2007 Review

December 10, 2007

PGA TOUR

On the conditionof anonymity, a PGA Tour pro offers his take on Tiger, Phil and the year ingolf

The most important thing I learned this year is that Tiger Woods (right) isas phenomenal as ever. His swing is more of a hybrid--a little Hank Haney mixedwith a little Butch Harmon--and was more efficient at the end of the year thanat the beginning. This is scary to say after Tiger's 11th year on Tour, buthe's getting stronger and better. He won one major in 2007, but it easilycould've been three out of four. He hasn't hit his peak yet, in my opinion, andthat doesn't exactly fill me with enthusiasm.

The PGA Tour's newdrug-testing policy is overkill. If every other sport has a policy, golf shouldtoo, but I'll be surprised if they find anybody using performance-enhancingdrugs, if there is such a thing for golf. You'd have to be an absolute fool tofail the test--the Tour has given six months warning. Still, if there was adrug that helped you hole putts, everyone would use it.

I don't think theFedEx Cup resonated with the public. The Tour totally overhyped it. The FedExformat for '08 has been tweaked to appease the marquee players. There's anextra week off for the Ryder Cup, and the top finishers get 90% of their moneyin cash instead of retirement payments. Does that make the FedEx Cup any moreinteresting? I don't think so. I stand by what I've said before: We alreadyhave a playoff system. They're called majors.

Now we know whyPhil Mickelson wanted the Tour season to end sooner. For the last couple ofyears he said he couldn't bear to leave his family to play in the TourChampionship. What happens when he gets an earlier finish? He spends those sameweeks raking in big appearance fees in Shanghai and Singapore--and he wasn'tthe only one. Guys like Phil are hypocrites for doing that.

The Fall Seriesbecame a total afterthought. The stops in Scottsdale and Las Vegas had so fewspectators that they looked like member-guest outings. My pro-am partners inthe fall events kept asking me how many FedEx Cup points I would earn thatweek. If nothing else, let the fall events count as the start of the followingseason so they have some significance.

I wasn't surprisedthat Lorena Ochoa took over women's golf. Friends have been telling me foryears how good she is. Lorena finally won that first major, and the floodgatesopened. The same with Suzann Pettersen--she just knows she's going to playwell. I think Lorena and Suzann could develop a rivalry.

How about theemergence of the belly putter? Sergio García, Retief Goosen and many othersused one. I'm not sure if there's anyone on Tour who hasn't tried the belly.Honestly, there were more belly than conventional putters on some practicegreens.

I know for a fact that some golfers are doing it.

-- GARY PLAYER, ON THE USE OF STEROIDS IN PROFESSIONALGOLF

PHOTOROBERT BECK

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)