Monday, January 17, 2011

On Wilson, Warm Weather Golf and Where's Phil?

   Sorting through another golf weekend with patches of snow on the ground:

  -- Nice win for a nice guy. Mark Wilson, winner of the Sony Open in Hawaii, isn't the most recognizable guy on the PGA Tour but he's a guy who seems to have things figured out. He and his wife have worked on various charity projects, lending their time to help others.

   A former North Carolina golfer, Wilson earned his first trip to the Masters with his victory.  If you don't think the Masters is all that different from other tournaments, just look at how quickly first-time qualifiers bring it up.

  -- Even though it wasn't classically Hawaiian last week, watching golf where it's warm and green only adds to the desire to play.

   I know some guys who played over the weekend here despite snow cover on the shady edges of some fairways and greens. I admire the commitment, muddy shoes and all.

   Does anyone around here remember what it feels like to swing a club without being wrapped in sweatshirts and turtlenecks?

   -- Keep an eye on tour rookie Ben Martin, a recent Clemson graduate. He has a chance to have a very good career.

  -- Looking for Philly Mick?

   You can find him playing in Abu Dhabi this week. Being the devoted San Diego Chargers fan he is, wonder what his thoughts are on Ron Rivera coming to the Panthers? Mickelson knows his football. He can take you through the Chargers' depth chart if you ask.

   -- Interesting to see Dustin Johnson issuing a statement denying he's dating Natalie Gulbis. I'm not sure what to make of it but obviously all the chatter made him uncomfortable.

  -- LPGA commissioner Mike Whan made the right call last week when he denied the petition by 15-year old Alexis Thompson to play more than six tour events via sponsor exemptions.

   It's a tough call to make given the budding star power she brings to a tour desperately in need of any attention but allowing her the asked-for 12 spots would undercut the tour qualifying process. She'll still play a relatively full schedule because the Opens don't count toward her six-event limit and by opening Monday qualifying to her, Whan found a way to give something.