Clash of the Titans

Phil and Tiger dueling mano y mano all afternoon. Awesome. Ken and I were on the phone much of the afternoon discussing it as if recording a podcast commentary.

Tiger was using his new Nike Ignite 460cc(!?!) driver with a Graffaloy Blue graphite shaft. Meanwhile, Phil Mickelson was sporting his new Callaway clubs: Fusion FT3 driver, Big Bertha fairway woods, X-Tour irons, and HX Tour ball (all prototypes). So this is what happens when the best golfers in the world use equipment designed to help the average weekend hack. It was strange to see Tiger swinging a driver with a larger head than the one on my Titleist driver, and to see Lefty swinging cavity back irons. I'm never going to be embarrassed to pull an oversized or game improvement club out of my bag again.

Having two of the world's top players in the final pairing is a rare event, despite the number of events golfers play each week, so to have Phil and Tiger 1 and 2 and Vijay Singh in 3rd at the Doral was epic. Watching Phil and Tiger slugging it out reminded me that they play golf, but it doesn't resemble the golf anyone else plays. On the 603 yard 12th, Tiger reached the green in two for the second day in a row, hitting a 290+ yard 3-wood second shot that rolled past the hole to the far end of the green. 290+ yard 3-wood off the fairway!

Tiger went for it all day. His round by round driving average:

Round 1: 310.5

Round 2: 285.5

Round 3: 319.0

Round 4: 334.5

Neither Tiger nor Phil was particularly accurate hitting fairways off the tee (Phil tied for 74th, Tiger for 68th in driving accuracy), but when you're crushing drives over 300 yards a slight tradeoff for accuracy is worthwhile. On the 370+ yard par 4 16th, Tiger went for the green with his drive. He swung so hard he actually left the ground with both feet. It was like a cartoon swing, like Bugs Bunny winding himself into the ground. On Saturday, Woods, hit some 3 woods that landed on the green and checked up like my pitching wedge. This was like videogame golf.

If Woods has found his swing again, it will be a lot of fun seeing Tiger, Phil, Vijay, Retief, and Ernie slug it out (Els won the Dubai Open with an eagle on the last hole of the tournament today).

Ken told me that a lot of pro golfers live in two golf resorts near Orlando, Florida: Isleworth and Lake Nona. So many stars live in those two developments that they actually hold their own golf tournament, the Tavistock Cup. This years tourney will be held March 28-29 and be televised by The Golf Channel. The rosters for the two teams this year are silly good. It's for fun, but players on the winning side earn $100,000 each, losers $50,000 each. That's like a friendly weekend game of poker where the winner takes home $25K.

Different game.