Thursday, August 18, 2005

Fly Me To...Orlando?

Apologies to all my loyal fans (or loyal fan) for the paucity of content lately. It’s not been a great season of viewing for golf – and the Majors were not that appealing – except for the PGA. Now a few words on the PGA as a major and where I think it sits within the hierarchy – that would be LAST! The PGA claims to have the strongest field of the majors since only “professionals” play. However, those professionals include many qualifying club pros – and I doubt those guys could hold a candle to the US and British Amateur champions and runners up. So to me, the “pro” argument is BS. That being said, it has improved its stature mostly because of the venues. They’ve got a strong roster of upcoming courses that certainly rivals the US Open Championship.

My list for prestige – The Open Championship (the oldest), the US Open (patriotic), the Masters Tournament (the last entrant – but tradition and drama are hard to argue against) and the PGA Championship – in that order.

I heard about Tiger’s early exit from New Jersey yesterday and could not believe my ears. I am not sure if the other Monday competitors knew he had gone – but if they did I cannot help but think his exit relieved some pressure. “Hey, if I get to 2 under and into a playoff at least HE won’t be in it!” Turned out his judgment was prescient, but had he been wrong it would have been a monumental blunder.

So two days after a terrific run by Mickelson, Tiger steals the headlines. But his exit should not overshadow the excellent showing by Phil. He led or shared the lead after each of the four rounds. Interestingly for the Monday finish he opted to leave his 3 iron out of the bag – a club he needed on the Par 3 16th. He made bogey because of it, but the stroke proved non-fatal. Unfortunately due to a massive power outage in New Canaan I was unable to view the Monday finish (work wreaked havoc too) and most of the Sunday action. But what I did see and the press I’ve read showed a Phil Mickelson totally under control of his game and, more importantly, his head. Additionally, he drew some good fortune in that Elkington and Bjorn were unable to convert birdies on the Par 4.526 18th. He’s had plenty of bad luck in his career – so the rub of the “green” was warranted.

This week the tour travels to the NEC at Firestone in Akron, OH. A strong field is expected and Firestone is a solid track – so look for some hot action on Sunday!