Well, the last Tour Championship played in November has come and gone, and it likely will be remembered more for the fact Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson skipped the party rather than for the fact that Adam Scott smashed the piñada. Which raises the question: What do you think Tiger and Lefty did yesterday? Were they pining away, wishing they were trying to hold off Joe Durant down the stretch? Was Phil playing with the kids? Was Tiger scraping barnacles off the yacht? If only we knew ...
This is the point where the weird little spacey music starts to play and the picture gets all blurry, like John Daly's thinking process, and we get one of those flashbacks (gee, maybe this is about Daly) to another time and place. As the picture comes back into focus, we find Tiger on the phone with
Woods: "Yo! Lefty! My brother from another mother, what's up?
Mickelson: "Chillin', Tigs, chillin'. Finally got Amy and those three screaming urchins out of the house and just looking to kick back and watch some sports on the tube today. And you, bro?"
Woods: "Same old, same old. Watching a tape of the U.S. Open to punish myself for missing the cut at Winged Foot and keep my motivation high. But then I keep coming to that part where you play the 72nd hole and, well, I get all happy that I missed the cut because I wouldn't have missed watching that for anything "
Mickelson: "Very funny. Glad I was able to bring some sunshine into your otherwise miserable existence. But nothing funny about that from where I'm sitting."
Woods: "Speaking of sitting, want to hang together today and watch some sports on my 900-inch TV?"
Mickelson: "But I'm in California and you're in Florida, bud."
Woods: "There you go again, Chunks. You stopped thinking, just like on 18 at Winged Foot. We got planes, dude. Remember we bought them with all the money we got from being able to golf a little. That's the glorious paradox of all this: The PGA Tour made us so rich we can laugh in their faces and take off whenever we want. Get your butt over here."
Mickelson: "I'm on my way. I'll stop at In-And-Out and pick up a few dozen burgers. Should I get anything for you?"
Woods: "Just pick up a bag of chips. I'll whip up some guacamole."
Mickelson: "So, what's on the tube?"
Woods: "Final round of the Tour Championship, dude. Remember, we were supposed to be there."
Mickelson: "Oh, yeah Wow, it's been so long since I played I forgot the season was still going. Who's in the hunt?"
Woods: "Adam Scott is up by three over Vijay and Durant, with Furyk and Goosen another stroke back."
Mickelson: "Great leaderboard! That should be some final round. Wish I was there!"
Woods: "Yeah, me too!"
(Conversation is then interrupted by several minutes of non-stop laughter.)
Mickelson: "No, seriously Tigs, that's a pretty good leaderboard."
Woods: "Yeah, Lefty, I know. Hey, these guys are good!"
(Laughter resumes, then dies down into an awkward silence finally broken by Mickelson.)
Mickelson: "You break me up, man. That should be some final round. So, what's shaking in the NFL today?"
Woods: "Now you're talking. Got the Cowboys-Redskins and the Ravens-Bengals in the early game, followed by the Broncos-Steelers and then the Colts-Patriots at night."
Mickelson: "Man, that's some lineup."
Woods: "You got that right. About 10 hours of uninterrupted concussions. Now that's entertainment."
Mickelson: "Uh, Tigs, don't you think we should watch a little golf?"
Woods: "That's what TiVo is for, dude. I'll watch the final round Monday morning while I'm working out."
Mickelson: "Yeah, me too."
(Uncontrolled laughter by Tiger.)
Mickelson: "What's so funny, man?"
Woods: "Your joke, bud. That line about you watching the Tour Championship when you work out. You crack me up, Jack."
Mickelson: "No, really Tigs, I do work out."
Woods: "Really? Have you considered a malpractice suit against your trainer?"
Mickelson: "All right, enough with the fat jokes. Hey, look, I don't bust on you about the fact your hairline resembles the tide rushing out to sea."
Woods: "Yeah, 'cause you know if you did I'd drum you even worse than I do now."
Mickelson: "Seriously, man, if we decide to not play in the Tour Championship and then decide to not even watch it and turn on football instead, what are we saying? Aren't we being disloyal to the guys you helped make us rich?"
Woods: "Hey, man, not our fault. All you wanted was to take a four-month vacation. Is that too much to ask? And I was so exhausted from the season that I needed to bag the Tour Championship so I'd have enough energy to play all those appearance-fee tournaments I have coming up in Asia. Just looking out for No. 1. Well, in your case, No. 3."
Mickelson: "Well, at least next year we won't have this problem. With the Tour Championship in September I'll be able to take my extended vacation and you'll be able to play your Asian Silly Season, and we'll both still be able to play in the Tour Championship. When is it, exactly?"
Woods: "Ends on Sept. 16."
Mickelson: "Uh-oh. Problemo, dude."
Woods: "What's wrong, my left-handed punching bag?"
Mickelson: "Notre Dame at Michigan."
Woods: "Wow! When?"
Mickelson: "September 15."
Woods: "We can't miss that one. Hey, there'll be other Tour Championships "
Mickelson: "But Tigs, this is the first FedEx Cup. Don't we owe it to the tour to play? What will the commissioner say?"
Woods: "Hey, man, that's their problem. What were they thinking moving the thing to September? They can't expect us to play in every tournament. It's not like it's a major."
Mickelson: "But $10 million to the winner, Tigs."
Woods: "Yeah, like that's going to influence what we decide to do."
Mickelson: "OK, it's a date. Ann Arbor. Sept. 15. Irish and the Wolverines."
Woods: "Now you're talking, Bud. Your jet or mine?"
Ron Sirak is the Executive Editor of Golf World magazine