Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The PGA Tour is done with its Texas two-
step and the European Tour has finished its flagship event, where many of
the top names played miserably.
The best players in the world, well 17 of the top 25 anyway, will be in Ohio
for the Memorial this week. And the tournament can't come at a better time.
The luster from Tiger Woods' win at the Players Championship has worn off, and
the last couple weeks have been dotted with old and worn stories that were
dissected and bisected from every conceivable angle.
I don't know about you, but I was sick of hearing about the anchoring ban about
an hour after it became officially official. Thankfully, that talk got blown
off the map. But that happened for all the wrong reasons.
Sergio Garcia tried to make a joke at Wentworth last week, and it went
horribly wrong. He quickly apologized, but what he said should have never
happened in the first place.
And if his remarks weren't enough, European Tour chief George O'Grady had to
add his own foolish comments to the banter.
Finally, Colonial took center stage over the weekend, but it has lost some of
its luster. Fewer and fewer big names are playing there on a yearly basis,
but it helped get the focus back on the action inside the ropes, especially
with 18 of the top 21 on the final leaderboard being American.
Speaking of which, the rhetoric for the year's second major is really starting
to pick up, and this week's stop at Jack's place will do nothing but help
increase the talk of the U.S. Open.
Woods heads to Muirfield Village having won four times this season. Though
nine of his last 16 rounds have been in the 70s, Woods has won three of his
last four starts.
It would come as no surprise if tournament host Jack Nicklaus was greeting
Woods on the 18th green as the winner for a sixth time come Sunday.
That would make Woods an even greater favorite at Merion. As of two weeks ago,
Woods was the clear betting favorite at 7-2. A win this week would drop Woods
closer to the 5-2 or 4-1 range entering the year's second major.
Will any of that help him this week, or in three weeks at Merion? Of course
not, but it's always fun to speculate.
The Memorial will help narrow the focus heading toward the U.S. Open, and it
should serve as a good battle, too. In the last eight Memorials, the winner has
had a winning margin of three strokes or less.
Will the winner at the Memorial go on to win at Merion as well? It isn't
likely, but for a few select players, it is certainly possible.
One other bonus for the top Americans in the field this week? They'll get to
scout the course that will host the Presidents Cup in October.
If the final leaderboard this week looks like it did last week, Presidents Cup
captain Fred Couples will be ecstatic about how well his potential team
members are playing.
For this week, let's enjoy watching Tiger try to win the Memorial for a sixth
time, and enjoy watching everyone else try to take the title from his grasp.
WHO DOESN'T NEED MORE BOO?
In his early years on tour, most outside the golf community thought Boo
Weekley was just a country bumpkin from the panhandle of Florida.
It took a few years, and a pair of wins at the Heritage, for those people to
realize Weekley had some serious game.
Weekley won the Heritage in back-to-back years (2007 and '08), and that helped
him earn a spot on Paul Azinger's Ryder Cup team. Weekley went 2-0-1 at the
'08 Ryder Cup and seemed destine to be a star on future teams.
Since his magical 2008 campaign, Weekley had battled a litany of injuries. In
no particular order, he has battled cysts, a pulled rib cage muscle and a torn
Back to full health this year, Weekley has already tallied a pair of top-five
finishes and four top 10s. In the last four injury riddled seasons, Weekley
combined for only two top fives and seven top 10s.
Two key stats that have helped him achieve those finishes this season - he
ranks fifth on tour in total driving and is seventh in greens in regulation.
If you hit a lot of fairways, and a lot of greens, that is a recipe for
success. And Weekley is mixing those well this year.
* The LPGA finishing a 36-hole event last week by playing three 12-hole rounds
was a miracle after a foot rain fell in eight hours last Tuesday evening.
According to tournament officials, 45 million gallons of rain water were pumped
off the course. That is enough water to fill over 68 Olympic-sized swimming
pools. Kudos to the grounds crew for their work, the tour for the ingenuity
and the players for their patience.
* Matteo Manassero won the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth last week, and
upped his victory total to four on the European Tour. So what you say? He
still can't enter a bar legally in the United States since he's only 20 years
old. He became the youngest-ever champion of the tour's flagship event.
The Sports Network