The glorification of Phil Mickelson has risen to new heights. All hail Lefty for his dramatic and impressive final round of 64 in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am allowed him to take the tournament and raise his arms in a championship pose.
Mickelson deserves the accolades both for the win at Pebble and his stellar career. He may rank just below Jack Nicklaus, Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer and he may continue to climb to join that trio.
But as the golf world glorifies Mickelson for his best moment in nearly two golf seasons, they also throw dirt on Tiger Woods. "The old Tiger would never have given it up on Sunday," say many of the golf experts. They look at his final round of 75 and say he is not ready to compete at a championship level.
These same lap dogs who were drooling to get a Woods acknowledgement just a few years ago and would have beamed for days had Woods recognized them by name at a press conference have thrown bucket loads of dirt on the golfer for the last two-plus years.
There is other news about Wood besides the fact that he had a rough final round on Sunday. All you have to do is look at the scorecard to realize he is getting closer and closer to his top form. In the first three rounds at Pebble Beach, Woods was fairly sensational. He shot 68 in the first round, followed that with another 68 in the second round and then shot a very sharp 67 on moving day.
He put himself in a position to win the tournament. As Woods and every other top pro on the tour will say, getting into contention is one thing and closing the deal is quite another. That's what Woods did better than any golfer when he was winning tournament after tournament and dominating the majors. It's a step that he could not take at Pebble and it's a step that will be very difficult to make.
But he will get there. In 2010 and 2011, Woods was not putting together three consistent rounds to start any tournament like he did at Pebble Beach. That's a huge step because he showed he could lay the foundation for a winning tournament. That part of the winning formula has returned.
All he has to to do now is remember how to shut the door. In the coming weeks, Woods will prepare for the Masters, which is less than two months away. He is scheduled to play in the Accenture Match Play championships starting Feb. 22 and that tournament will provide a good barometer for Woods' game and his psyche.
If Woods is into it mentally, it will be very tough to beat him and he could advance quite easily. Based on the way he played at Pebble Beach, it looks like he can't wait to compete and the fire is burning again. The flame may not be white-hot just yet, but it will get there eventually.
ESPN.com -- For Tiger Woods, A Bad Day At The Office
- Tiger Woods
- Pebble Beach