By Ann Liguori
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Mark Twain once said that “golf is a good walk spoiled.” Well, I don’t think even someone with the imagination of Twain could have ever imagined a golfer’s round being spoiled by … a sinkhole?!

Thank Goodness that golfer Mike Mihal was rescued and lives to talk about it! After falling 18 feet into a sinkhole on the 14th hole of Annbriar Golf Course in Waterloo, Ill., Mihal’s playing partners and the general manager from the club were able to rescue him!

Other recent news in golf is a bit more, shall we say, routine? Or what used to be routine…

Tiger Woods earned his 76th career win this past Sunday when he held on to his lead and won the WGC-Cadillac Championship at the Doral, his 17th World Golf Championship title.

Ironically, the guy credited with the “assist” finished second in the tournament. Woods’ good friend, fellow tour player Steve Stricker, actually helped Woods with his putting posture the day before the Honda started. Whatever it was that Stricker brought to Woods’ attention certainly worked! Woods regained his putting magic and drained 27 birdies!

Rory McIlroy rebounded both on and off the course. By apologizing quickly and admitting that it was a mistake to walk off the course in frustration after playing only eight holes at the Honda Classic,  McIlroy shot a bogey-free 65 in the final round of the WGC-Cadillac Championship and finished 8th. Clearly he regained his sanity and found his game!

Yes, I know what frustration feels like on the golf course. And I can only imagine how frustrating it is for someone as talented and successful as Rory has become to lose his game. It’s easy to get angry with yourself in golf. After all, golf is the ultimate challenge for both amateurs and professionals. But I was critical of McIlroy for quitting and walking off. Blaming a wisdom tooth added fuel to the media fire.

But as disappointed as I was in McIlroy for quitting in the middle of his round at the Honda Classic, I was extremely impressed with the way he handled his meltdown a few days later. He spoke about it at length and apologized, nipping the controversy in the bud by addressing it.

At a press conference prior to the Honda Classic, McIlroy spent some time talking about the incident, saying, “I learned that when the going gets tough, I’ve got to stick in there a bit more and I’ve got to grind it out. There’s no excuse for quitting, and it doesn’t set a good example for the kids watching me, trying to emulate what I do. It wasn’t good for a whole lot of reasons, for the tournament, the people coming out watching me.

“I feel like I let a lot of people down with what I did last week and, you know, for that I am very sorry.”

Now, a few years back, if Woods would have publicly addressed his situation much quicker instead of letting it fester for months without talking about it, I think the attention and distractions that his sex scandal caused would have quieted sooner.

That seems like ancient history now. Woods has found his “A” game with his new swing. Consistency is the magic word. He seems to have uncorked it and at the same time, left the distractions behind him.

For the first time in five years, Woods has two victories so far before the Masters. And perhaps this will be the year that Woods will win his first Major since the US Open in Torrey Pines in 2008 — and probably a few more.

All is right in golf for the time being, barring another unthinkable sinkhole.

Is Woods the favorite to win the Masters? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below…

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