This Week at WorldGolf.com: Oct. 4, 2006
As Tiger rolls along solo, the golf world waits patiently for the new-and-improved Lefty
Did anyone else notice something missing this weekend as Tiger Woods burned the field at the American Express Championship in England?
Hint: Think chubby, cheerful, short-game wizard who's recently gone cold as lunch meat.
Yes, Phil Mickelson has retreated to super-secret quarantine in the shadowy depths of Scottsdale following his U.S. Open collapse and dismal Ryder Cup performance. His sprayed drive off Winged Foot's corporate beer tent to the left of the 18th fairway has left him with a summer-long hangover he can't shake.
As he spends the next few months in search of the Phil who has won three majors and was one of the most feared names on the PGA Tour leaderboard, many are proclaiming his certain demise.
But we should all be pulling for a speedy and full recovery. Golf needs a sound Lefty, because this whole "Tiger blows out the field" thing is getting old fast. I don't mind if Woods wins every tournament but someone needs to be there tugging his pant leg on Sundays. These wire-to-wire blowouts are impressive but total yawners.
Any main character needs a Number Two, a Dr. Watson, a Chewbacca, a Sideshow Bob, a Tony Blair, etc. When Mickelson is at the top of his game, he's the only one who can come close to Woods when he's at his best like his current tear. Sergio Garcia, although he talks a good game and dresses a flashy one, is still light years behind what Mickelson can offer in the form of a worthy runner-up who occasionally even steals one.
The question on everyone's mind of course, is will Phil's hiatus simply damage his game further, making him the next David Duval? Or will he be 2007's comeback story and the answer to Tiger's seemingly unstoppable winning streak?
Calling it quits in 2006 was a giant first step in an eventual road back to co-piloting the PGA Tour once again. Even the sidekick, often a steadfast, even-keeled compliment to the ego of the hero needs some "me" time once in awhile. Expect Phil to come back with a vengeance to defend his Green Jacket at Augusta National in 2007.
Get well soon, Lefty.
As always, WorldGolf.com welcomes your comments.
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