Hot? Na, Tiger and Northern Ireland. Not? Rory, Watney and the LPGA

Hot? Na, Tiger and Northern Ireland. Not? Rory, Watney and the LPGA

Tiger Woods is tuning up for the Presidents Cup with an appearance this week at the Open.
Matt Sullivan/Reuters


1. Kevin Na. A survivor of a 16 on a par 4 and a near-whiff, he’s now a PGA Tour winner. I can’t decide if he’s the most fragile or the toughest guy in golf.

2. Tiger Woods. Does anybody really care what a Tour pro shoots when he’s off-duty? In Tiger’s case, yes. The course record at Medalist is intriguing and only serves to ratchet up the hype for his return this week at the Open, which will be a veritable Tiger-palooza. And that’s just for showing up. Imagine if he wins!

3. Northern Ireland. At this point I’m guessing you could just pull some random guy off the street in Portrush and give him a logoed polo and he would be able to go out and win an important golf tournament.

4. Kenny Perry. The big-hearted country boy has looked adrift on the senior tour, but he got an emotional first win by playing to honor his sister Kay, who died on the eve of the final round. When it was over, all of Franklin, Ky., cried along with KP.

5. Justin Timberlake. He could be squiring starlets or making multi-platinum records, but instead he puts a big effort into a little PGA Tour event, and the worthy cause it supports. Pretty cool.


1. PGA Tour schedulers. It’d be even cooler if the Tour would give JT a decent date in the “regular season” to ensure his involvement and the long-term health of the tourney. I say add Vegas to the desert swing in February and move Pebble to better weather in the summer, but that’s just me.

2. Rory McIlroy. Golf’s boy king is still trying to build on his U.S. Open breakthrough. On Sunday at the Dunhill he tore up the Old Course for 11 holes to take the lead but then looked strangely tentative coming home, settling for another disappointing near-miss. It’s clear Rory can blow away fields when he’s on-song. The harder part is learning to win Sunday dogfights. I guess we’ll have to be a little more patient.

3. Nick Watney. He was in prime position to become the only three-time winner on Tour and interject himself into the player of the year debate, but he had to settle for just another lucrative week. See, Nick, the better you play the more we expect of you. Just ask Rory.

4. The LPGA. The tour has its best buzz in years from Lexi Thompson’s historic victory and an electric Solheim Cup, so of course the Asian swing begins this week, and we won’t get Lexi or another domestic event until lateNovember. Oy.

5. Kenny Harms. Kevin Na’s poor caddie is compelled to plum-bob on every green for his boss. Even for a six-figure payday I’m not sure I could endure this soul-sucking ritual.