Please get better, Tiger. Golf needs you. The colorful, multi-talented and never-a-dull-moment Martin Laird won the Arnold Palmer Invitational this weekend adding to the ever-growing list of guys I've never heard of and hardly anyone who follows golf cares about.
Seriously, so far this year we've had Jonathan Byrd, Mark Wilson, Jhonattan Vegas, Bubba Watson, Mark Wilson again, D.A. Points, Aaron Baddely, Luke Donald, Johnson Wagner, Rory Sabbatini, Nick Watney, Michael Bradley, Gary Woodland and Laird win PGA tournaments.
The only three out of that lineup you would recognize without help of the caddie's pullover are Donald, Watson and Sabbatini. The rest? Sure, they're obviously talented players. They're winning tournaments on the PGA, but talk about your lack of excitement.
It's ugly. Just straight up ugly. There's a reason John Daly is the focal point of Golf Channel coverage no matter what he does the first two days of a tournament he's in. He's colorful- and not just literally because of the pants.
They'll still show every shot by Tiger, and some of his bad ones are far more entertaining than the shots that are actually winning tournaments for these other guys.
Someone have a personality, please. Your average Joe could fall asleep watching golf on television anyway. Now it's almost a certainty.
The world's No. 1 player Martin Kaymer is a privileged, country club groomed pretty boy who is the poster child for why golf is and will probably always be considered a sport for the wealthy. He hits great golf shots. Aside from that he's like watching paint dry.
This week there's the Shell Houston Open, then the Masters.
I swear if someone not named Woods, Couples, Mickelson, Watson, Garcia, McIlroy, Fowler or Angel-Jimenez wins at Augusta, I'm going to stop watching.
Kelly Pavlik is well on his way back to top form for his May 7 fight against Alfonso Lopez at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. If you follow the Salem News daily you know I saw him training in person, and we ran an extensive feature in our Sunday edition. And if you don't go to salemnews.net and read it. He looks good. Sounds good. Is upbeat. In a nutshell, he's got a lot of fire back that many champions tend to lose once they reach the top. I know deep down Kelly wants to prove his critics wrong, but I wonder the nature of the beast that he's up against. Think about it. If he goes in and slaughters the unbeaten Lopez, his critics will say he fought an untested bum. If he goes the distance and wins, they'll say he's lost a step. And if he loses, well, forget about it.
But my message to Kelly is simply this: Just win and smile.
Don't worry about what the critics say. Don't follow them. Don't listen to them. Keep winning, stay positive and the rest will fall into place. Best of luck May 7. I sincerely hope you get back to the top. But like I said in a previous column, do it for yourself. You don't owe anything to anyone.
"You're gonna have to learn your cliches. You're gonna have to study them, you're gonna have to know them. Write this down: 'We gotta play it one day at a time.'"
"Got to play ... it's pretty boring."
Of course it's boring, that's the point. Write it down."
'til next time ...
E-mail B.J. Lisko at firstname.lastname@example.org