Talking Points: Phil tops Tiger

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What's the buzz from the world of sports? Here are some items that will have people talking:

1

In the wake of Sunday’s Tiger-Phil showdown at the Pebble Beach corral, one prevailing image emerges.

It is of Phil Mickelson, standing over a coffin, hammer in hand, pounding down a final nail.

Will Tiger Woods ever recover from this one? Can the 64-75 final-round beating that Woods took at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am be shrugged off as just another bad day, another step in the “process” that Tiger keeps talking about?

CBS announcer Jim Nantz keynoted things pretty well when he said, in dead-on accurate simplicity, “This is a big day for golf.”

Hope springs eternal for Tiger fans. Mickelson said that one week can change everything. Woods may still have that week. But the doubts are adding up, the evidence continuing to bring unmistakable conclusions.

Sunday’s Pebble Beach finale becomes the new Exhibit A in opportunity missed.

— From Bill Dwyre, Los Angeles Times

2

Davis Cup success in the first round is always nice, but it doesn’t mean the United States is back on top of the tennis world.

Recall that not a single American — male or female — advanced beyond the Round of 16 in the year’s first major event.

No American man has won a Grand Slam since Andy Roddick captured the 2003 U.S. Open — the longest drought since the Open Era began in 1968.

There are few signs that it will start raining titles soon. The world rankings contain just six U.S. women and eight men in the respective Top 100s. Only Mardy Fish, ranked eighth among the men, is a Top 10 player.

John McEnroe touched on a reason that is particularly painful for him. Tennis, he told the San Jose Mercury News, just isn’t as popular in America anymore.

“If you had told me poker would out-rate tennis 25 years ago, I would have laughed at you,” McEnroe said.

— From Mark Emmons, San Jose Mercury News