1. Phil Mickelson. He will surely be the first golfer to be featured on “Behind the Music.” The guy’s career is pure melodrama, and this latest reinvention is the most intriguing yet. One quibble: all three of Mickelson’s majors and now the Players have been won with Tiger Woods nowhere in sight. One of these day I want to see them get it on. Oakmont would do nicely.
2. Butch. What could possibly be sweeter than taming Mickelson and helping him pile up big-time victories? Knowing that it bugs the hell out of the man who fired Butch, Tiger Woods.
3. Sean O’Hair. Yeah, he spent about $750K on the last two holes, but up until then this talented 24 year old hung tough on the biggest Sunday of his life, and you gotta respect that he was playing to win on 17, even if the results were disastrous.
4. Suzann Pettersen. One of the Hot List’s favorite players finally got it done on Sunday, winning her first LPGA event at the Michelob Ultra Open. She’s my early pick for Solheim Cup MVP.
5. The Stadium Course. It wasn’t quite the fire-breathing linksy test that was advertised, but the more playable rough and new chipping areas presented a great all-around test that encouraged thrills and spills. And despite what Tiger thinks, the 17th is delicious fun when the tournament hangs in the balance.
1. Jee Young Lee. In her playoff with Pettersen she gagged a two-foot tap-in, leading to an ignominious defeat. On the bright side, it wasn’t long ago that Pettersen let the Dinah Shore get away, so maybe Lee, too, can learn from her mistake.
2. Rory Sabbatini. Hey, I love when guys talk trash, especially to Tiger, but it’s not advisable to then go out the next day and play like a punk. Worse than silly, Sabbatini came off as irrelevant.
3. Tiger Woods. Major bonus points for giving Sabbitini a verbal beat-down, but on the course Woods was a non-factor while his arch-rival Phil was making a major statement.
4. Sergio Garcia. You’d think a back-door second worth nearly a mill would put him in a good mood, but Sergio was, as usual, defensive and churlish all weekend, whether the topic was his controversial drop on Sunday or his yank into the pond on the 18th hole on Saturday. You could blame it on his youth, but O’Hair is even younger and he radiated class despite his crushing disappointment.
5. Lee Westwood. While all the grown-ups were at the Players, he got the job done at the Open de Andalucia, but Westwood, 34, is way, way too talented to have gone four years since his last W. Both he and his buddy Darren Clarke are running out of time to realize their tremendous potential.