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Teed Off (26-02-2012)

Update: February, 28/2012 - 09:29

with Robert Bicknell

There are few things which come as naturally to people as spitting, but that doesn't make it acceptable, especially on a golf course.

Apparently, Keegan Bradley hacks up a furball as part of his pre-shot routine. However, during the Northern Trust Open last week, he got called on it.

Yes, golf is a "gentleman's game" and spitting is a bit disgusting, especially if you're one of those people who indulge in chewing tobacco, but Bradley doesn't do it on purpose. It's an automatic reflex under stress.

Compare that to a few years back when Tiger Woods let go with a wicked loogie on the green of all places and was forced to apologise. They should have made him clean it up himself.

In the old days, there was a guy who used to deliberately hack up a small planetoid and let it fly onto an opponent's putting line. No, he never cleaned it up, but he did apologise.

Funny how he won a lot of holes that way, but eventually someone got even by dropping a full spittoon inside his golf bag.

Bottom line, be a gentleman and don't spit on the greens. Next week, we'll discuss peeing on the trees.

Last week, Tiger 2.0 was derailed yet again, but this time was done in by a donut-eating Ailurophobiac. Yes, Phil Mickelson posted a final round 64 to beat Tiger Woods at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, despite what I said about him a few weeks ago. Could Mickelson be finally growing a pair?

If you read the sports blogs, you would have thought Woods was a lock to win in California –even before he teed off in the first round. Then, he actually took the lead and the hacks went crazy (as per the script) and gushed all over themselves.

Celebration interupptus.

Well, if Mickelson had ever wanted to toss a Krispy Kreme into the Tiger 2.0 juggernaut, he couldn't have picked a better time as Pebble Beach is one of Tiger's favourite courses.

Woods has not won a sanctioned tournament since November 2009, and is without a victory in his last 23 PGA Tour events — the longest winless streak of his professional career.

In what was anticipated to be his big comeback (OK, another big comeback) by many, Woods collapsed with five bogeys to post a disappointing 75.

Yet , somehow, I cannot escape the feeling that Woods is playing us all for suckers and plans to actually make his comeback at Augusta National in April. Everything else is preparatory groundwork to get the hacks' salivary glands working overtime so they can properly gush and drool on cue.

I think Tiger 2.0 is for real, but is going through the normal setbacks whenever you try to roll out a new and improved operating system. Heck, Microsoft spends more time patching their blunders than they do actually writing new software, so it's obviously not an easy task to make a bogey-free system.

Tiger 2.0's problem right now doesn't come from his hardware, but a few remaining malware glitches which continue to infect his memory. In layman's terms, he's not mentally ready to win, so I will stick to my opinion in that he will probably pull it together at the Masters in April.

Unless, of course, Mickelson (re-launched as "iPhil" and uses the Apple "Donut" operating system), has a better upgrade package.

Yet, there have been a few signs that Woods isn't as fearsome as he used to be.

During the recent Matchplay event, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano claimed he wasn't afraid of going head to head with Tiger. Of course, he qualified the statement in case he lost, but saying he would've lost to one of the greatest players in the world.

In the end, Woods did dispatch Castano, but through luck and not skill.

As I write this, Woods is slated to face Nick Watney in the next round and it promises to be a bare-knuckle slugfest as Watney easily disposed of his first round opponent, Darren Clarke, 5 and 4.

Luke Donald, Jim Furyk, Ricky Fowler, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, KJ Choi, Kevin Na, Geoff Oglivy, Simon Dyson, Aaron Baddeley, Thomas Bjorn, Adam Scott, Graeme McDowell, Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Ian Poulter, all crashed out in the first round, so Woods is lucky indeed. — VNS

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