By Alan Shipnuck
Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Heroes

1. Tiger Woods. Who’s the biggest star in Phoenix this week? Hint: it’s not Tom Brady, Russell Wilson or Richard Sherman.

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2. The LPGA lid-lifter. Our favorite tour kicks off this week in Florida (!) with a stacked field and a zany/intriguing host course featuring reproductions of various famous holes. If you need me, I’ll be on the couch, watching.

Michelle Wie

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3. Branden Grace. A couple of years ago, he was touted as golf’s next great young player. After a taut win in Qatar, Grace, 26, has reminded us it’s never too late to become who you are supposed to be.

Branden Grace, Qatar Masters

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4. The Spafro. I hope Miguel Angel Jimenez keeps winning just so I can see more of his hair. Dude’s ponytail has more personality than most Tour players!

Miguel Angel Jimenez, Champions Tour

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5. The PGA Show. There was a noticeable uptick in attendance and enthusiasm at this year’s equipmentpalooza in Orlando. Now, if we could just learn how to manufacture a few million new golfers, the industry’s outlook would be much rosier.

PGA Merchandise Show

David Walberg

Zeros

1. Robert Allenby. We may never know for sure what really happened to him late at night on the mean streets of Waikiki after he missed the cut at the Sony Open. But it’s safe to say the slow drip of salacious details -- the latest place Allenby in a strip club before his self-described kidnapping -- is giving Tim Finchem heartburn.

2. Dustin Johnson. In his painfully stage-managed return to the game, he is still insisting he wasn’t suspended by the Tour for six months. His return to action, just announced for San Diego, will come six months and four days after his non-suspension began. Ooo-kay.

Dustin Johnson

Robert Beck / SI

3. Matt Kuchar. This non-closer needs to lock himself in a room for a week and do nothing but watch Glengarry Glen Ross. A fade to second place at the Hope? Come get your set of steak knives, Kooch.

4. Rory. Tiger and Phil are in Phoenix for the party of the year, but he’s scooping up cash at a tournament no one cares about on the wrong side of the world. C’mon, son.

Rory McIlroy

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5. Back9Network. After many years and many millions of dollars and many unflattering headlines, this would-be golf lifestyle channel is still trying to find its way. I’m all for trying to make golf young and edgy, but it’s a tough business model. Maximum Golf magazine should have been a cautionary tale. Wait, you don’t remember Maximum Golf? Exactly.

Back9Network

Courtesy of Back9Network

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