1. Phil Mickelson. His beat-down on Tiger could be a defining performance, not to mention a season-saver. Yeah, he was a non-factor at the majors, but winning at Pebble Beach and the Players and taking the first FedEx Cup would make for a pretty stellar year.
2. Arron Oberholser. One of the best quotes in the game is quietly turning into a big-time performer. Reporters everywhere, rejoice.
3. The FedEx Cup. Love it or hate it, after two weeks it’s all anybody can talk about.
4. The Tour Championship. Usually a snooze-fest, next week’s season-ender is shaping up as must-see TV, with Tiger and Phil likely to be paired together again and a bunch of players still in the points race for the Cup. In Ponte Vedra Beach, this is known as the best-case scenario.
5. Butch Harmon. Not only has he helped turn Mickelson into a ball-striking fool, but now Phil is crediting him with helping to get inside Tiger’s head. Never known for his small ego, you know Butch is just loving this.
1. Phil Mickelson. He took one of the greatest moments of his career and immediately obscured it with his weird, nebulous, whiny diss on PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. Is Phil a rebel or a fool? Or both?
2. Tiger Woods. He’s still gonna be player of the year, and he deserves the honor, but it’s been a season of uncommon failure: Sunday stumbles at the Masters and U.S. Open, and now he’s been punked between the ropes by his least favorite rival. I can’t wait to see how he responds in ’08.
3. Carl Spackler. Bill Murray got into trouble in Stockholm when police stopped him for allegedly being intoxicated while driving a … golf cart! I didn’t know you were allowed to pilot one of those things sober.
4. Nancy Lopez. In the midst of a mid-life crisis, er, comeback, the one-time LPGA legend shot 81-79 at last week’s State Farm Classic. And that was a monumental improvement after she hung up a sporty 82-91 the week before. Please, Nancy, call it a career already.
5. Tim Finchem. To this point, the FedEx Cup has been more interesting than expected, but Finchem has been taking plenty of shrapnel along the way, with angry sponsors and aroused writers obsessing on the occasional wayward star. Now Phil has made it personal. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for the Commish. Almost.