Every week, Sports Illustrated senior writer Alan Shipnuck riffs on the top headlines in golf.
This week, he takes on the thrilling back nine of the Players Championship that led to a less-than-satisfying finish in that three-hole aggregate playoff, Tiger and Phil’s decline in the face of golf’s next generation and the incredible gripping properties of that outfit Alexis Randock wore to celebrate with boyfriend Rickie Fowler.
1. Alexis’ top. How on earth did it stay on? It’s golf’s most gravity-defying moment since Fred Couples’ ball Velcro-ed on the bank above Rae’s Creek at the ’92 Masters.
2. Rickie. That was an awesome unleashing of talent and will. Can’t wait to see what’s next.
3. Thorbjorn Olesen. Nice to have Thunder Bear back on the leaderboard after missing three months recovering from hand surgery. Of course, my favorite Thorbjorn injury came last year when he injured his groin falling off a camel. True story.
4. Kevin Kisner. How did that 72nd hole putt not keep turning? It’s only a matter of time for this talent.
5. Ted Bishop. Just when you thought Ian Poulter couldn’t be any more strident on Twitter, Bishop comes through with some first-class trolling. Watching the deposed PGA boss cut loose, it makes me wonder how much fun Timmy Finchem is going to be when he leaves office. (Spoiler alert: not very.)
1. Sergio. One of the great physical talents of the last coupla decades but mentally he’s suuuuch a soft egg.
2. Bill Haas. If he had putted halfway decent he might’ve won the Players by six shots. But ask Sergio how satisfying it is to play this game of what-ifs.
3. Tiger. He used to be the master of turning a 73 into a 69 but now it seems like he gets the bare minimum out of his rounds. Just another discouraging sign as he gets passed up by a new generation of young, hungry, fearless stars.
4. The Players’ new playoff format. Sunday afternoon was about as thrilling as it gets…until it we had to slog through an anticlimactic three-hole aggregate playoff. A classic case of too much of a good thing.
5. Phil. “I can’t believe I’ve actually won here.” Frankly, neither can we. The cruel thing about being an aging golfer is that you never know if your last victory has already happened. With Mickelson, it’s time to really start wondering.