The 266th-ranked player in the world will be the story this week, as Tiger Woods turns up in another effort to find himself. Woods used to monopolize the focus of the golf world to the point that no one else mattered. Now, an entirely new generation of stars is dominating the game, and Woods has transitioned into a new role: making the opening rounds interesting at run-of-the-mill Tour events. San Diego, Phoenix, the Greenbrier – all of these Thursdays and Fridays were must-see spectacle. Now Woods will make the Quicken Loans relevant. Not because he’s going to win, but because his ongoing struggles are some of the most compelling theater golf has ever seen.
1. Jason Day. He’s always had the talent, but it feels like soldiering on at Chambers Bay helped him access a new grit. It will be no surprise if Day goes to a whole new level at Whistling Straits.
2. Marco Dawson. The latest reminder why the Senior tour is golf’s ultimate mulligan. How can you not enjoy this lifetime grinder finally finding a place in the sun.
3. Lexi. That’s now five career victories for the 20-year-old Thompson…or one more than Michelle Wie.
4. Philip Barbaree. The other kid may have secured a painfully awkward prom date with Holly Sonders, but personally I’d rather win the U.S. Junior, joining the likes of Tiger Woods and Jordan Spieth.
5. Danny Willett. The rising 27 year old won his third career Euro Tour event, the European Masters, with a bogeyless 65 on Sunday. Time to put him in the conversation of the best young players in the world.
1. David Hearn. It’s tough to make a good turn with an entire country on your back, but playing the final 16 holes in +2? Not good, eh.
2. Bubba. Well, it was a helluva finish, but five bogeys in the first 10 holes left Watson too far afield. That’s now four top-3 finishes for Bubba this year, but only one win.
3. Lizette Salas. She had a four-stroke lead heading into the final round of the Meijer LPGA Classic but got run over after making three bogeys in the middle of her round. Does this near-miss help or hurt her chances of being picked for the Solheim Cup team?
5. Stavanger Golf Club. Up in Norway, someone has spent the last decade defecating in the cups at this poor course. At least the golfers there have a good reason *not* to make putts.