1. Lorena Ochoa. Turns out Tiger Woods’s only competition plays on a different tour. First one to 10 wins gets to be my player of the year.
2. Andres Romero. One of the most stylish players in the game proved he has plenty of substance, too, winning in New Orleans in only his 12th PGA Tour start. I used to think I needed to learn Korean to cover pro golf, but now I’m gonna start taking Spanish classes.
3. Thomas Levet. The nutty Frenchman lives!
4. Jose Maria Olazabal. Making the cut at the Andalucia Open is not usually reason to celebrate, but for Olley it was his first tournament back after seven months of debilitating shoulder and groin injuries. Just in time, too — it wouldn’t be a Masters without his artistry.
5. Woody Austin. Yes, he choked like a dog on the back nine in New Orleans, but kudos for being brave enough to provide an honest assessment: “I choked like a dog.” The Woodman remains nothing if not entertaining.
1. Michelle Wie. First, she announced that lingering wrist problems will force her to miss the Dinah Shore, casting further doubt on her future. Then her boyfriend Robin Lopez declared early for the NBA draft, meaning his days around the Farm are numbered. Guess which news item her smothering parents are happier about.
2. David Leadbetter. He has been presiding over the Wie trainwreck, and now his most prized pupil, Ernie Els, has had a high-profile flirtation with Butch Harmon. With the exception of Garth Brooks, no one misses the 90’s more than Lead, who used to be the king of all swing gurus back when his boys Nick Faldo and Nick Price ruled the golf world.
3. Colin Montgomerie. His stated mission for the early months of ’08 was to play his way back into the Masters. After fizzling badly to ensure he’d miss out on Augusta, now he’s lashing out at the three international players who were granted special invitations. Don’t try to confuse the issue, Monty. Their invites have nothing to do with your poor play.
4. Ernie Els. His win at the Honda was a breakthrough, but since then he has, in order, W/D’d from Bay Hill due to fatigue, finished DFL at Doral, and now W/D’d Houston due to a virus. Not exactly the ideal runup for the Masters.
5. Oliver Fisher. Two up with two to play, the 19-year-old Fisher was on the verge of Euro tour history before letting it get away in the end. Afterward, Levet called the talented Fisher “the next Nick Faldo.” Does that mean he’s going to start shamelessly shilling for TaylorMade?