phil-doral-final-round

We all had the dirt on Phil Mickelson’s coffin a mere month ago.  After playing some of the worst golf, not just for his career, but on the PGA Tour, and coupled with his failure to take advantage of Tiger’s layoff, Phil looked like he was on the severe falloff that Ernie Els fell victim to.

That notion has now been completely shattered.

Before we get to Phil, lets take a look at the big winners today.  Follow along after the jump for our full recap of the WGC CA Championship.

Winners:

Tiger Woods: Coming back from a really sloppy first few days, Tiger got sharper and sharper as the tournament moved along.  He was sharp on Sunday, and finally looks like an elite player once again, finishing extremely strong.

He’s still not completely back, but he’s good enough to win, and, if things keep on moving like they are, he’ll be on the extreme short list of favorites at Augusta.  It’s the fine details that is hurting Tiger right now…the speed of the greens, the spin control, the ball flight…these are all immediately fixable elements, so he’s going to make some noise soon.

Jeev Milka Singh: The definition of a grinder who has competed on every tour on Earth really looked good today showing amazing touch and a veteran’s approach to scoring and keeping yourself on the leaderboard.

Jim Furyk: He needed a decent showing as his play has fallen off somewhat over the last year.  He looked great today, picking Doral apart and making up for a lack of distance with accurate approach shots and not costing himself any shots off his card.  Furyk recovered nicely from a front side double bogey to really make a charge on the back 9.  This was the Furyk we have come to expect.

Nick Watney: Great performance.

It’s unfortunate that Watney had to lose this tournament as he played about as exciting a brand of golf this side of his final round partner’s.  That absurd pitch from behind the grandstand, totally blind, and landing it perfectly on the fringe and finding the cup was just outrageous, and is DEFINITELY the shot of the year so far.  Then he follows it up with a ridiculous approach that he holed for eagle?  That was some great golf from a player who can handle the elite courses on tour.

His last putt from the rough that came up just short couldn’t have been hit better.  It’s a damn shame it didn’t fall, but that’s golf.  Sure, it would’ve been great, but if he didn’t lay 6″ of sand over a really tough bunker shot, that would’ve been for the win.  Every shot counts, and while it was a fantastic attempt, he left some shots out on the course, something you really can’t afford when you’re facing Phil on top of his game.

I’m not taking anything away from Watney, though, that was a fantastic tournament, and of all the under-30’s, he has about as bright a future as any of them, proving he can handle a tough course with anyone.  Right now, he’s probably in Anthony Kim’s class, and a notch above Camillo Villegas and Hunter Mahan, yet nobody knows his name.  He’s damn good.

Losers:

Kenny Perry: Not the best weekend for Kenny.  He was up there for awhile but just couldn’t make a charge.  He’s still had a great year, it just wasn’t his week.

Sergio Garcia: Where was he on the leaderboard?  Come on, Sergio, you really need to start playing well.  You had your name at no. 2 in the OWGR, which was a source of heavy scrutiny considering your lack of majors, but you don’t even make a noise?  You’re one of the best players in the world, and you couldn’t even make a second of coverage after Thursday…not good.

Tiger Woods: Hey, he didn’t win.  He’s human.  Fair or not, everyone expects him to win everytime he tees it up…and he really didn’t even contend.

Rory McIlroy: Fell apart on Sunday.  Tons of talent and as bright a future as any player on Earth, but they don’t give trophies for being the most talented player out there.  It’s great that he’s contended the last three weeks, as he’s a can’t-miss player, but he just didn’t play well enough to contend.  It’s hard to criticize a 19 year old, though.

The Winner:

Phil proved why he’s the 2nd best golfer in the world.

There was that momentary rollercoaster ride on the back 9, but he reigned it in, and for the day, played perfect final round golf.  Despite getting food poisoning, Phil played perfect golf the whole week at Doral.  There isn’t much more I can add that has’t been said in earlier recaps, but something bears repeating…Phil is back, and he looks better than ever.

The final five holes were textbook.  Phil closed the door shut, knowing the golf course was playing really tough, keeping Watney at arm’s length the entire back stretch, and really never putting the outcome in doubt as he nearly chipped in on 18.

Phil is LONG off the tee, now.  Before, he was just long, but now he’s just absolutely lauching it, maybe farther than anyone out there not named Tiger, Sergio, JB or Bubba.  It’s obscene…he’s hitting 220 yard 5-irons and 180 yard 8-irons and was just destroying it off the tee.  He’s always hit it a long way, but he’s really a strong player now, and his physique looks markedly better than he did when he was at his prior-peak in 2005-06.

But it’s the consistency and the way he held up at the end that really bodes well for the future.  He was calm and in control the entire way home, and led wire to wire…what else can you say?  Phil is obviously one of the best players in the world, and everything we love about him was on display this week at Doral.  He gutted out a win, at a tough track, while not really eating anything against a top-flight leaderbaord.  This was a monumental win.

This week: Coverage of the Tavistock cup between the rich kids’ hideways, Isleworth, Tiger’s team, and Lake Nona.  Power Rankings coming probably Monday or Tuesday.  Then, onto the coverage of the Travelers Cup.