Sunday, September 27
A Trophy Each for Tiger and Phil
Tim Finchem is all smiles with you know who. (Keith Allison/Flickr)
TIM FINCHEM MUST BE GLOATING somewhere tonight. The revamped FedEx Cup points system and playoffs run managed to put Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, the game’s two most popular players, in today’s awards ceremony at East Lake in Atlanta.
The PGA Tour commissioner handed the FedEx Cup and $10 million to Tiger, his second cup win in three years. Meanwhile, Phil collected the Tour Championship trophy and $1 million and change after playing a near-flawless final round that left Tiger and company choking on his fumes.
Lefty’s back. At least he was this week. Phil’s final three trips around East Lake of 67, 66 and 65 were simply phenomenal. He channeled his old putting self, thanks to Dave Stockton. (And thanks also to his caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay. More on that in a moment.) Phil’s long game was pretty stellar, too.
With Tiger just two back of 54-hole leader Kenny Perry and playing in the final group, I thought he would catch and pass Perry to win both the Tour Championship and FedEx Cup. I fully expected Tiger to show everyone who’s still Sheriff on Tour with an emphatic finish to a season that didn’t include any major wins. Instead, Tiger looked listless in the final round. And poor Kenny. He had an awful day.
You have to make putts to win tournaments. While Tiger still holes more than his share, he didn’t have good putting weeks when it mattered most to him in 2009. Chasing Jack Nicklaus’ major wins record isn’t getting any easier.
Dave Stockton, the answer to Phil’s putting problems? Who came up with that? Yep, Bones.
Here’s what Lefty said in his post-round presser.
“I said, ‘Bones, for two years, I’ve been kind of floundering here not having the right direction. I want you to think about it.’
“He came back the next day, and he said, ‘I think you should call Dave Stockton. You guys putt the same. You’ve talked to him in the past and he had some great ideas.’”
There you go.
By the way, any of you who saw Stockton play on the PGA Tour or Senior Tour know the man can putt. If you have putting problems—and if you can corner Stockton in your hometown like Phil did—listen to what he tells you.
−The Armchair Golfer