Counting as a genuine surprise, Jason Bohn's win in New Orleans actually registered on the attention meter on Sunday.
I was like most all of you, ready to fast-forward on TiVo right through a forgettable Zurich Classic leaderboard and right into this week's "Return of Tiger vs. Return of Phil Smackdown 24/7 Part Deux: The Blood Will Be 'Muy Malo' at Quail Hollow," coming soon to a pay-per-view locale near you.
And that is the title for this week's event in Charlotte, right? "The Return of Tiger vs. Return of Phil Smackdown 24/7 Part Deux: The Blood Will Be ‘Muy Malo' at Quail Hollow." Thought of that slogan right here in this column.
Don't laugh. It's hard to rhyme anything with "Quail Hollow." That's why Don King never scheduled Ali vs. Frazier at Quail Hollow.
So with our minds entirely fixed on Tiger and Phil teeing it up Thursday, and all the attendant questions – Will Tiger drop the Zen pretense and just fly the middle finger at the media whenever a question is asked? Will Phil wear the green jacket to the Quail Hollow locker room and make sure to brush past Tiger's locker, then stop, back up, and straighten the lapels in the mirror in Tiger's locker? Will Tiger get so PO'd he shoots a 54? – Bohn was the last thing on anybody's radar.
Turned out his win was sort of heartwarming. Guy hadn't won in five years, and his wire-to-wire job in the Bayou earned him a trip back to Augusta, where he had played only once before.
Plus, his show of emotion had to make you smile: Bohn nearly jarred his approach on 18 for eagle, and had only a tap-in for birdie and a two-stroke win. He whipped the crowd into a roar, flapping his arms before he made the two-footer, then let loose a war whoop better suited to Bourbon Street at 3 a.m. than a PGA Tour event.
And, as Nick Faldo noted, you know you're having trouble controlling your emotions when you insist on embracing Peter Kostis after the win, which Bohn did. I think Kostis liked the love. Two weeks earlier, Kostis' post-round Sunday interview subject at the Masters didn't so adore, if you recall. Can't blame Kostis. We all need to feel validated sometimes, even if it's Jason Bohn giving you a "Don't Sweat The Tiger Thing, I Love You, Man" hug.
That said, Bohn's win is now pretty much history. It's all about Quail Hollow now. Sorry, Jas. I'm sure the $1 million-plus will solve any ego bruises if we just move on to Tiger-Phil hype.
Tiger's entry – and his early entry to the Players Championship – essentially cements his return as a full-time player. No more parsing of his schedule, no more "Will he go to therapy until the U.S. Open?" conjecture. The world's No. 1 player is back, which, since it's his life, I guess, is fine by him.
It is odd that his February "Blue Curtain" speech seemed to hold little in terms of meaningful long-term verbiage. His "I do plan to return to golf one day… I don't rule out that it will be this year" quote had all of us media jackals cowed into believing he was super-serious about therapy and family and that maybe Pebble Beach was the first real option for Tiger to play.
He'll have played at least three – and with the Memorial looming, likely four – times by the U.S. Open. He's back on his regular schedule. He wasn't kidding. He didn't rule out this year – or this spring.
Since he is a golfer by trade, and since most of us need to work our jobs on a regular basis, we can relate on some level.
Either way, Tiger showed flashes of incredible golf at Augusta, and I wouldn't be surprised if he laid waste to the field at Quail Hollow. If he needs any motivation, that Internet sensation photo of Lefty rolling through the Krispy Kreme drive-through in his green jacket had to set Tiger's blood pressure to about 220 over 180.
Think of the levels of outrage in Tiger's mind: 1. Phil has the jacket Tiger believes is rightfully his. 2. Phil's family looks happy and well. 3. Phil is ordering THREE DOZEN Krispy Kreme doughnuts, while Tiger is eating small spoonfuls of granola and drinking filtered water on his fitness regimen.
Like I said: "Return of Tiger vs. Return of Phil Smackdown 24/7 Part Deux: The Blood Will Be ‘Muy Malo' at Quail Hollow."
Somebody bring me a dozen doughnuts. I'm fired up!
Scorecard of the week
Those are no ordinary 54 holes of golf. For Ken Green, it was 54 holes of healing and dealing – dealing with life's unspeakable sadness, and healing through doing the only thing he knew to do: play the next hole.
Some of you know by now, but for those who don't, Green's last year has been delivered straight from hell. Ten months ago, he was in a car crash that killed his brother, and his longtime girlfriend. Green had to have a part of his right leg amputated.
Three months ago, Green's son was found dead in an SMU dorm room.
Green came back this week to play the game he loves, and the game he knows, and now all he knows is that it was good for him to do so. He may play next week's Champions Tour event.
"If the nerves [in my lower leg] settle down and I can make the changes I need to make in my swing, I can do this," Green told reporters. "And I desperately want to do this."
Mulligan of the week
Poor John Cook. Not only did he have four feet to win the Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf, he had it in prime time. By that, I mean that the Champions Tour event spilled over past its time slot, into the main event, the final round of the Zurich Classic in New Orleans.
So, all of us normal, red-blooded PGA Tour-watching Americans tuned in to see the varsity playing, and were wondering what in the name of gray hair was going on with our TV sets: Why were Mark O'Meara, Nick Price, Joey Sindelar and Cook on our screens?
We figured it out quickly, and realized all Cook had to do was make that four-footer, hoist the hardware and we could be off to New Orleans.
Except Cook missed it. Badly.
And O'Meara and Price won it, much later, in a playoff. But we didn't care by then. We'd already seen Cook cough up his big moment.
Feeling badly for the man, let's go back to those four feet and … give that man a mulligan!
Broadcast moment of the week
"He looked like Forrest Gump." – Jim Nantz, CBS, commenting on a grainy video of Jason Bohn in 1992, running wild after an ace in a charity shootout.
Bohn deserves a ton of credit. Not only did he bring some much-needed personality to an otherwise low-profile Zurich Classic, he provided a darn good back-story, too.
When Bohn was at the University of Alabama, he played for the Crimson Tide. But on November 1, 1992, he took part in a charity shootout – make an ace, win $1 million. As the story goes, Bohn was out late at a Halloween party the night before, and may have been a bit, ahem, groggy when he pulled a 3-iron and took aim at the uphill green.
Swing, strike, arc … pure … tracking … one hop … and in.
The video catches Bohn sprinting off the tee box, arms flailing, leading to Nantz's accurate "Gump" call.
What a story. Bohn accepted the $1 million, lost his amateur status and dropped off the 'Bama golf team. He gets $50,000 every October 1 until 2012.
After that, Bohn bounced around the fringes, winning a Canadian Tour event in 2000 before his B.C. Open win in 2005, and then New Orleans in 2010.
Run, Jason, run!
Where do we go from here?
Don't even need to ask. Just have the cut men ready in Phil and Tiger's corners in case one of them gets "A Shina' in Carolina."
- Quail Hollow
- Jason Bohn