The field of great American golfers has widened and deepened of late. Tiger Woods is still supreme master of the sport, to the extent that so difficult a game may ever be said to submit to human mastery. I would say that his game looks in many ways greater now than it did when he appeared, the epitome of talent, back in the 90s. Now he has shown himself a master at the mental discipline of the game. His will, his savvy, his toughness — all these are stronger. Has there ever been a golfer better at the tough par putt — when it matters — than Tiger Woods?
But this is not about Tiger. Nor is it even about Phil Mickelson. It is about Kenny Perry, ageless and genuine, and still able to just rip the ball at 49. It is about Sean O’Hair and Lucas Glover, solid young competitors, the latter now a Major Champion and the former now with a top 5 in the FedEx Cup. It is further about Steve Stricker’s late-career resurgence, a man who was twice proclaimed Comeback Player of the Year; and it is about the brash kid from LA, Anthony Kim, waving Old Glory for all he was worth, in Louisville at the Ryder Cup last year.
So let’s put to rest this talk of American golf being about Tiger, maybe Phil, and all the rest. Tiger’s stature is not doubt. But there are plenty of other reasons to like the field of excellent Americans.
What of the FedEd Cup business? This year produced some wild fluctuations, and presented some intriguing possibilities, but in the end reverted to the predictable.
I didn’t watch any of the postgame stuff, but it must have been a little weird for Tiger and Mickelson to both be up there in the winner’s circle. You see, Mickelson played a magnificent final round Sunday to take the Tour Championship here in Atlanta; but Tiger finished 2nd, thus securing his victory in the FedEx Cup, a year-long points-based system culminating in four playoff events.
I think this playoff format in golf has potential, but the Tour still has some wrinkles to iron out. Some will say that Mickelson was the victor, the last man standing, and should take the Cup. But what of Tiger being there near the top at every playoff tournament, blowing away the field in the third, and taking second in the final; while Mickelson was mediocre until final?
All in all, a fine season. Bring on the internationals at the President’s Cup.