1. Sean O’Hair. Nice to see one of the most talented young Americans break through with a long-overdue second win. Throw in J.B. Holmes, Hunter Mahan, Boo Weekley and D.J. Trahan, and the U.S. Ryder Cup team could have a bunch of rookie studs. Let’s hope so, anyway.
2. Arjun Atwal. A Sunday 64 to win in Malaysia was worth 219,000 Euros. Concurrently getting exonerated after a year-long investigation into a fatal car crash? Priceless.
3. Daylight Savings. Without that extra hour of sunlight, there’s no way they finish that seven-hole playoff at the Toshiba Classic. (And no way you and I get to sneak in 9 holes before dinner.)
4. Ernie Els. I’ve been a consistent critic of Els through the years, but you have to salute him for opening up about his autistic son in an effort to raise awareness about a condition that is largely misunderstood. If Els ever wins another major and Ben rushes the green for a celebratory hug, you can bet that the tears will be flowing.
5. The schedule. The season is now 13 weeks old, and to this point there have been only two really good fields (loosely defined as any tournament at which Tiger shows up). Now we have three blockbusters in the next five weeks, culminating with the Masters. Of course, I’ll be too busy watching March Madness to follow the golf.
1. Stewart Cink. My diagnosis is that he’s too nice for professional golf. Not to mention too cerebral. Dumb and mean is really the ideal Tour temperament.
2. The Florida swing (so far). Jeez, I must be getting old, because I remember when Sundays on Tour used to be exciting and wining required bold shot-making, not prevent defense. It’s fun to watch the pros suffer at the U.S. Open, but the brutal setups week after week are getting a little tedious.
3. John Daly. Just when you thought the life of Long John couldn’t get any more tawdry, he spent last Saturday boozing at a beer garden on the grounds of the PODs, during which he reportedly signed a female fan’s booty, flipped off a cameraman and yukked it up when someone in his entourage dropped trou and flashed a full-moon for the cameras. It makes me wistful for the days when Daly spent his free time trashing hotel rooms — at least that had some rock-star cred.
4. Tripp Isenhour. Lost in all the furor over the deceased hawk is the sad fact that the fatal shot was the most solid contact Isenhour has made in his long, woebegone career.
5. Jay Haas. He gagged a three-footer in sudden-death to give one away at the Toshiba. Ironic, isn’t it, that the beneficiary was Bernhard Langer, the man who practically invented the yips. Who says the golf gods don’t have a sense of humor?