Saturday, January 20, 2007

Would Camilo Villegas be a better addition to the 2006 Masters than Thongchai Jaidee?

Will Tiger no-show?

If I join The Villages, "Florida's friendliest hometown," does that make me one of The Villages People?

Among golf's burning questions one rose to the top Sunday: Can the LPGA trump the PGA Tour? You had to consider it as two dramas played out on opposite coasts this past weekend. Phil Mickelson had a two-touchdown lead over the field at the BellSouth Classic in Duluth, Georgia, and then, mercifully, it rained, giving NBC an excuse to show footage of last year's sudden-death finish. When play continued he eagled the last hole to win by 13 strokes, the third largest margin of victory, we were told, in the last 50 years. Cue the wife, cue the kids, strike the set, see ya next year.

Or not.

With the Tour's new, reshuffled schedule, starting in 2007, the BellSouth won't be a Masters tune-up, casting doubt on what kind of field ATL golf fans will see at the TPC at Sugarloaf.

Meanwhile, on CBS, viewers were treated to a captivating finish in which a whole lot of mascara and potential (Natalie Gulbis, Lorena Ochoa and Michelle Wie) lost by an eyelash to grit and good fortune (Hall of Famer Karrie Webb) at the LPGA's first major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship in Rancho Mirage, California.

Webb may have seized her seventh major, but the lead role belonged to Wie, 16, bidding for her first professional title and validation, at last, after an avalanche of hype. Her inability to make birdie from behind the 18th green, a simple up and down, exposed remaining cracks in her short game.

Chris Couch, who played with Wie for two rounds at this year's Sony Open told me recently, "She's got some maturing to do, there's no doubt about that, but I was the same way when I was 16." His advice to Wie was pretty simple. "I'm starting to manage my game to where the past is the past and there's nothing you can do about it. Having kids puts things in perspective, but right now her whole life is golf. She's got a lot of learning to do, and the only advice I gave her was, 'Don't take this game too seriously, it's just a game.' She's going to do fine, she'll be a Hall of Fame player if she stays healthy. I'm looking forward to seeing what she does with her career."

Cameron Morfit covers the PGA Tour as a Senior Writer for GOLF MAGAZINE. You can read his column every Monday on GOLFONLINE.

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