The next month and a half should tell a lot about Phil Mickelson. Is Lefty going to be that rival for Tiger Woods? Are his recent collapses still playing mind games? With two notable tournaments — The Players Championship next week and the U.S. Open in mid-June — on the docket, Mickelson needs a good stretch and a few wins in order to get his psyche back into shape. Wouldn’t it be quite the summer if Tiger and Phil battled in at least two of the three remaining majors? A good performance at the Byron Nelson would be a step in the right direction.
This week is all about remembering not just a great golfer, but a great man as well. Byron Nelson was the first player to have a PGA event named after him — all the way back in 1968. With Lord Byron’s passing Sept. 26 at the age of 94 nearby this tournament site, there is sure to be plenty of emotion.
What better place for Lorena Ochoa to begin her reign? The newly minted No. 1 women’s player in the world returns to her native Mexico for the Corona Championship, which she won for the first time last year after three misfires on her home turf. Of course, some will say her rise to No. 1 is due to the injuries to Annika Sorenstam, who had held the post since the rankings began last year. But remember that Ochoa is the reigning LPGA Player of the Year.
IT’S A WOOD, IT’S A METAL …
So what sound does a Sumo make? No, not that kind of sumo, the one that barely wears a loin cloth and weighs 300 pounds. Tiger Woods is ready to unleash his new Nike Sumo, the square-shaped driver he will unwrap for competition purposes next week. By the way, some say it sounds like an empty soda can being struck in a racquetball court.
THIS WEEK’S TEE TIMES
EVENT: Byron Nelson Champ-ionship
WHERE: Irving, Texas
COURSE: TPC Four Seasons Resort Las Colinas, par 70
DEFENDING CHAMP: Brett Wetterich
EVENT: Corona Champ-ionship
WHEN: Morelia, Mexico
COURSE: Tres Marias Residential Golf Club, par 73
DEFENDING CHAMP: Lorena Ochoa
EVENT: FedEx Kinko’s Classic
WHEN: May 4-6
WHERE: Lakeway, Texas
COURSE: Hills Country Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: Jay Haas
EVENT: Henrico County Open
WHERE: Glen Allen, Va.
COURSE: Dominion Club, par 72
DEFENDING CHAMP: Martin Laird
EVENT: Spanish Open
WHERE: Madrid, Spain
COURSE: Centro National de Golf, par 72</p>
DEFENDING CHAMP: Niclas Fasth