PGA Tour WHERE WE ARE The great chase continued as Tiger Woods's talented pursuers--Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els--continued to bear down on the faltering world No. 1

June 14, 2004


Player of the Half Year
Winning an epic Masters is all Phil Mickelson (right) needed to nab
this award, but Lefty has been a force week in and week out,
racking up 10 top 10s. Vijay Singh rates a strong second with three
wins and the top spot on the money list.

Thirty-eight-year-old Tour rookie Todd Hamilton escaped the golden
handcuffs of the Japanese tour by winning the Honda Classic,
closing birdie-birdie to hold off Davis Love III by a stroke.

Eager to prove that last year's British Open victory wasn't a
fluke, Ben Curtis is 98th on the money list, and his tie for eighth
at the Memorial was his first top 10 since the Open.

Best Shot
The six-iron that Craig Parry jarred to win a playoff at Doral was
as dramatic as a walk-off home run, but given the degree of
difficulty and pathos involved, John Daly's bunker shot to take a
Buick Invitational playoff gets the nod. Faced with a very fast
green sloping toward the water, Daly (right) finessed his shot to
tap-in distance, clinching his first Tour victory after eight
tumultuous years.

Worst Shot
Robert Damron and Dudley Hart both made a mess of the first playoff
hole at the Byron Nelson Championship, as Hart chunked a chip and
Damron yipped a 3 1/2-footer, handing a gimme victory to a suddenly
resurgent Sergio Garcia.

How big was Mickelson's downhill 18-footer on the 72nd hole of the
Masters? It propelled him into crossover stardom as he scored
late-night face time with Letterman, Leno and Kilborn.


The yahoo factor returned to golf when a boisterous heckler
compelled Love to stop the final of the Match Play Championship and
summon security to restore order. Coincidence or not, Love failed
to win another hole after the incident, losing to Tiger Woods, who
putted brilliantly en route to his only victory this year.

Hours after Adam Scott won the Players, Woods finally broke down
and phoned Butch Harmon ... but only to tell his former teacher to
pass on his congratulations.

Local girl Michelle Wie (right) put a charge into the Sony Open,
shooting a second-round 68 to miss the cut by a lone stroke. Her
presence goosed TV ratings 27%, cementing a return invitation in

Golf figured heavily in the otherwise forgettable movie Welcome to
Moosehead. At one point Gene Hackman's character walks into a room
festooned with flowers and golf-related gifts, and cracks, "This
looks like Tiger Woods's funeral."

COLOR PHOTO: PHOTOGRAPH BY FRED VUICH SEARCHING Ernie Els's winning margin at the Memorial was four strokes, but Tiger Woods made it interesting for a while, making up three shots early on the front nine to grab a share of the lead. Loose swings and missed opportunities, however, led to 11 consecutive pars by Woods to end his round, and he finished third. TWO COLOR PHOTOS: DARREN CARROLL (MICKELSON AND DALY) COLOR PHOTO: JOHN BIEVER (ELS) COLOR PHOTO: TODD BIGELOW/AURORA (WIE)


All the plotlines come back to Tiger and Phil: Can Woods reclaim
his mojo, particularly in the majors, and can Phil build on the
Masters and prove it's not a Couples-like one and done? Yes, to

Best Quote

"After the seventh beer I felt a lot better."
--Ernie Els, on losing the Masters by a stroke.