With snow flying here at HOG World Headquarters, I was hunkered down in the man cave with computer in lap and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am on the 42-inch. What a fantastic and entertaining Sunday to watch golf. I’ve got so many random thoughts to pry out of my cerebral cortex. I hope they make some sense.
Before Sunday’s round, the media had practically handed Tiger Woods the trophy. The previews for CBS were 100% Tiger Saturday. After Saturday’s round Golf Channel did a whole show on Pebble and I unscientifically measured it out at 96.8% Tiger coverage, almost as high as the percentage of ED ads in their programming.
Have they all seen something I haven’t? Tiger had yet to put together four complete rounds of golf since he had “returned.” There’s always that one round, usually the last, which costs him the chance at victory. And yes, I’m not counting the Chevron. The short game hasn’t been up to a Tiger-like level and the putting inconsistent.
During Sunday’s Pebble round Tiger’s body language was quite telling and hard to watch. I can’t remember seeing Tiger’s shoulders slumped and his head down like that. Every amateur golfer, myself included, has been like that but it was really something to see TW like that. He was no doubt dejected and frustrated. He couldn’t make anything happen. The putts he missed were low side and weak. On poa greens, especially later in the day, you must putt aggressively. It was shocking to see TW miss those five putts under five feet and especially those two around 20 inches. That never used to happen. The 3-putt for par on the final hole was hard to watch, and symbolic of the day. Tiger’s putts per greens in regulation was 2.222, and he only hit 50% of his greens Sunday.
At this point Tiger is 100% physically healthy. What’s going on inside his head is the question. Short game, putting especially is about confidence. No doubt those issues will need to be resolved for him to win. There’s NO way he can contend putting like that at Augusta.
Arguably there’s no player on the PGA Tour with more raw talent than Phil Mickelson. It is quite something to watch what we saw yesterday, when all the talent, focus and game plan are in perfect form. Sorry, “phorm.” When that happens, Phil drops a 64 and comes back from six shots to win, beating Tiger by 11 shots.
Ironically the only real “bad” shot I saw from Phil was the flop on #12 when Tiger had holed out from the bunker for birdie. But the super hot putter for Phil shut down any chances Tiger had when he drained a 31 foot par saving put.
Thinking about Phil’s career at this point… This win was his 40th on the PGA Tour, most of those 40 coming during the “Tiger era.” That is quite amazing. Phil turned pro in 1992 and Tiger in 1996. That 40th win puts him past Tom Watson to #9 on the all time win list. Four major wins and 2nd place finishes in six other majors. He’s got 2x as many major wins as Greg Norman and over 2x as many tour wins.
Almost Made It
I was quite happy to have made it through to Sunday’s coverage at Pebble without once seeing George Lopez. Thanks to Nick Faldo for ruining that buzz by putting the un-funny comedian in a bunker drill piece during final round coverage. Despite some of the bad parts of CBS’s and TGC’s coverage, I was happy to not have to endure too many amateur golf swings.
Tough to see Charlie Wi lose the lead, but not unexpected. He did make quite a comeback though. The strong finish Sunday gave him a solid 2nd place finish.
Mike Weir… Weir missed the cut with rounds of 70, 73 and 78. Wonder if he will ever come back to form?
Two Wilson guys played well, Ricky Barnes and Padraig Harrington. They record 3rd place and a T7 respectively. Nice to see that, seriously.
Golf buddy and injured Iraq war vet playing in Northern Trust Open pro-am today! Good luck pal.