Editor-In-Chief Geoff Russell
Anyone seen Tiger Woods lately?
Anyone NOT seen Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas lately?
How will the recession impact Vijay Singh's golf game?
Those were the questions I found myself wondering last week while some of Golf World's best writers headed for Southern California and the Chevron World Challenge, the last golf tournament of 2008. While most of you were finishing up your holiday shopping and (no doubt) preparing to take some time off from your work responsibilities, we were polishing off the last of Golf World's 42 issues of 2008 (which you should receive in your mailboxes later this week or early next week). Ironically, the theme ("the 2009 PGA Tour Preview") will make it seem more like our first issue of 2009.
What did we learn? Plenty.
Senior writer Bob Verdi checked in with Woods, the Chevron tournament host, who had advanced far enough in his recuperation from his knee and leg injuries to attend the tournament the entire week. While he isn't ready to set a definite date for his return to competition, Woods -- bad news for his rivals -- sounded positively giddy about the condition of his leg and the progress he is making in his rehabilitation. Tiger told Verdi his legs haven't been this strong since, well, maybe ever. His workout guru, Keith Kleven, and swing coach, Hank Haney, more or less confirmed this to Verdi, whose educated guess is Woods will return at Doral, though he could come back as early as the WGC-Accenture Match Play.
Senior writer Tim Rosaforte, meanwhile, finished off the reporting and attended a photo shoot for a story he has been working on for the past two months on the relationship between Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas. These two twentysomethings, the PGA Tour's biggest breakout stars of 2008, have a lot in common: ethnic background and appeal, a power game that absolutely awes fans, and a flashy way of acting and dressing that makes them seem like a characters out of an HBO series. Rosaforte's theory, when he first pitched the story, was that the two guys also happen to be pretty good friends. Is that really the case? Check out Tim's story to find out.
Finally, there was the question about Singh's game. No sooner had the 46-year-old marvel won the FedEx Cup in September when he announced he would be taking a few weeks off -- a few months, as it turned out -- to rest and recuperate from aches and pains related to tendinitis in his left arm. While he was on the sidelines, our economy (as I don't need to remind many of you) took a bit of a nosedive. But as I watched the final round of the Chevron event Sunday afternoon, two things made an impression on me.
The first was Singh's weekend comeback, culminating in his laser-like iron to the final green and 12-foot birdie putt to win the tournament by one shot over Steve Stricker, with whom he was paired. Clearly, Singh has a little life left.
The second was the amount of his first-place check: $1.35 million.
For the first time in my career, I found myself enjoying the sight -- even comforted, perhaps -- by the sight of one of those oversized winner's check. For a second, I forgot we were in a recession.
Happy holidays from all of us at Golf World. Our next issue isn't until January 19, so I won't write to you again until January 12, the Monday after the Mercedes Championships.