Hot this week? Kuchar, Clark, Howell. Not? Finchem, Luke, Dove Mountain
1. Kooch. It's impressive how this one-time boy wonder has slowly, methodically turned himself into a big-time player. A playoff win, a Players, a WGC … there's only one thing missing for Kuchar now.
2. Tim Clark. The wee South African made a nice run at the Match Play but his legacy will forever be his impassioned words at this year's players' meeting in San Diego, which galvanized sentiment of the Tour's rank-and-file against the anchoring ban. So now you know whom to blame.
3. Inbee Park. With a win in Thailand, the world No. 4 is already building on last year's monster campaign, when she won the money list and scoring title. Get excited, people.
4. Charles Howell. After a lifetime of being submissive, this mild-mannered Southern gent rose up and finally beat Tiger Woods for the first time. Can you imagine how utterly satisfying that was?
5. Hunter Mahan. His teacher Sean Foley compares Mahan's ball-striking to Hogan's, which actually isn't as crazy as it sounds. Mahan's pure swing is matched by his underrated guts-he's gonna do big things this year.
1. Tim Finchem. The Commish caved to the noisy sentiments of a couple dozen of his selfish players, subverting the rule-making authority of the USGA and setting a murky precedent that will haunt the PGA Tour for years to come. Plus, why the heck did he wait until Sunday to make his announcement, overshadowing one of his marquee events?
2. Rory. It's early, and the kid still has all the talent in the world, but the nightmare start to his season just means more internal pressure and media badgering for a kid who had just figured it all out. I, for one, am praying he defends at the Honda, just so our long national nightmare can end.
3. Dove Mountain. This remote, soulless course was never an inspired choice for the Match Play venue. With an expiring contract and two snowstorms in the last three years, maybe we can finally be rid of this life-suck once and for all.
4. Ariya Jutanugarn. The Thai teen made a ghastly triple-bogey on the final hole to lose the LPGA tourney by one stroke in her home country. Gotta love this girl's talent, but a self-immolation like that can alter the trajectory of a career.
5. Luke. Usually a match play assassin, he got pummeled 7 & 6 in the second round. By Scott Piercy, of all people.