by Jeff Skinner
1. Saturday’s pairing of Tiger Woods and Graeme McDowell started off looking like a mano y mano showdown. GMac opened with an eagle and was four under through the first six holes. Tiger birdied the first three holes and the stage was set for a tension filled round. But GMac stumbled with a bogey and double later on to allow Woods to pull away.
2. Did I see Keegan Bradley wearing a regular hat instead of his trademark visor on Sunday? Did the Cleveland rep run out of fresh visors or is Bradley trying to protect that curly headed dome of his?
3. I don’t know which was more entertaining, watching Phil Mickelson chip it from the cart path or try and body wiggle his approach into the hole or explain them both to Steve Sands. Phil always has his tongue firmly implanted in cheek.
4. Rory McIlroy made great strides with his swing and his head over the weekend. He was striking the ball well and putting confidently. It’s a game of confidence and Rory seems to be getting his back.
5. So Steve Stricker gives his pal Tiger Woods a little putting tip on Wednesday. He moved Tiger’s grip ever so slightly and then Woods goes out and putts like Tiger circa 2000. He used the least amount of putts he ever needed in a tour event and beats Strick by two strokes. Now that’s a good friend.
6. OK, so The Golf Channel has given Jimmy Roberts his own show. Or should I say NBC has given Roberts a show on The Golf Channel. I’m no fan of the diminutive scribe but one of his first assignments was a chat with the King, Arnold Palmer. Palmer has never thrown anything away; I think he has every golf club he ever touched. We get a look into Arnie’s Barn and that is not to be missed.
7. Philly Mick was his true self on Sunday as he threatened to make an early move on Tiger. With two opening birdies he was primed but fell down the leaderboard with some wayward shots and missed a few very makeable putts.
8. GMac spoke freely about his friend Rory McIlroy early in the week and supported his drinking buddy’s transition into his new set of clubs. McDowell knows what he’s talking about: he struggled after he switched clubs shortly after winning the 2010 U.S. Open. It took him the better part of an entire season to adjust to his new sticks.
9. Stricker has found his magic formula, play less…pocket more cash. Stricker is playing a reduced schedule this season and so far it is working out better than expected. In three events he finished T5 and two seconds and earned $1,820,000. He’s averaging $606,000 per event. Now that’s some part time job.
10. This was Tiger’s 76th PGA Tour win and he needs six more to tie Sam Snead for the lead at 82. Snead had is last victory at 45. It’s a real safe bet that Tiger will pass him, and pass him quickly. Even more impressive is Tiger’s winning percentage of late. This was his fifth win in his last 19 PGA events. That’s a winning percentage of 26% and that is downright scary.