January 25, 2011
Welcome to Teeing Off, where Devil Ball editor Jay Busbee and head writer Shane Bacon take a day's topic and smack it all over the course. Suggest a future topic by writing email@example.com, or hit us on Twitter at @jaybusbee and @shanebacon. Today, we're discussing everyone's favorite golfers, Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. They're both teeing it up at Torrey Pines this week. Question is, who needs a big week more?
Busbee: Tiger! Phil! Back on the scene, together again! But this time, instead of a clash of the titans, you've got ... what's the opposite of a clash of titans? Stumble of afterthoughts? At the moment, this is like a Van Halen reunion concert -- you'll tune in to see what your old heroes look like now, but you don't expect greatness on the level of their past achievements. That said, while both Tiger and Phil have the potential to get back to greatness, they need to go ahead and get going NOW. With that in mind, I'm thinking Tiger needs a good performance moreso than Phil. Tiger's game relies heavily on being able to intimidate the rest of the field, and coming out of the gate with a scary-strong performance will lodge the tiniest bit of concern in the field's mind.
Bacon: I'd say this is more of a Ricky Williams return to football than it is a Van Halen reunion concert ... Tiger and Phil actually need the game right now, more than they ever have, because they aren't doing what they are used to doing. While I think golf could use a Tiger win more than a Phil win, I think Phil could use a win more than Tiger could. Phil is five years Tiger's senior, hasn't won since the Masters a year ago, and hasn't been a factor since the summer. He struggled at the Ryder Cup, struggled at the last two majors, and struggled in general with his health. If we're talking about a golfer closer to pushing that big red panic button, I think Phil's hand is a lot closer than Mr. Woods.
Busbee: Fair enough, though Phil's too cool to let us see him sweat yet. So let's shift the conversation to which one is more likely to succeed here. I don't think either guy has the game to win just yet, but Tiger seems to be closer to putting it together than Phil. We're still weeks, perhaps even months away from seeing whether the new swing changes will have a positive effect. But Woods has had a wee bit of success at Torrey Pines, and I look to him to continue his solid play this week, cruising on momentum if nothing else.
Bacon: Totally agree. If one of these two are winning this thing, it's Tiger. He's won the last four times he's played in this event, and took down that U.S. Open you might remember on one leg. If nothing else, him playing here might be similar to when exes see each other for the first time after years of being apart, and the fun times, romance, etc. is rekindled for a few days. As for Phil, I think he misses the cut before he wins this week, with all the young guys playing well.
All right, you're up. Who needs a good week more, Lefty or TW? And who's got the better chance at playing well? Have your say!