Bob Lutz

Mickelson was great, but Woods did little to win back fans at Augusta

I'm going to do a little question-and-answer thing with myself, so stick with me.

Q: Was I happy that Phil Mickelson won the Masters?

A: You better believe it. Mickelson was fun to watch, as always. He's a risk-taker who knows no fear but uses better judgment than he has in some past late-round disasters. And how could anyone not be moved by the moment he had with his wife, Amy, and their three children after Mickelson had wrapped things up? It was moving, given Amy Mickelson's battle with breast cancer that had kept her bed-ridden in Augusta until Sunday.

Q: Was I happy that Tiger Woods didn't win the Masters?

A: Happy? Maybe not happy. But certainly it was fine with me. I'm still working to figure out my feelings about Woods, who was my favorite golfer until the revelations that came out in the past four-plus five months. I still respect his enormous ability. After more than four inactive months, at least playing tournament golf, he finished fourth in the Masters. Remarkable. But I don't like the guy. At least I don't like him right now. Maybe that will change if I start to see any redemptive behavior. So far, I haven't. Just words, and they don't mean anything.

Q: If Woods was your favorite golfer, who takes his place?

A: Perhaps Mickelson. Perhaps Anthony Kim, a 24-year-old with unbelievable ability and a charisma that will attract a lot of fans if he can be a consistent competitor on the PGA Tour. Hunter Mahan intrigues me, too. I was worried that without Woods to cheer for, I would be lost trying to follow golf. But I'm resolved to follow the game intently, with or without Woods.

Q: OK, but why are you finished with Woods?

A: Because of his infidelities. Because of how many different women he cheated on his wife and family with. It's that simple.

Q: Don't you believe in redemption?

A: Yes, I do. I think redemption is a wonderful thing. But it has to be earned over time and it has to be genuine. It will take some time for Woods to prove himself to me and he took a few steps backward during the Masters, especially during his post-tournament interview with CBS' Peter Kostis. Rather than show humility, Woods talked about how he was disappointed that he didn't win at Augusta. Rather than thank the fans for showing support, he didn't mention them at all. I think he's as self-obsessesed as ever. If that ever changes, perhaps my outlook will, too. But I'm not holding my breath.

* The Royals are hitting the baseball during the early season. I wonder how long it will continue?

Acquisitions Scott Podsednik and Rick Ankiel have brought some life to Kansas City's lineup. Ankiel really struggled last season in St. Louis with pitches up in the strike zone. He couldn't get the barrel of the bat to the ball.

So far, in the time I've seen him in a Royals uniform, he's been killing balls down in the zone. You wonder if pitchers are ignoring the scouting report or whether they're even aware of the scouting report.

* I'm on board with the Pittsburgh Steelers' decision to get rid of wide receiver Santonio Holmes, who has had more than his share of off-the-field difficulties. The Steelers obviously have run out of patience with Holmes and shipped him to the New York Jets for a fifth-round draft pick.

In other words, they dropped Holmes, a former Super Bowl MVP and one of the best receivers in the game, for the chance to draft a borderline player.

Now, what do the Steelers do with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger? True, charges will not be brought against Big Ben in regard to allegations made by a female college student that he assaulted her in the restroom of a Georgia club last month.

But Roethlisberger, the focus of a civil case resulting from a similar 2008 allegation in Lake Tahoe, will soon meet with the owners of the Steelers and with NFL commission Roger Goodell.

Should Roethlisberger be punished by his team or by the league? The Steelers have shown they are willing to part ways with a star player who embarrasses the organization and Goodell has a short leash for players who show questionable behavior off the field. It's difficult to imagine Roethlisberger playing a full season in 2010.

* I talked briefly with Wichita State pitching coach Brent Kemnitz after Saturday's WSU-Southern Illinois at Eck Stadium. As you would guess, he's perplexed by a second consecutive season of inconsistency in the bullpen, but hopeful that soon there will be a turnaround.

That turnaround didn't come Sunday, when the Shockers' bullpen was beat up during a loss to SIU.

Kemnitz is hopeful that senior right-hander Cobey Guy, who has a string of impressive outings, will be the guy to help stabilize things in the pen. We'll see.

* Quick thoughts:

"Breaking Bad," the AMC series that features two-time best actor Emmy winner Bryan Cranston, is the show I most anticipate watching.

... Nothing quite pleases my senses like a green lawn. Mine is slowly taking shape.

... I'm looking forward to the NBA playoffs, even though I don't think I've watched a full regular-season game this season.

... the Masters in high definition is heavenly. I still want to get to Augusta someday.

... I'm so glad baseball season is in full swing. Watching Albert Pujols hit elates me.

... I've watched the series "Life" on the Discovery Channel. Interesting stuff that reinforces how little attention I paid in school.

... I am resisting the urge to buy an iPad. It might have something to do with a lack of funds. But someday, I'll own one of those things.

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