This past weekend saw a lot of great story lines and we are here to give you the good and the bad of it. Here are our winners and losers from the past week in golf.
Rory McIlroy — What more can you say about this kid? His win on Sunday at Firestone was more than just a first WGC title for the 25-year-old, it was an announcement to the world that this is a different man than even three months ago. McIlroy realizes where his game is right now (hint: A++++ level) and isn't content with just one or two titles. He wants to win everything, a similar trait to a man that made headlines for other reasons on Sunday, and if you think that stops as he leaves Firestone, you haven't been listening or paying attention to Rory since his win at Wentworth. McIlroy is the huge favorite this week at Valhalla, as he should be, and it would take something strange to happen in the next few days for him not to be in the conversation on Sunday evening, especially considering how he's driving the golf ball.
Sergio Garcia — The old Sergio Garcia wouldn't have left Firestone with nearly the dignity that he did on Sunday. Old Sergio would have complained about the soft greens or the fact that they played lift, clean and place throughout the final round. New Sergio simply said, "I think it's still a good week. I think it's my best week here ever. So I can't be too disappointed about it," and is moving on to the major championship that brought him on the golf scene back in 1999. Garcia realizes that Sunday wasn't his best day, but he was again in the conversation at a huge event and will most definitely carry that momentum, and that second round, into Valhalla as this is still as good a chance at a major win for Sergio as almost anyone in the field not named Rory.
Patrick Reed — Reed will forever regret that "top-5 in the world" comment he made after his win at the Cadillac Championship, and while his season took a huge dip after that week, he has slowly regained his form, and all that came together at Firestone. Reed is on the cusp of making the U.S. Ryder Cup team but needed some good weeks to close, and got that with a final round 65 at the Bridgestone to finish T-4 and jump into the last automatic spot for Tom Watson's team.
Phil Mickelson — If you listened to Mickelson after the third round at Firestone you would have thought the guy might change to right-handed, but he came out on Sunday and set a record for most birdies ever made in a round at this golf course. HIs final round 62 moved him up 29 spots on the leaderboard, but more importantly, gave him some much-needed confidence for this week at Valhalla, and we've seen what Phil can do with just a little bit of confidence heading into majors.
Tiger Woods — Tiger is not a loser for the way he played this week at Firestone. He opened with a solid round of golf and struggled the rest of the week with all aspects of his game. Tiger is on this side of the list because of the decisions he made to return to golf, and then push himself for seven holes after tweaking something in his back. The number one goal for Woods right now is health, and if he isn't healthy on the golf course, he shouldn't be pushing it and possibly doing something that could sideline him for much, much longer. Tiger needs to get healthy before he returns to the highest level of golf on the planet, and he hasn't been even close to that since his return. Maybe it's Tiger being stubborn, or wanting to prove to everyone that he can rebound from injuries faster than normal people, but if you watched Woods at any point the last few weeks you knew that his golf game wasn't close to being competitive and he was just out there going through the motions.
Martin Kaymer — The U.S. Open champion that could do no wrong at Pinehurst has now finished T-12 (with a final round 77), 70, and T-56. He might have checked out for the rest of the season after both the Players and U.S. Open titles, which might be the only questionable spot for the European Ryder Cup team.
Bubba Watson — For a man that introduced something called "Bubba Golf" to the world, skipping out on the long drive contest this week at the PGA Championship (which is one golf swing on the 10th hole, with money you win going to charity) because, “I’m there to play golf, not to hit it far," is another example of Watson just not getting it. Umm, Bubba? Hitting it far is what made you a draw to golf fans in the first place! Just because you're winning majors now doesn't mean you should roll your eyes at something that was made for your golf game.