand..