Phil, Pretender or Contender?

Has Phil’s time come and gone?  Once a dominant fixture on the leaderboard at every major, Phil Mickelson has struggled over the past two seasons.    At the ripe old age of 39, Phil is no longer the young calm lefty that was fun to watch….instead, in his last 10 majors he only has one top 10 finish to his name.  So what happened?  Golf is a tough sport, no doubt, you and me know it best, but Phil is a professional, there is no excuse for the slump.  Is he too old? or was it Winged Foot?  Yup I’m sure you all remember the 2006 US Open……all Phil had to do was par the 72nd hole at Winged Foot and he would win his third straight major.  It seemed as if it was already in his back pocket,  three straight major victories, looking forward to a Grand Slam.  Then came the drive that changed it all…..Phil teed off on the last hole looking for an easy par, instead his errant drive sailed way way way left and Phil just couldn’t recover.  Since that drive, Phil has not been the same.  Is Phil’s career done?  What do you think?

Let the games begin . . .

I know that I’m exaggerating and I’m just coping with a post-holiday hangover, but this week of work, the first official work-week of 2009, has been one of the most miserable weeks of my life.  Maybe it’s just the 3 straight days of rain, near freezing temperatures, constant “Happy New Year” chatter from every single person you talk . . . but most of all, it’s the realization that the local golf season is still 2-3 long months away.

So I’m sitting in my office wondering when I’ll be afforded the first opportunity to grib-n-rip the sticks, and then the Leaderboard flashes on my CPU screen.  Talk about getting back to the grind — the PGA Tour kicked off the 2009 season today with the Mercedes-Benz Championship in Kapakua, Hawaii.  HAWAII!!!  Seriously, these guys have it made!

The storylines for the 2009 season are awesome:   Can Harrington win another major?  Can Mickelson win again or is he past his prime?  What about the Young guns Kim and Villegas?  Will Sergio finally legitimize his game with a victory in a major?  Will Rocko, Norman or another Veteran be able to shock the world?  Will the US repeat in the Ryder Cup or was their win in ’08 a fluke?  And as always, what about Tiger?

The Tiger-saga is going to be incredible to watch all year long.  When will he return?  Will he be the same player?  Will he be better?  Is it even possible for him to BE better than before?

2009 is going to be a fantastic year for the PGA Tour and it’s going to be a lot of fun seeing all these storylines get answered.  Let’s just hope the warm weather gets here soon enough so we can all have some fun of our own!