Hot: Golf, even without Tiger. Not: Phil Mickelson.

Hot: Golf, even without Tiger. Not: Phil Mickelson.

Sergio Garcia nipped Mickelson by .02 in the Vardon trophy race.
Fred Vuich/SI


1. Golf. Turns out the sport didn’t wither and die in the absence of a certain somebody. Since the epic U.S. Open we’ve witnessed the creation of a new superstar (Paddy), a new crossover star (Camillo), and a particularly juicy rivalry between young guns (Sergio vs. AK), not to mention the rebirth of the Ryder Cup. Eldrick who?

2. The Tour Championship. Going in it looked to be a snoozefest, but it turned out to be a riveting Sunday featuring four big-time players. Unfortunately, based on the TV ratings, most of you tuned out before it even began.

3. Lorena. The definition of prolific: taking the whole summer off and still having seven wins.

4. Diversity. Let’s review the list of winners from last week: Villegas, Ochoa, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano (Euro tour), Eduardo Romero (old guys). Remember when people thought golf was for white guys in bad plaid? Those days are so ovah.

5. The European tour. Now comes word that Phil Mickelson is considering joining next year to be a part of the big-bucks Dubai season-ender. Given the U.S. economic meltdown Phil may be merely the vanguard of big-name pros who play more and more on the wrong side of the ocean.


1. The FedEx Cup. Okay, we were willing to grant the lords of Ponte Vedra one mulligan. But two years in they still haven’t gotten this thing right. This year’s media guide list 31 vice presidents on the Tour payroll — can’t at least one of them come up with a good idea to save the Cup?

2. Sergio. Taking an X on his final hole of ’08 was a perfect end to his star-crossed year. No doubt he has raised his game, but the guy is turning into a neo-Norman with his inability to close the deal… except when it comes to Norman’s daughter, that is.

3. The Fall Series. It starts this week, not that you knew that. Or anybody else did.

4. Kenny Perry. He got 120G’s for finishing ahead of only four guys at the Tour Championship but sniffed that it “ruined the best week of my life,” meaning he would rather have been at home celebrating the Ryder Cup victory. Hey, Kenny, next time just W/D, give back the money and save us the whining.

5. Phil. Fittingly, a season plagued by poor putting ended with a series of missed opportunities on the back nine at East Lake. And, to add a little extra sting, Sergio nipped Phil by .02 in the Vardon trophy race. Forget Pelz — maybe Ari Gold can provide some much-needed career advice.