Tiger sucks, Phil chokes, and Steve Stricker has shot at golf’s No. 1 ranking

August 9, 2010 by · 2 Comments
Filed under: Entertaining News 

With Tiger Woods sucking his way to his worst-ever golf score as a professional at the Bridgestone Invitational, and Phil Mickelson doing his familiar gag routine with the top ranking within his grasp, the golf world may have turned its lonely eyes to the wrong couple of stiffs.

Cheesehead. Steve Stricker, currently stacked up as fourth-best in the world, could well end up as the world’s No. 1 with a win at this week’s PGA Championship in his home state of Wisconsin.

At 43, Stricker has two wins this season and has climbed the rankings leaderboard heading into the PGA Tour’s last major at Whistling Straits in Kohler. And, with Woods’ game AWOL, second-ranked Mickelson swooning each time he has No. 1 in sight, and No. 3 Lee Westwood on the DL with a torn calf muscle, Stricker may well be the guy to dethrone Tiger from his 258-week run as the world’s best.

Hacker. By now, you know that Woods hacked his way to 78th place -- one golfer from DFL and 30 strokes behind winner Hunter Mahan -- at last week’s Bridgestone event. Mickelson, for his part, coughed up a giant 8-over 78 hair ball in his final round at Firestone Country Club to finish in a tie for 46th.

Woods flailed from the beginning on a course he had demolished, winning seven of nine previous tourneys at Firestone Country Club. Phil “The Thrill,” who needed a fourth-place finish to obtain the cherished top spot, was just one off the lead after two rounds and still within striking distance after 54 holes.

Reality bites. Then the real possibility that he could, after so many aborted attempts, finally grab the gold ring sunk in and swamped Mickelson’s golf game.

"If I keep finishing ahead of them every week eventually it’ll [becoming No. 1] happen, but the problem is there’s guys behind me that will pass me because I’m not playing well enough right now," Mickelson told reporters following his by-now predictable Sunday meltdown.

"I’ve got some work to do to get my own game sharp,” Mickelson added. “It’s important with this last major coming up next week that I try to get this thing turned around here in the next three days." 

Lost. As for Woods, he’s just lost, from fairway through green. He can’t find a swing, his formerly crisp approach shots sail who knows where, and his putter has quit for the season.

With stats like last in the Bridgestone field in fairways hit (22 of 56), only 35 of 72 greens in regulation, his worst score in relation to par (18-over), and his highest final-round score as a pro (77), and the golfer himself seemingly mailing in his Firestone appearance, perhaps it’s time for Woods to take a cue from Sergio Garcia and disappear.

Apparently, however, the still top-ranked golfer won’t follow Garcia’s plan to take a two-month furlough after the PGA Championship. He will play in next week’s final major of the season and announced he would tee it up in the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai in November.

Playoffs?! Playoffs?! Another lousy showing at Whistling Straits, however, and Woods won’t be around to help Boston’s Deutsche Bank Championship stay afloat.

Woods began the week at 111th on the FedEx Cup points list but nosedived, along with his erstwhile game, to 119th, more than 1,000 points behind leader Ernie Els. With the TPC Boston tourney reportedly in dire financial straits, the last thing organizers need is the loss of its cash cow, one Eldrick Woods.

At this point in his struggles, however, the Deutsche Bank, and even The Barclays, the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoff, are not even on Woods’ itinerary.

“I’m just going to get ready for Thursday [at Whistling Straits]. I need to be ready for Thursday,” Woods said in a post-Bridgestone press conference.

Ryder Cup. Woods also fell from ninth to 10th in Ryder Cup points, five places below the immortal Jeff Overton and four behind Anthony Kim, who struggled around Firestone in his first event since thumb surgery. Not a very encouraging outlook for a U.S. Ryder Cup team that would include Tiger.

“Not playing like this, definitely not, not playing like this,” Woods said of his desire to play in Wales in October. “ I mean, I wouldn't help the team if I'm playing like this. No one would help the team if they're shooting 18-over par.”

While he said he could “turn it around” before the biennial competition began, Woods sounded like a golfer in need of a clue and a break.

“It’s been a long year,” he said. “It’s been a long year.”

[Via examiner.com]

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