Hot? Hunter Mahan. Not? Rickie Fowler

Wednesday March 3rd, 2010
On Sunday, Rickie Fowler recorded his second top-five finish of the season.
Fred Vuich/SI

HOT

1. Ai Miyazato. Her tempo is so languid I often feel drowsy watching her play. But given her spectacular back-to-back wins to start the year, perhaps the rest of us should stop trying to swing so hard.

2. Hunter Mahan. Finally, this laid-back dude showed some fight, closing out the Phoenix Open with a series of stellar shots and gritty putts. He's clearly got the game to be an elite player, but does Mahan have the drive? We'll see.

3. Laura Davies. In New Zealand, the 46-year-old warrior won for the 73rd time in her Hall of Fame career. And this is a woman whose three favorite pastimes are drinking, smoking and gambling. Perhaps all those earnest young women on the LPGA should take a few notes.

4. The Florida swing. It couldn't get here soon enough, hard on the heels of a West Coast run that had bad weather, low-wattage winners and lotsa bad news off the course.

5. Rickie Fowler. What a breath of fresh air this kid is. Orange pants and all.

NOT

1. Rickie Fowler. OK, here's why laying up in crunch time is a doomed strategy, especially for a young stud: the player who does it knows his manhood is instantly being called into question, and therefore feels way too much pressure on the ensuing shots, leading to meek swings and, oftentimes, fatal pars.

2. John Daly. We knew the guy was a trainwreck, but scribe Garry Smits cleverly got his hands Daly's PGA Tour personnel file. The sheer volume of Long John's screwups is mind-boggling: $100,000 in fines, five suspensions from the Tour, six stints on probation, 11 incidents of "conduct unbecoming a professional" and 21 citations for "failure to give best efforts." Actually, that last figure seems a little low.

3. Juli Inkster. Everybody's favorite soccer mom was in prime position to become the LPGA's oldest winner, but she closed in Singapore with a not-so-sprightly 74. I guess 49 is not the new 46.

4. Anthony Kim. Through 27 holes in Phoenix it looked like AK had finally figured things out: he was 10 under and leading the tournament. Then over his next 27 holes he had more snowmen than birdies, leading to another lost week.

5. Phil Mickelson. So far in 2010 there have been nine winners in as many weeks. The parity points to a lack of a dominant player, or personality. Phil was supposed to be that guy, but he's shrinking from the enormity of the opportunity. And don't look now, but the Masters is just five weeks away.

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