Last year’s Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston was one of the best week’s of the year: Not only for Phil Mickelson but certainly also for millions of golf fans watching the tournament live on the course or on television.
After being paired with Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh during the first two rounds of the tournament, Phil and Tiger did again play together on Sunday and Phil blew Tiger away with a flawless front nine and then held him off down the stretch to win the trophy.
I still consider this victory to be crucial for Phil as it proved once and for all that he can compete with and beat the best golfer in the world when he (Phil) is on top of his game. Every active golfer knows what such a big win can do to your self-confidence and Phil is certainly still benefiting from that push.
However, we are now in 2008 and Phil has not won a golf tournament since the Crowne Plaza Invitational in late May. While all of his latest results have been respectable, many fans were hoping for more. But after two Top-10s at the Bridgestone Invitational and the PGA Championship, I think that a successful defense of his title is not out of the question.
Here are my picks for this week’s tournament:
1. Sergio Garcia: It is hard to believe how he always manages to not win when he is playing great, but he is obviously in great shape and up again for a big win.
2. Ernie Els: Since his victory at the Honda Classic in February, Ernie has probably played the worst golf of his entire career. It cannot go on like that, even though he is teeing it up for the first time at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
3. Phil Mickelson: He likes the course (even though it was slightly altered since the tournament last year) which is bringing back a lot of good memories. Phil played well last Sunday at The Barclays and is looking to carry the momentum over to the TPC Boston.
By the way, I might be one of only a few people thinking that Vijay Singh will not compete at the Deutsche Bank Championship. Why? Well, if the winner of a tournament would always do well in the next one, we would see the same names on top of the leaderboard all the time. But - with the exception of a certain Mr. Woods - that does not happen. I guess that the physical and mental fatigue is just too great following a big win and that even a guy like Vijay will have to take it easy this week.
Don’t forget: It’s Labor Day weekend, so the tournament won’t start until Friday…