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February 25, 2010 11:06 AM

Pardon my English, but it's Time for a Major

apoulter.jpgWith all this hot Olympic curling action going on, I've been a bit sidetracked from my role as one of the 10 or so golf experts on this web site.

Apologies to the three or four of you golf fans out there who might have missed me.

Anyway, without further ado, let's pull the driver out of the ol' bag and address a few burning on- and off-course issues.

Oh, and by the way, is it just me or has the golf season gotten off to one heckuva boring start this year?
Whether you agree with that or not, it is a clever segue to our first topic of discussion today, and one of the tour's buzz-kills this year, Tiger Woods...

I just read an Associated Press story, which was one of those the classic non-update updates, so I figured I'd repeat it for you. Yer welcome.

Masters officials are saying that they haven't heard  a peep from Woods about whether he  intends to play in this year's event. Here's the best part: The story made sure to say that because the Masters is an invitational tournament, Tiger could basically just show up on the Thursday morning of the tourney and play away.
He doesn't need to inform anybody at Augusta about his intentions if he doesn't want to. Good to know, eh?

No matter, the official quoted in the story, Steve Ethun, can go back to his whittling or whatever it is those guys do down there between tournaments, because Woods won't be showing up anytime soon. 

If Woods plays the Masters this year any goodwill he might have reaped from his speech last Friday would go the way of an ill-struck shot fluttering above Rae's Creek.

Tiger has proven he can be plenty dumb, but he's not stupid. If he's really serious about repairing his reputation and restoring some normalcy to his personal life, he won't go near a golf course -- even Augusta National -- anytime soon.

I type this because it makes complete sense, but mostly because I am on the record as saying before his speech that he would have been stupid to hurry back to the tour this year.
I am right about this stuff about as often as I one-putt, which is why I just got done exchanging high-fives with myself.  

The LPGA made a little news this week, which is news in itself.
The tour has announced that Rosie Jones will captain next year's American Solheim Cup team that will take on the Europeans in Ireland.

I've always been a fan of Jones, who probably got more out of her game than just about anybody. Jones is a notoriously short hitter, but still managed to win 13 times on tour. She also always seemed to be around the lead of the U.S. Open, though she never won one.

Jones could hit a 5-wood from about 200 yards closer than I could just about ever hit a wedge from half that distance. She was the female version of Corey Pavin -- tough as nails, short off the tee, but wonderful around the greens.

Give the average tour player Jones' guts and moxie, and I'll show you a Hall-of-Famer.  

Finally, and belatedly (I told you it's that darn curling), congratulations to Ian Poulter for his win over countryman Paul Casey in the Accenture Match Play Championship last weekend.
Maybe, just maybe, the British lads are ready to fulfill all this nagging promise they've teased their fans with the past few years.

Poulter's win means that for what has to be the first time ever, three Brits are in the top 10 of the world golf rankings.
Poulter's first-ever win on U.S. soil elevated him to No. 5 on the list, where he joins Lee Westwood, (No. 4), and Casey (No. 6).
Throw in the highly underrated Ross Fisher at No. 21, and the highly overrated Luke Donald at 23, and cheers, mate, England is in a real position to make some noise this year.

But before we get too excited about all this, let's see one of these lads show the brass ones needed to win a major.

Since Nick Faldo rolled over a choking Greg Norman in the 1996 Masters, no Englishman has walked away with one of the game's top prizes. There's never been a better time for the English to end their major drought than this year. 

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