He's already won twice this year. He's regained his No. 1 ranking. And he's feeling very good about his game and his revamped swing. Tiger may never destroy opponents with the regularity he showed a few years ago, but he can still beat them, as he did on Sunday in his Doral showdown with the red-hot Phil Mickelson. Tiger's in the midst of a busy schedule but is taking a break this week.
Say what you will about Mickelson answering Tiger's eagle on Sunday with back-to-back birdies. Or the chip that nearly forced a playoff. The bottom line is that Phil, at his best, couldn't hold off Tiger. He couldn't seal the deal. Will Phil turn the loss into a positive? He thinks he can. "I just knew that I was going to win," Mickelson said. "And when I didn't, it's a great slap in the face."
Els reached the winner's circle for the first time this season, winning the Dubai Desert Classic. He's been consistently solid and yet it's difficult to evaluate his game because he's skipped so many Tour events. He says he's ready to join the fray and is aiming for the world's No. 1 ranking that Tiger now holds. "I'm within striking distance," he said.
Perhaps lost in the Woods-Mickelson drama is that Singh, despite losing his No. 1 ranking, actually played well at Doral, finishing in a tie for third with four sub-70 rounds. It's his first top-10 finish since he left Hawaii. Still, you have to wonder about his putting average and driving distance; both are significantly off last year's averages.
On his final hole at Doral, Toms sliced a drive that hit a member of the gallery in the head. Toms then had to play his second shot from an area around the No. 1 tee. But it didn't cost him any money, as he finished alone in fifth. In six starts, he has four top 10 finishes, including his Accenture Match Play win.
Cink had a rocky start in the first round with a triple bogey but battled back the next day and eventually ended up in a tie for 26. He's been solid for most of the year but knows he's not at the elite stage yet. "I need to win more tournaments and be in contention more often and that's what I'm really trying to work towards," he told reporters at Doral last week.
The Champions Tour had another week off (what, are seniors now having to walk in-between tournaments too?), but revs back up again this week with the SBC Classic. Irwin's scoring average of 67.09 this season is more than a shot lower than the next best average (Tom Wargo's 68.20). Irwin also leads the Seniors in three other statistical categories.
The headlines before she teed it up last week in Mexico concerned her impending divorce. Evidently, Annika wasn't too distracted, winning the inaugural MasterCard Classic by three strokes for her 57th LPGA win. "I wanted everybody to know that I'm ready to play and ready to go," she said. Message sent ... and delivered.
Unlike the four players ahead of him in the world rankings, Goosen has yet to record a win this year. But after a lengthy layoff and that sleeping-past-his-tee-time incident at the Nissan Open, Retief appears ready to roll, with a third at the Match Play and a tie for 8th at Doral. His final-round 64 was the low round on Sunday.
Scott failed to make the cut at Doral and almost missed the cut in this week's Power Rankings. But we'll keep the Aussie on board at least one more week. But please, no more front-nine 41s, which killed any chances Scott had of playing on the weekend. For now, we'll consider it an aberration.
Dropped out: Stuart Appleby, Michelle Wie Weekly Rankings:1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7
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