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Monday, December 28, 2009

The Limerick Summary: Final Thoughts on 2009

Winner: Yet-to-be determined

So we come to the final limerick of 2009, a retrospective of the year. With so much happening, it was hard to compress it all down to five lines. I felt that the two biggest stories of the year centered around Tom Watson and Tiger Woods. It feels strange that those two stories could basically be reduced to a putt that was missed... and a fire hydrant that wasn't.

Such is life, I guess.

A couple of days ago I quoted Shakespeare; today I add to his thought. To wit: the past is prologue; the rest is commentary. Despite the downer ending of 2009, I'm excited about next year, and I could give you many reasons. I'll settle for two: Phil Mickelson and Michelle Wie.

Whether you like Phil or not, hooking up with Dave Stockton has given him a swagger he hasn't had in some time. If Phil continues to putt the way he did the last few months, I expect him to make a run at the #1 spot over the next two or three years. (Tiger's indefinite leave will depend totally on what Elin does. If she stays with him, we won't see him for quite a while; if she leaves him, I expect he'll be back sooner. In either case, with Tiger not playing, Phil could make up some serious ground.)

As for Michelle... well, I've been a serious fan of hers for some time. Say what you may, the fastest way to improve - assuming you're tough enough to deal with the losses - is to play against people who are way better than you are. Michelle did that by playing with the men, and the strategy has paid off. I believe the main mistake she made was trying to play through injury; that's the main reason for her problems the last couple of years. But Michelle had to deal with far more than most people who choose the steep learning curve. She had to put up with constant public condemnation of her choices.

Guess what, folks? Many golfers have had their careers derailed or destroyed by one big loss or one big public outcry. Michelle has taken every single shot that's been thrown at her... and she's still getting better. I think she may be mentally stronger than anybody in golf... anybody, even Tiger. Mark my words, you haven't even begun to see what that girl's gonna do.

I think other players will stand up next year as well. And when Tiger does come back, the fireworks will fly! So I leave you with the last summary of 2009:
We saw legends sniff records, and then
We saw legends reduced to mere men.
Though the year ends in shame,
I don’t fear for the game –
‘Cause new legends will rise in O’Ten.

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