Lefty managed to last one round longer than Tiger or Vijay at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. And being done in by eventual champ David Toms is nothing to be ashamed of. Mickelson is usually more successful on the West Coast than the East, so it'll be interesting to see if he can maintain some semblance of heat now that the Tour is in Florida.
Tiger's bid for a third consecutive Match Play title ended in the second round with an upset loss to Nick O'Hern (not to be confused with Chick Hearn). Tiger's putting on the soggy greens at La Costa did him in. His complaints about the conditions of the greens should fall on deaf ears, considering how kind La Costa has been to him over the years.
Singh continued having trouble in Match Play events, being taken down in the second round. But since his loss, life's been pretty good. Ford reportedly paid him more than $100,000 to participate in a Pro-Am event at Doral, and French video game publisher Ubisoft announced that Vijay would be featured in the company's new golf title as a competitor to Tiger's popular golf video game.
Toms doesn't currently have admission into the World's Big Five club. In fact, it's sometimes easy to overlook him. But his Match Play win reminds us that he'll need to be watched when the majors arrive. "I think everybody kind of forgets about him," said Chris DiMarco, beaten by Toms in the Match Play final. "You don't forget about David Toms ... He's definitely a top-5 player in the world."
After a three-week break, the Big Easy goes back to work ... but not on the PGA Tour. He'll be playing in the Dubai Desert Classic, a tournament he's won twice. In fact, after each of those wins (1994, 2002), Els has followed up later in the season by winning a major. The Dubai field (O'Meara, Montgomerie, Westwood) isn't bad, but all the other top players will be in Florida.
The Champions Tour to Hale Irwin is what a ATM machine is to the rest of us, except with no limits. Irwin enters his name in a tournament and can seemingly withdraw as much money as he wants. He won the rain-shortened Outback Steakhouse Pro-Am on Monday. In his four starts, Irwin has two wins, a T-2nd and T-3rd, giving him $703,000 this season (nearly $300,000 more than second-place Dana Quigley).
Like Mickelson, Scott was sent packing by Toms at the Match Play. Still, the rain-shortened win at the Nissan Open and a decent showing at La Costa bode well for the Aussie. By the way, Scott insists he's no longer Mr. Nice Guy. "People have said I'm too nice and lack the killer instinct," Scott told Golf magazine, "but that's definitely changed." Does that mean dueling putters at 20 paces?
Appleby lost to Britain's Ian Poulter in the second round at La Costa. Actually, make that routed by Poulter, who used an eagle-two to win 6 and 5. Still, Appleby lasted one round longer than Darren Clarke and Tim Clark, which is why they've dropped from the Power Rankings while Stuart's hanging on.
Cink has yet to reach the winner's circle this year, but he's been sniffing around quite a bit. He had a nice run at the Match Play, plowing through Fred Funk, Tom Lehman and Davis Love III before dropping a close one to Chris DiMarco. But beating Lehman, the U.S. Ryder Cup captain, might not have been a politically correct move. "Probably Tom won't even remember the match," Cink said hopefully.
In the first two months, the 15-year-old Wie has teed it up with the Tour pros and nearly won his first LPGA event before finishing two strokes behind Jennifer Rosales at the SBS Open. Wie was the only player to shoot under-par all three rounds. Afterward, she said her game has become "a lot more consistent." She'll play seven more LPGA events this year. Would anyone really be surprised if she wins at least one?
Dropped out: Darren Clarke, Tim Clark, Justin Leonard Weekly Rankings:1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
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