1. Abu Dhabi. Six of the world’s top ten are on hand this week for the real start of the 2011 season.
2. Mark Wilson. A 36-hole Sunday with no bogeys on a tight, twisty, windy track? That is golfing your ball, sir.
3. Charl Schwartzel. On his home soil this young South African plays like the second coming of Gary Player. Here’s hoping his A-game can clear customs.
4. Olley/DL3. This week they officially get the nod as the next Ryder Cup captains. They’re both classy, clean-living, mild-manner golfing gentlemen. The British press is already despairing.
5. Bones. He finally toted something of real value. No, not Phil’s sticks, but the cameras of SI snapper Robert Beck at the Auburn-Oregon tilt. Bones got to keep 10 percent of Beck’s meal per diem. That works out to $6.
1. 'Celebrity' Pro-Ams. I don’t mind the concept but the execution is painful. Get me some real celebrity golfers. I nominate Cameron Diaz, Jessica Alba, Halle Berry, Heather Locklear, Tea Leoni, Ivanka Trump, and Catherine Zeta-Jones, all of whom are golfers.
2. Padraig Harrington. Dude has grown a beard. And copped to making more than a dozen off-season tweaks to his swing and gear. Next thing you know he’ll be living in a cabin in the wilds of Montana.
3. Ben Crane. I appreciate the effort, but people are treating his droll viral videos as if Fellini came back from the dead to film them. Once was funny. Twice is trying a little too hard. Let’s pray there’s not a third installment.
4. Fragile golfers. Geoff Ogilvy’s is still recovering from, uh, slipping at the beach, Zach Johnson is taking a month off to let his toe heal after, er, slipping on stairs while Tim Clark may be out of the Hope because of … wait for it … blisters. I’m guessing Ray Lewis is not impressed.
5. Steve Marino. Dude has swagger, tons of talent, more than $7 mill in career earnings … and zero victories. A swoon during the middle of his final round at Sony doomed him to another lucrative near-miss. One of these days he’ll live up to his potential. I think I’ve been saying that since ’09.