This week's heroes? Lexi and Michelle. Zeros? Kooch, Sergio and Masters punters
1. Lexi. Hello, world.
2. Matt Jones. That’s how good these guys are: a player most folks have never heard of pulled off two of the all-time pressure shots to steal an unforgettable victory. Onions.
3. Billy Payne. What sounded like a slightly nutty idea -- a Drive, Chip & Putt contest at Augusta National -- turned out to be a homerun, with a bunch of little charmers offering the perfect start to Masters week. Throw in the Pacific and Latin Amateurs, television for the Par-3 tournament and various other initiatives, and Chairman Payne has become maybe the most important popularizing figure in the game today.
4. Michelle Wie. No, she didn’t win, but the Dinah was the 10th time in 11 starts she has finished 16th or better going back to last year, a level of sustained consistency that has built up her confidence and, hopefully, portends big things. More impressively, after the bruising experience of being a massively hyped teen prodigy, Wie has blossomed into a self-possessed, well-adjusted young woman worth rooting for.
5. Greg Norman. With Aussies having won four of the last eight Tour events, and a young protégé of his defending in Augusta this week, is it time to declare Shark the Se Ri Pak of the men’s game?
1. Kooch. You’re never going to see a worse pressure shot than Kuchar’s snipe into the water on the 72nd hole at Houston. Just brutal. Though I loved his gee-whiz reaction.
2. Charley Hull. The teen queen from England was in position to make a Sunday run at the Dinah but went 4-over in the span of nine holes in the middle of her round. Apparently this game isn’t as easy as she’s made it look.
3. Sergio. Needing a birdie on the 72nd hole to catch Jones as the clubhouse leader, Garcia instead made a messy bogey. Story of his life.
4. The Paulina prudes. Note to all those kvetching about Ms. Gretzky’s cover: this is a business, and all of your complaining is only encouraging other editors out there to reach for similar buzz-generating material.
5. Masters punters. Who’s going to win this week? Who knows. This is the most wide-open Masters of the post-Faldo era, and I love it.