Throwback Phil – Comeback Tiger?

COMEBACK OR THROWBACK 2018 SEASON WELCOME to the 103rd edition of golf on the PGA Tour.  The PGA Tour, as we know it, started 51 years ago when Arnold Palmer headed the emergence of the Players Division of the PGA of America.  A classification created to segregate those professionals that solely play on the PGA […]

COMEBACK OR THROWBACK 2018 SEASON

WELCOME to the 103rd edition of golf on the PGA Tour.  The PGA Tour, as we know it, started 51 years ago when Arnold Palmer headed the emergence of the Players Division of the PGA of America.  A classification created to segregate those professionals that solely play on the PGA Tour that needed different direction than what was provided by the PGA of America.  Known as Professional Golfers, rather than Golf Professionals, they hold their own classification among the PGA of America. These members of the PGA of America make their money playing golf on the PGA Tour thanks to Mr. Palmer’s growth of the game, which created larger purses meaning fewer of the stars needed to return to Club Professional jobs.  Mr. Palmer created this opportunity with his presence on the tour which will never be forgotten.

It is said that we have not seen the type of galleries on tour as seen when Arnold Palmer was playing in a tour event, until Tiger came along.  That being said, we have not seen those type of galleries since Tiger has been away from golf. This does not include the Ryder Cup galleries, that’s a different creature.  Most believe Arnold Palmer brought the game to the world, with his personality both as a man as well as a tour golfer. As I write this, 120 Professional Golfers are participating in the 40th playing of the Arnold Palmer Invitational Tournament at Bay Hill in Orlando, FL.  10 of the top 20 have come to Bay Hill to participate in an official PGA Tour event created by Arnold Palmer himself. Eldrick Tont Woods is in this field ranked 149th in the world. Tiger was first ranked in the world during the 1994 campaign ending the year at 753rd.  3 years later, in 1997, he ended with a world ranking of 2. At the end of 1998 Tiger finished #1 in the world, where he stayed for 6 years when he fell to #2 in 2004, but quickly regained the #1 ranking in 2005, holding the ranking until 2010, when he dropped to #2 again.  During the next 8 years he would be ranked #1 just one more time, 2013, on his decent to 656th in 2017, his lowest ranking since 1994.

Beginning the 2018 season ranked 656th, Tiger began to prowl up the world rankings.  The 2018 Tiger golf season started in week 4 at the Farmers Insurance Open, finishing T23rd “vaulting” to 539th.  We saw Tiger again in week 7 at the Genesis Open missing the cut, falling to 544th. The next week, at The Honda Classic, we saw glimpses of the Tiger of old with a 12th place finish moving to a 388 world ranking.  With a week of rest, week 10 of the season brought us the Valspar Championship with a strong glimpse of what may be… “what’s to come”. Mr. Woods looked different on the golf course that week as he held the lead at a point giving himself a chance on the 72nd hole to extend his throwback weekend, but came up 18″ short finishing T2 leaping to 149th in the world going into week 11.

Phil Mickelson was first ranked  at the end of the 1990 season at 462nd, breaking into the top 50 in 1993 at 47th.  Mr. Mickelson has been in the top 20 in the world 20 of the last 24 years ending the 2017 season 37th.  Two of the four rankings outside of the top 20 were 22nd and 24th in 1994 and 1995, which were the two years following his breakthrough year into the top 50, the other two coming in the last three years.  The next year, 1996, Phil broke into the top 10 staying in the top 10 for 15 of the next 19 years never dropping out of the top 20. In week 9 of the 2018 season the WGC-Mexico Championship was center stage.   Approaching his 48th birthday in June, Lefty won for the 43rd time on the PGA Tour, spanning 27 years from his first victory at the 1991 Northern Telecom Open which he won as an amateur.

With the last 5 years being mainly dominated by the twenty somethings are we seeing the resurgence of those that took the tour to yet another level when they emerged on the scene?  If Tiger wins this week will Phil be forgotten again, or is he already old news with what Tiger is up to now? The odds of either of these two winning another major was highly improbable until week 9 of the 2018 season.  I know Tiger, at one point this year, was 100/1 and I can not imagine Phil was much better, if at all, to win The Masters in April. Can the nerves that need to be controlled on the putting green during the final round of a tournament, be managed under the pressure?  The doubt that Tiger used to nestle in the head of everyone in the field may not be a weapon Tiger can use or still has in his arsenal. Maybe Phil’s win will be motivation for Tiger. Not because of his competition with Phil but I do believe a mental thought Tiger may have coming down the stretch will be… if the old man can master the putting nerves, than I can too!

It was 1,687 days between PGA Tour wins for Lefty.  If Tiger wins on sunday it will be…YES…1,687 days since he last won on tour!

SO… a fleeting throwback moment with Phil winning and Tiger prowling… or are THEY BACK!!!

Thank You, Mr. Palmer, for all you did for the world.  Rest In Peace!

Good Golfing,

JB

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