Welcome to the Monday Scramble. We’ll be with you right after we finish reading the 1,873 stories written this week about Tiger Woods’ greatness (1,730 of which also predict him winning this year’s Grand Slam).
THIS WEEK’S SPECIAL: The “What Did I Order Again?” Platter (aka The Phil Mickelson)
If you thought watching the city of San Diego sign over Torrey Pines to Tiger Woods was entertaining (not to mention Woods’ 57-footer for birdie on No. 11 that took a left turn at PetCo Park), take a minute to review Phil Mickelson’s pre-tournament press conference:
• Q. Tiger comes out on his Web site and says he thinks a season Grand Slam is within reason. If you came out with a statement like that on your website, all hell would break loose. What’s your feeling about – do you appreciate his confidence –
PHIL MICKELSON: Why is that? Why would all hell break loose? (Laughter.)
Go ahead, sorry.
Q. Do you appreciate his confidence and admire the fact that he can come out and say that, that that seems to put more pressure on him?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, he’s obviously a very confident player and he should be. He’s won countless events and double-digit majors. I’m not sure…
MICKELSON: Thirteen, there you go. So he should be confident.
• The Monday Scramble asks: Hey Phil, do you at least remember how many times he’s won the FedEx Cup?
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TIGER WOODS 2008 COUNTER:
WINS: 1 (of 1)
AVERAGE SCORE: 67.25
+/- : 19 under
NUMBER OF TIMES TIGER HAS SMILED AS IF TO SAY “I COULD PROBABLY GO UNDEFEATED THIS YEAR”: 2.
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PHOTO SLIDESHOW: Tiger tears up Torrey
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EXPECT GOOD TIPS FROM: Tiger Woods, who tied Arnold Palmer with 62 victories on the all-time PGA Tour list… Adam Scott, who owns a swing many people have compared to Woods’, and shot 11-under 61 Sunday to win the Qatar Masters by three strokes over Henrik Stenson…. Jerry Pate, who won the Turtle Bay Championship, the Champions Tour’s first full-field event of the season…44-year-old Scott Dunlap, who won the Nationwide Tour’s season-opener in Panama by a shot.
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THIS WEEK’S MENU: Tiger Woods flies to Dubai… TPC Scottsdale (home to this week’s FBR Open) and University of Phoenix Stadium (home to this week’s Super Bowl) face off in this week’s Battle of the Loudest Crowds… College golf (and Jamie Lovemark, who made his fourth consecutive PGA Tour cut last weekend at the Buick, kicks off the spring season.)
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QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“What he’s going to do is screw the U.S. Open up for everyone else. If he had shot 10 or 11 under, the USGA would have said, ‘Well, maybe we have it in the right spot.’ Now, they may have to regroup a little.”
– Fred Couples, on Tiger Woods’ domination of Torrey Pines
“I’m in second place. I’m not really in contention.”
– Stewart Cink, as told to the San Diego Union-Tribune, after the third round of the Buick Invitational
“That is wrong, on so many levels.”
– David Fehrety, on Tiger Woods’ 9th-hole flop shot during the final round of the Buick Invitational
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• Here’s the rub. Ask a local to pick their Torrey Pines favorite and many will say the North Course. A few years back Southern Cal native Charley Hoffman summed it for many. “Which one would I rather play? The old South (before the 2001 redesign). Now? The new North.” (Rex Hoggard, Jan. 25)
• Here’s a bad sign of what may await the golf world later this summer. The commute from Torrey Pines to Solana Beach, a scenic drive down Highway 101 that’s scarcely 9 miles, took nearly 30 minutes Wednesday evening. Early Thursday the drive was about 25 minutes because of heavy traffic.
Imagine the gridlock in June when the U.S. Open comes to the South Course for the first time. (Rex Hoggard, Jan. 24)
• A day after the Tour held its first official meeting with players regarding performance-enhancing drugs, there seemed to be more questions than answers. … One multiple winner asked whether poppy seeds found on muffins could cause a positive test for opium. Another said players were told to avoid any medication or supplements that were made in China.
The most amusing query came from a Tour rookie after the meeting. “I wonder if you can pick up anything from second-hand smoke? If so, I won’t be able to spend much time with my caddie.” (Rex Hoggard, Jan. 23)
• People keep asking me if Annika can challenge Lorena for Player of the Year. The fact that Ms. 59 is kicking off ‘08 by playing both events in Hawaii (Ochoa will skip them) says a lot about her resolve. Sorenstam hasn’t started her LPGA season in February since 2001. Aloha! (Beth Ann Baldry, Jan. 22)
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FROM THE INTERVIEW ROOM:
Q. Is this the best you’ve ever played?
TIGER WOODS: No.
Q. In this stretch I’m talking about from —
TIGER WOODS: The stretch? Yeah, I think so.
Q. Better than ‘00?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah.
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Q. Kevin, what was it like (playing with Tiger Woods)?
KEVIN STREELMAN: Man, that was one of the coolest things ever, no doubt about it. … I recommend everyone try it at least one time.
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Q. You’re 10 shots back so somebody needs a chance.
BOO WEEKLEY: We’re playing for the consolation prize right now.
Q. Somebody said something about a ten-shot rule or something, maybe don’t even make people have to come out tomorrow.
BOO WEEKLEY: I think he ought to just play with a 2-iron.
Q. And that’s it?
BOO WEEKLEY: That’s it, no nothing, just 2-iron and that’s it.
Q. What are you going to go work on today?
BOO WEEKLEY: Everything. Everything. Maybe tying my shoes backwards or something.
Q. Did you look up at the board and see his scores going lower and lower and lower? I’m sure you looked at the board —
BOO WEEKLEY: Actually I didn’t look at the board.