Given that those party-poopers at Augusta National wouldn't let TV cut in to see the goateed, sunglass-wearing Tiger play his practice back nine at their little layout Sunday, we golf fans had to settle for the Kraft Nabisco Championship on CBS and Anthony Kim's attempt at a career comeback at age 24 on NBC.
As it turned out, those were not bad consolation prizes for us couch slugs. The "Last Channel" function on my remote control nearly shorted out between Yani Tseng's win and Kim's playoff tussle with Vaughn Taylor in Houston.
Or, as Christina Kim might say of the Sunday excitement: WOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!
Surely you heard the wallflower herself let loose with a cacophonous war whoop when Suzann Pettersen made things interesting by making a birdie putt on 16. CBS' boom mikes are still having their ears checked.
God bless Christina Kim, the Human Volume Knob. CBS cut to the fedora-wearing young lady, who was wholly unapologetic for the kind of behavior that would get her kicked out of Tiger's practice ground Sunday. And did my eyes deceive me, or was that a cool, refreshing cocktail I saw in Christina's paw?
Like I said, God bless Christina Kim. As the young poet Ke$ha opines: "Now the party don't start until I walk in."
Surely, Ke$ha was speaking of Kim.
Best thing about Christina is, her barbaric yawp wasn't interpreted as a knock at eventual champ Tseng. Kim would cheer for anyone. She's that kind of woman, which is why she was later seen spraying booze all over Tseng on the 18th green.
In seizing her second major championship at age 20, Tseng further cemented her status as "Best Female Golfer of Asian Descent Born in 1989, And Yes That Includes Michelle Wie, Who Shot 78 on Sunday And Has Two Fewer Majors Than Tseng."
Maybe Yani Tseng's quiet excellence is what is driving Lorena Ochoa batty. Ochoa's fourth-place finish at Rancho Mirage included a frustrating Sunday 73, marred by four bogeys and a CBS-captured infuriated ball spike after a missed putt.
Yes, Li'l Lorena, the quietest mouse on Tour, channeled her inner Bobby Knight. It was such a ferocious heave by Ochoa, she had to fumble for her divot fixer to repair the ball mark. It's always humiliating when a temper tantrum requires some sort of fix-it job after.
But Ochoa, while still brilliant, knows too well that the 2010 Kraft Nabisco marks the two-year anniversary of her last major. Tseng, meanwhile, has won two since then, starting with the 2008 LPGA Championship.
Meanwhile, back on the PGA Tour ranch, did you read the words "career comeback at age 24" regarding the events in Houston? Yes, you did.
I've felt like a disappointed parent when it comes to Anthony Kim. His two wins in 2008, followed by his top-10 at the British Open that year, followed by his Ryder Cup heroics – including a satisfying smackdown of Sergio Garcia to lead off the Sunday singles at Valhalla – had me buying his stock with the fevered optimism of a mortgage broker in the mid-00s.
Consider his 2009 the equivalent of the real estate bubble-burst: he notched just three top-10s in 22 starts, didn't sniff a win, then got ripped by Robert Allenby for partying to the detriment of his talent. Having Kim's car keys taken away for a week or grounding him for a month seemed like appropriate punishment for a kid who let down us golf fans.
When 2010 dawned, Kim wasn't even on the list of "Guys Who Should Make Hay In Tiger's Absence," so inconsistent were his performances.
While his work off the tee in Houston also was wildly inconsistent (23 of 56 fairways hit, last in the field of 72) he displayed impressive putting and impressive bounce-back abilities in his run to the winner's circle. Never were guts more needed than after his missed 6-footer for the win on the 72nd hole.
Surely, the old demons of underachievement would dance in his head as he squared off in a playoff on the nefarious 18th hole with Taylor, who was only playing for an invite to the Masters. But a drive just south of perfect set him up, a 6-iron to the green was all business, and a two-putt handled showed impressive moxie for a guy who had been moxie-free in the previous 18 months.
Welcome back, Anthony. Now, all we ask is that you do it again. And again. And again. Just like your buddy Tiger used to.
Or just like Yani Tseng seems to be on her way to doing.
Can somebody get me a Christina Kim "WOOOOOOOOO!!!" to close out this lead column item? Thank you.
Scorecard of the week
69-71-67-68 – 13-under 275, Yani Tseng, winner, LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship.
Tseng winning the LPGA's first major of the year earns her S.O.W. honors ahead of runners-up like Phil Mickelson, who carded a doozy of a 71 Sunday, including three double-bogeys and six consecutive birdies. If ever a scorecard should be embossed on a tombstone to commemorate a man's career, it might be Lefty's fourth round at the 2010 Shell Houston Open.
Phil hasn't gone winless into Augusta National since 2003. He does so this year. Huge karma points, however, were earned when he brought Dr. Tom Buchholz in to caddie for three holes Sunday. Buchholz is the oncologist who is treating both Phil's wife, Amy, and mother, Mary, in their bouts with breast cancer.
That Lefty birdied all three holes with the good doctor on the bag may be something to remember this coming Sunday amid the dogwood and pines, where magical, mystical things happen, as I was just saying to my friend, Scott Hoch.
Still, the Scorecard honor goes to Tseng. She has won two of the last eight majors, and her chip-in eagle on No. 2 was part of a final-round 68 that saw her blow past Karen (Whoops! In the Water!) Stupples and Suzann (You've Got to Be Flipping Kidding Me About These Putts) Pettersen.
Don't forget the history here, either. In 2004, when Michelle Wie was even more of a media darling than she is now, just one year removed from her great performance at Nabisco as a 13-year-old, and months after darn near making the cut at the PGA Tour's Sony Open, Wie got pancaked in the finals of the U.S Women's Amateur Public Links. The vanquisher was a young Taiwanese girl named Yani Tseng.
It took Wie five years to notch another win after Tseng clotheslined her. Just saying.
Mulligan of the week
This week, a three-pack is issued.
Pettersen had very makeable birdie attempts on Nos. 13, 14 and 15 when Tseng, in the same group, was making par. Three shots back when she looked at each putt, Pettersen had each try start within 12 feet of the hole.
She remained three shots back after each putt.
That's because she missed all three.
Ladies and gentlemen … get that Swedish lass a mulligan! Or three.
Tseng just stood to the side, knowing she could stay in the zone defense as long as Pettersen kept bludgeoning each birdie try. Pettersen, commendably, kept her cool after each missed bird. However, you got the sense she was suppressing something, and after her birdie on 16 got her within two, well, it led to our …
Broadcast moment of the week
"Aw, for f–k's sake!." – Suzann Pettersen, after an errant tee shot on the 71st hole at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, audio cleanly picked up and broadcast by CBS. "Whoops … and she lets you know how she feels about it!" – Verne Lundquist, reaction to Pettersen's Lenny Bruce moment.
Don't blame Pettersen for pulling her F-wedge from the bag. She's just preparing us for Tiger's return to competitive play.
Where do we go from here?
To the Augusta National press room, for Monday's 2 p.m EST Tiger Woods press conference.
My early prediction: A new world-record for awkward silences following Tiger's multiple clipped answers. You won't have heard as many awkward pauses since I tried to call my high school crush on the phone in 1982.
- Christina Kim
- Kraft Nabisco Championship
- Yani Tseng
- Suzann Pettersen