Mark Reason of the (UK) Telegraph writes that Tiger's collarless shirts, his fist-pumping celebrations and caddie Steve Williams' bullying antics are all signs that Tiger is "getting in too many people's faces. He is showing signs of thinking he is bigger than the game." Add Reason: "... the less we see of Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus, the more we are seeing of Tiger Woods's unattractive side." TV ratings and fan interest, of course, suggest any side of Tiger is better than the best side of anybody else.
Continuing their new-found final-round "friendship" following a spat involving metal spikes at Augusta, Phil will invite Vijay to his house for a movie marathon that includes Top Gun, Old School and the entire Lethal Weapon series. Vijay will then reciprocate by inviting the Mickelson family over for a backyard barbecue. Following that, the two plan to team up for the next Amazing Race, although there may be a dispute on who'll drive and who'll read the map.
How much does Vijay love playing in Houston? In nine starts at the Houston Open, he's finished in the top 10 seven times, and he'll go into this week as the defending champ (he's won in Houston two of the past three years). At 7,508 yards, the Redstone Golf Club will offer plenty of opportunities for Singh and his fellow competitors to rip away off the teebox.
Goosen won nine skins and $85,000 (with the money donated to a tsunami relief fund) at the Tiger Skins game in Thailand last weekend. Goosen, who the first two Tiger Skins events, tied Denmark's Thomas Bjorn for top honors this time. Goosen's best shot? His tee shot on the par-3 17th that landed a foot from the pin. He appears to be in good form heading into this week's Johnnie Walker Classic in Beijing.
Earlier this month, Annika watched the NASDAQ-100 Open tennis tournament with Tiger Woods' wife Elin and Hank Kuehne's wife Nicole. OK, we're not sure exactly what it means, other than the fact that Elin and Nicole -- by virtue of hanging out with the top women's golfer in the world -- must not get tired of hearing the husbands talk shop at home.
Els, like Goosen, will be teeing it up at the Johnnie Walker Classic. Els notes on his Web site that "Johnnie Walker has been something of a lucky sponsor for me." That's because he won a Walker-sponsored event in 1994, then a SuperTour event two years late, as well as Walker Classics in 1997, and 2003. But this will be the first time he's played competitively in Beijing. Els has been working on his game since his disappointing result in Augusta.
Donald also will be in Beijing, helping to give the Johnnie Walker Classic arguably a better top-heavy field than the Houston Open. Donald's confidence level is high after a solid showing in Augusta when he tied for third with Goosen, but his main focus is not as much on winning majors as it is moving into the top 10 of the world rankings. He's currently 13th.
In his last three starts, the Aussie has a T-27 at The Players Championship, a T-5 at the Masters and a T-6 at the MCI Heritage Classic. He also had respectable finishes earlier this year before missing a couple of cuts in Florida. Pampling says he's been playing smarter lately while cutting back on his aggressive play.
Back-to-back 65s to start the Heritage was nice; stumbling to a final-round 76 and losing the lead and the tourney to Peter Lonard in the final 13 holes was awful. "I can't believe I've done what I've done," a dejected Clarke said afterward. Even so, Clarke has been fairly consistent this year, with five top 20 finishes in his seven Tour starts, including a T-17 at Augusta.
With second-place finishes in each of the past two majors, DiMarco now is being linked to the dreaded Shark Slam, indicative of a player who contends in majors but usually comes up short. For instance, Greg Norman led after three rounds in each of the majors in 1986, only to win just one (British Open). At this point, DiMarco would probably be quite happy if he could claim just one.
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