The God's Given Lionel Messi - messilegend

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tiger Wins US$10 million jackpot, yet not very satisfied!

"US$10 million Fedex Cup" - Woods won the Fedex Cup though finishing second in The Tour Championship (thats the reason he's not very happy now).

Lesson of the day: "Set your standard high, do your best and you'll be happy even if the outcome is not as expected."

Mickelson's back in the Tiger hunt

ATLANTA - He'd won the war and secured the $10 million booty, yet Tiger Woods could only focus on having lost the battle to a resurgent Phil Mickelson.

"Yeah, it was a strange feeling, a little bit deflating," Woods admitted Sunday after being presented with the FedEx Cup for finishing second at East Lake.

"It feels certainly not like it did a couple years ago when I won the tournament by seven, eight shots, whatever it was.

"I think it's just one of those things where obviously, I'm a little disappointed.

"I'm sure I'll probably be more happy tomorrow than I am right now."

Mickelson, on the other hand, couldn't wipe the smile from his face after emerging from the wilderness — he hadn't contended anywhere since the U.S. Open — to win The Tour Championship by three strokes in emphatic fashion.

"I like the way today went," said Mickelson mischievously, "I was two back of him, I beat him by three, he gets the $10 million check and I get $1 million."

He was joking, if only in that he actually received $1.35 million for winning the tournament and an additional $3 million for finishing second in the FedEx Cup.

What this final day of the golf season amounted to was — like a shocking plot twist on the last page of a potboiler — the tantalising specter of a Tiger versus Phil showdown next year.

Woods, who is a prohibitive favorite to win this year's POY award with six wins — three more than Mickelson and Steve Stricker — might have something to say about that. Given that in his 13 years he's only twice not won the award when he's played the full season.

But it's true that Mickelson's looking forward to 2010 now that his wife, Amy, and his mother both seem to be in the clear after breast cancer scares.

"I'm very proud of my wife and my mom on the fight that they've been through, and we've been fortunate in the long term. We're in good shape," he said.

"I'm excited to get 2009 behind me and look forward to 2010."

Mickelson's turnaround came after a suggestion from his caddie, Jim "Bones" MacKay, that he consult two-time PGA champion Dave Stockton, a man many consider the world's foremost putting guru.

"I said, 'Bones, for two years I've been kind of floundering here, not having the right direction.'"

Stockton happened to be in Mickelson's native San Diego and the two worked together for two days a couple of weeks ago.

Stockton told him the opposite of what Mickelson had long been hearing: that he presses his hands too far forward when he putts. Stockton told him it was the best way to putt. "Once he said that, I said, 'Yeah, that's right, I've always believed that.' So I went right back to it and it's been a night-and-day difference for me."

The proof of the pudding's in the eating and Mickelson finished first in putts per green hit in regulation at East Lake.

In shooting the only bogey-free round Sunday, a memorable 65 that could've been even better, Mickelson had one-putted eight straight holes after saving par from the greenside bunker on the 10th.

An even more remarkable statistic is that after making only 13 putts from over 20 feet all year, he made six this week.

"I'm excited because I feel I have some direction now on where I want to go with my putter," he said.

"I felt like I've been hitting it this well for quite some time since working with Butch (Harmon), and yet I have not had the results.

"My play has been like this for two years. I'll have some good weeks where I'll putt well, and I've won a couple tournaments each year. But it hasn't been as consistently solid on the greens as I expect or as it has been in the past. So that's why I'm excited now."

Woods, on the other hand, had flashbacks of Hazeltine, where nothing would fall for him. He needed 30 putts Sunday for an even-par round of 70, five more than Mickelson, and finished the week 22nd in putts made per green in regulation, a tale of woe given that there were only 30 players in the field.

"I hit the ball well enough to make a few more birdies, and I just didn't make any putts this week from about 10 to 20 feet. I mised a lot of putts," he said.

Despite Sunday's disappointment, he did manage to find some consolation in the bigger picture.

"Nine top twos this year, I certainly wouldn't have expected that going into my first event, the Match Play (in February), to end up where I'm at right now," he said.

"The FedEx Cup is something very similar to what you have for Player of the Year. It's a cumulative total and something that you have to be consistent the entire year, and it's something that I was."

Woods betrayed his only real regret when he said, rather wistfully, "wish I could've got a major in there." (lol)

In the end, however, even Mickelson conceded the FedEx Cup went to the right man.

"I didn't play well the first three FedEx Cup events. I don't deserve to win the entire FedEx Cup just based on one tournament win," he said, "It's got to be based on all four, so the way it worked out ... the best player won."

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