Monday, March 26, 2007

Tiger says he's ready for Augusta

In two words late Sunday afternoon, Tiger Woods answered the most important question about the Masters, which is one week away.

Asked immediately after his victory in the latest World Golf Championship event Sunday by NBC’s Jimmy Roberts how he feels about the state of his game with the Masters at hand, Woods said, “Very pleased.”

Note to new Augusta National chairman Billy Payne – make sure Tiger’s green jacket is pressed for the ceremony April 8. He’ll be needing it.

As if there were any doubt about Woods’ role as favorite at Augusta, it was reinforced, wrapped in swooshes and sent via Buick courier to the land of azaleas and pimento cheese sandwiches after his performance at Doral.

While Phil Mickelson was left to wonder how much the Florida breezes at Bay Hill and Doral had dulled the sharp edge on his game, Woods went about the lucrative business of winning his 13th World Golf Championship event and his 56th PGA Tour event.

The worst that can be said of Woods’ performance was that it lacked drama until the final hole when the possibility of his blowing a three-stroke lead to Brett Wetterich on the 72nd hole whipped through some minds for an instant. That was never actually going to happen because, well, Tiger never lets that happen.

It probably didn’t do much for NBC’s ratings, which likely took a serious hit going against the NCAA tournament and a Bristol race where the car of tomorrow showed up yesterday and produced a race with about as much drama as Tiger’s Sunday at Doral.

Speaking of slipping television ratings and NASCAR, our racing friends need to find some stars. There’s Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Dale Jr. and Jimmie Johnson. Everybody else is Clint Bowyer.

The same has been said about the PGA Tour. But Sergio Garcia tried to spice things up Saturday when after missing yet another short putt he leaned over and spit into the cup. Sergio tried to brush it off, saying, in essence, he didn’t leave a big loogie in the hole.

What Sergio should have done was admit how childish it was. He sorta, kinda apologized but not really. I’m sure Commissioner Finchem will have something productive to do with the money he pulls out of Sergio’s Doral paycheck.

Maybe there’s a lesson to be learned. On the PGA Tour, like most other places, spit happens.