Nine wins last year. Player of the Year award. And now Vijay thinks he's actually playing better this year? Hard to argue with him. Since his fifth-place finish in Augusta, Singh has won twice, both via the playoff route. No one's hotter right now, but Vijay does acknowledge that his putting is not at last year's level. "I don't feel like I'm putting badly," he says, "just they're not going in the holes." Could've fooled us.
Tiger finished T-11th in his first tourney since winning the Masters. Hardly impressive, although it might just be rust. But does rust explain his decision to move a fence in order to play a shot Sunday? He was penalized two strokes after the round, costing him a top 10 finish and leaving him in an irritable mood. Expect this week's Byron Nelson to make him feel better -- he's got five top 5 finishes in his last seven starts at Las Colinas, including a win in 1997.
After his 13-stroke win at the Asian Open, Els took the week off, spending it at his home in England. He went to the practice range late in the week and feels confident about his game. "I'm so pleased with the way I'm swinging the club. I just wanted to make sure that I stayed in that groove," Els said on his Web site. The Big Easy returns to the Tour this week at the Nelson, an event he won 10 years ago.
Mickelson had three lackluster rounds at the Wachovia but sizzled on Sunday. He had nine birdies in his first 15 holes and was starting to sniff the leaders. But he lost three shots on the final two holes, including the par-3 17th when he found water. In fact, that hole cost him seven shots in the four rounds. That's worse than the 16th at Shinnecock, which cost Mickelson six shots at the 1995 U.S. Open. He finished two strokes behind winner Retief Goosen that year.
Mr. Close But No Cigar added yet another chapter Sunday, finishing fourth at Quail Hollow. So that's a playoff loss to Tiger at the Masters, a T-3 in New Orleans and now a fourth. Impressive, but hey Chris, could you throw in a win now and then? DiMarco was battling a neck problem for most of the week in Charlotte, so it's probably good that he's taking this week off.
Goosen will play in his first Byron Nelson Championship this week. When he arrived in Dallas on Monday, he was greeted by Nelson's wife, Peggy. When Goosen got to the car, Lord Byron himself was there. "He talked about farming, and my dad's done some farming, so it was really interesting to talk to him," Goosen told The Dallas Morning News. "That was a special greeting to a tournament."
Others are waiting for Furyk to win so they can declare him all the way back from his wrist injury. Furyk, however, is just tired of fielding questions about the subject -- which popped up again after his playoff loss to Singh. "I understand why it's coming and it's going to continue to come until that day happens," said Furyk, who has back-to-back second-place finishes. "But I want to win not to kind of get the monkey off my back or to prove that I'm healthy. I want to win because I want to win golf tournaments."
Donald followed his strong performance at Augusta with a couple of top 10 finishes in China. Now the Brit makes his way back to the States as he'll tee it up in Dallas this week. He's posted top 20 finishes in his last two Byron Nelson starts, and shot a third-round 64 last year.
The Aussie tied for 16th at the Wachovia after a poor opening round in which he shot 76. He had several birdie opportunities but could not capitalize. He's expected to take a few weeks off and won't return to the Tour until the Memorial the first week of June.
The streak is over. But the dreams of a Grand Slam this year remain. Perhaps failing to win a sixth consecutive event is the best thing for Annika, since now she can refocus after a dismal (for her) T-10 finish at the Michelob Ultra. Her 2-over total was the first time she's finished over par in a tournament since 2003. "I just have to start over," Sorenstam said. "Maybe I can do another streak." No one's betting against her.
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