Welcome to the Monday Scramble. We’ll be with you right after Tom Brady realizes he is human.
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THIS WEEK’S SPECIAL: The “Dropped Egg on Ian Poulter" (The Monday Scramble’s second most-popular breakfast item!) with a side of Tiger Woods’ sarcasm…
“The press do want to do that and you’re left with an unfortunate situation with egg on your face, and I think it’s very sad when it was answered respectfully and honestly.”
– Ian Poulter
A recap of Poulter’s week in the spotlight, which had nothing to do with funky-looking pants:
• British media grab ahold of the following Poulter quote, which appears in March issue of Golf World U.K.: “The trouble is I don’t rate anyone else. Don’t get me wrong, I really respect every professional golfer, but I know I haven’t played to my full potential and when that happens, it will be just me and Tiger.”
• As the BBC reported, “The 32-year-old Poulter was also pictured nude in the magazine with only a golf bag guarding his modesty.” Cover headline: “Poulter laid bare: Why there’s a lot more to me than fancy pants”
• The tabloids take their shots:
“Poulter the Great?”
“Poulter: I’m as good as Woods”
“Poulter’s mouth joins his trousers in being a bit loud”
“It’s Ian Poulter’s Turn to Piss off Tiger”
“Poulter: Only I Can Challenge Tiger”
“Poulter: I can challenge Tiger Woods’ supremacy”
• Poulter says he is “misquoted,” that the quote “was taken out of context.” He says he meant that since Woods was so far ahead in the rankings, the real battle in golf was to become No. 2.
Poulter: “If people do play well over a period of two years, you can get to No. 2. You can’t reach Tiger,” Poulter said. “It would be a dream to see Tiger Woods and then me in the world rankings as you look down. What’s wrong with that? Is it being rude? Is it being disrespectful to everybody else? I don’t think so. …
• Woods makes five birdies over his last seven holes to win the Dubai Desert Classic (Poulter finishes tied for 39th), then goes to speak with the press.
Q. The gap between you and Phil Mickelson at No. 2 is wider than the gap between No. 2 and 1,000 in the world. What is the main attribute you would say that makes you so dominant?
TIGER WOODS: I thought Poulter was No. 2 in the world?
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TIGER WOODS’ 2008 COUNTER:
Wins: 2 (of 2)
Scoring average: 67.86 (8 rounds)
Relation to par: 33 under
Number of people who think Woods will win the Grand Slam this year: 59,324,253
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• Holmes knocks out Lefty
• Tiger takes Dubai by storm
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EXPECT GOOD TIPS FROM: Tiger Woods (Dubai Desert Classic), who is averaging $29,481 per birdie thus far in 2008. … J.B. Holmes, who ousted Phil Mickelson in a sudden-death playoff to win his second FBR Open in three years, and hits golf balls just about as far as humanly possible. … Australian Jarrod Lyle, who won the Mexico Open for his first Nationwide Tour victory, closing with an 8-under 63 on Sunday for a five-stroke victory over American rookie Matthew Every. … Karrie Webb, who won her fourth Women’s Australian Open title with a 10-foot birdie putt Sunday on the second hole of a playoff against South Korea’s Shin Ji-yai. …
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QUOTES OF THE WEEK:
“I smoked it. I thought it went farther than it did.”
– FBR Open champion J.B. Holmes, on his 359-yard tee shot on the first hole of the sudden-death playoff with Phil Mickelson.
“I was just trying to put the ball on the green.”
– 92-year-old Leo Fiyalko, who needs help lining up shots and finding golf balls because he has peripheral vision only in his right eye, on his Jan. 10 hole-in-one on the 110-yard fifth hole at Cove Cay Country Club.
“I have no idea what they pay Tiger Woods to come here, but he’s worth every dollar.”
– A Golf Channel announcer, after Tiger Woods sank his winning 25-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole of the Dubai Desert Classic.
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• SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Golf on Saturday experienced something it never had before in its centuries-long history. Namely an estimated 170,802 people attending one round, the game’s largest one-day attendance ever. …
The crowd number, arrived at using a formula based on the number of cars, surpassed the previous best of 168,337 set on Saturday here in 2006 at TPC Scottsdale. …
I always felt like maybe they kind of fudged the numbers in the attendance here,” Tour veteran Kevin Sutherland said. “I don’t think they fudged anything on this one. There’s a ton of people out there. This is crazy.” (Jeff Rude, Feb. 2)
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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – You can’t imagine how happy I was when I managed to book a hotel just across the road from the Emirates Golf Course. I reckon if I hit one on the screws and got a bit of bounce off the tarmac, I could hit a full-bloodied drive from the entrance of my hotel to the Emirates Golf Club gates.
We’re talking around 300 yards here. So how is it that it takes me 25-30 minutes to get back to my hotel room every night? (Alistair Tait, Feb. 1)
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The Fields Open (Feb. 21-23) sent out a press release announcing Michelle Wie and U.S. Girls’ Junior runner-up Ayaka Kaneko as its 2008 sponsor exemptions. Just how far has Ko Olina Golf Club’s “adopted daughter” fallen in the last year? In the subject line of the e-mail, her named was spelled “Wei.” Ouch. (Beth Ann Baldry, Jan. 29)
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FROM THE INTERVIEW ROOM:
Q. Do you think how fit you are is a big advantage at a place like this where it’s hot and everything?
TIGER WOODS: I live in Florida. This is not hot. (Laughter).
Q. Compared to some of the European lads, how fit you are.
TIGER WOODS: It’s never a bad thing to be fit. But as I said, this is not hot. Tulsa was hot, if you were there. That was hot — or did you go outside of the tent?
TIGER WOODS: There you go. (Laughter).
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Q. I know I’m getting way ahead of myself, but could I ask a couple Masters questions? How many times have you played at Augusta?
JEFF QUINNEY: Just once. That was in ‘01 for the U.S. Am, but I’m not in this year.
Q. Can I get a Super Bowl pick from you then?
JEFF QUINNEY: I’d say the Patriots are going to win but I don’t think they’re going to cover the spread. I think they’re going to win. They’re just too tough.
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Q. Do I detect a bit of a throat in your voice?
LEE WESTWOOD: No, I think it’s the air.
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Q. Your respiratory illness, did you get that as a result of the fires near your home or when you were in China?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, it just coincided timewise around that time, but it probably started just before the fires, but around that time. It had nothing to do with the smoke, certainly had nothing to do with my trip overseas. I had it before then. But I took some antibiotics there that didn’t quite get rid of it, I took some more in December that didn’t quite get rid of it, and just now it is starting to get better.
Q. Is your voice going to stay like that long-term?
PHIL MICKELSON: My wife likes the raspiness.
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Q. We saw you give the Super Bowl tickets away on TV. Can you talk about why you did that and why you gave them to who you did?
PHIL MICKELSON: He was wearing a Callaway hat. I thought that it would be fun to give it to a father-son. I cherish the time I have with each one of my kids and I just thought it would be a cool experience for them. I wasn’t going to be able to use them because my family is in town and we’re all going to watch it together.
Q. Are they nosebleed seats?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don’t think so. I think they’re decent (laughter).