Tour and News

Hot This Week? Johnny Vegas, Tiger and Phil. Not? Bill Clinton and Bob Hope celebrities

Photo: Al Tielemans/SI

Tiger Woods has won at Torrey Pines, the site of this week's Farmers Insurance Open, eight times, including the 2008 U.S. Open.

HOT

1. Tiger & Phil. Yes, they're both massively overexposed. Yes, there are a lot of other players who deserve a little attention. Yes, it is tiresome to have to wade through saturation coverage every time they tee it up. But golf is much, much more interesting when these two characters are in the mix. So quit trying to fight it and just enjoy the overheated spectacle from Torrey Pines.

2. The World Ranking. Finally it's beginning to make a little sense at the top. After his dominating win in Dubai, Martin Kaymer is up to No. 2, which, come to think of it, might be a little low. FYI, this is the first time a player younger than Woods has been ranked ahead of him in his 15 seasons as a pro.

3. Jhonny Vegas. The charismatic rookie from Venezuela pulled off a gritty victory in his second start as a Tour member. Along the way he's given us golf's best nickname and most likeable Tour dad. I can't wait to watch this kid keep going.

4. Castle Stuart. One of the most acclaimed new courses of the last few decades is apparently ready for its closeup, as the Scottish Open has officially made it the venue for this year's British Open run-up. Here's hoping a bunch of top players turn up for two straight weeks on the linksland.

5. John Cook. Five straight birdies on the back nine on Sunday to highlight a bogeyless 64 is pretty damn stout, even on an exhibition circuit. And Cook's spiky 'do is by far the best hair on the Champions tour, for whatever that's worth.

The third edition of Alan Shipnuck's 2011 mailbag arrives later this week! Send in your questions now!

NOT

1. Bill Haas. In a dog fight with a couple of rookies at the Hope, he three-putted the final hole and then made a soft par to get bounced on the first extra hole. A big-time missed opportunity for a 28 year old who is trying to establish himself as a world-class player.

2. Tim Finchem. Lee Westwood has been making noises about skipping the Players — the latest saber-rattling in the ongoing tour wars — and now Phil may skip the Match Play to enjoy his kids' school vacation, and Ernie Els may snub the Presidents Cup in favor of the South African Open. Good thing the Commish isn't trying to negotiate a new TV deal right now. Oh, wait, nevermind.

3. The Rules of Golf. There are only 34 of them. So why so much drama?

4. Bob Hope 'celebrities.' Alice Cooper? Pat Green? Richard Karn? John O'Hurley? Are you freakin' kidding me?

5. Bill Clinton. Looks like it's his turn in the barrel to try to resurrect the Hope, after George Lopez and Arnold Palmer have both failed in recent years. The former prez is charismatic and loves golf and knows all the right people, but a five-day pro-am on mediocre courses early in the year opposite the deep-pocketed Dubai tourney is a very tough sell. Clinton should try his hand at something easier... like bringing peace to the Middle East.

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