1. Phil. Since hooking up with Butch less than a year ago, he’s scratched some impressive items off his to-do list: he won the Players Championship, dusted Tiger in a head-to-head matchup, won overseas, and now, finally, he’s prevailed at Riviera. Here’s another: finally get that U.S. Open. For all the hype about Tiger and Torrey, don’t forget that Mickelson’s track record there is nearly as strong.
2. Annika. Her 70th career win (!) is one of the most meaningful, signaling her return to good health and the triumphant beginning of the final act of her career. And if Annika’s at her best, it will make Lorena Ochoa’s reign that much more meaningful.
3. Scott. OK, this guy needs a last name: Hoch. The new sheriff on the Senior tour won his second straight tournament in convincing fashion. Just what this beleaguered tour needs.
4. Ernie Els. He made the right call by deciding to tee it up at this week’s Match Play Championship. For a guy who flies all over Asia and Africa for second-tier events, it would have been absurd to skip the coolest tournament of the year.
5. Riv. One of golf’s truly classic courses got the weather it deserved, with the firm, fast conditions throwing Riviera’s brilliance into sharp relief. And its aura has been enhanced by the undeniable fact that Tiger Woods is afraid of the place.
1. Jeff Quinney. He putted like the second coming of Ben Crenshaw until it really mattered, on the back nine.
2. Common sense. At a players meeting in L.A., the Tour proletariat did plenty of kvetching, and Rule 78 is sure to get modified. Yet even with perfect weather, the first two rounds at Riviera were muddled by darkness. The common theme? Slow play. If the Tour was vigilant about enforcing the existing slow-play rules, the size of the fields would not matter.
3. Good taste. Does anyone else need LASIK after getting a glimpse of Rory Sabbatini’s rhinestone belt buckle?
4. Gatorade Tiger. The much-hyped sports drink just hit shelves and it tastes… exactly like old Gatorade. Jeez, for a $100 million you’d think the drink might be more Tiger-centric.
5. Retief Goosen. He made his U.S. debut in L.A. and shot a sporty 79-77 to miss the cut by a mile. Goosen hasn’t been the same player since Sunday of the ’05 U.S. Open. Then again, neither has Michael Campbell.