What to watch for: First round at Colonial
My first order of business will be to watch Anthony Kim, who I visited a year ago in Dallas after his breakout win at Quail Hollow. When he followed up with a win at Congressional and stellar play for the victorious U.S. Ryder Cup team, he looked like he was settling in for a dominant run, especially with Tiger Woods on the mend.
The 2009 season, though, has been a downer, except for his record-setting 11 birdie day during the second round of the Masters. Kim has no wins, just one top 10, and he's missed three cuts. Colonial is Kim's last chance to contend in Texas this season (he finished tied for 71st at Valero and missed the cut at the Nelson). I'm expecting a better result this week.
I'm also going to be watching Ian Baker-Finch, the 1991 British Open champion and CBS commentator who has only played sparingly thanks to a mysterious loss of confidence. Baker-Finch, 48, last competed on the PGA Tour in 2001 at Colonial, missing the cut at the site of his first Tour victory in 1989. I remember asking Justin Leonard about Baker-Finch two years ago, and he told me that Ian was still a fine player during practice rounds with pals.
"With Finchy, it’s unfortunate that he couldn’t get it back," Leonard said then of Baker-Finch's confidence. "He’s still a wonderful golfer, but getting it out here inside the ropes, he’s kind of seen too many bad things to recover from.”
It'd be nice to see Baker-Finch bring it inside the ropes this week.
Most importantly, I'll be interested in feeling the vibe around Colonial, which will be without defending champion Phil Mickelson, whose wife, Amy, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. The PGA Tour wives will take part in a "Pink Out" on Saturday in which they are asking players and wives to wear pink in support of Amy. Sounds like a wonderful gesture.
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