Tiger, Phil Top PGA Leaderboard at Doral

The PGA season is taking shape. Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson are dueling at the Ford Championship at Miami's Doral Country Club. Chicago Sun-Times sports columnist Ron Rapoport and Susan Stamberg talk golf.

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SUSAN STAMBERG, host:

Time now for sports. The PGA Tour has left the West Coast and started its Florida swing, and golf just doesn't get much tighter than this. After two days in the Ford Championship in Doral in Miami, there is a four-way tie on the leader board. The blue monster, the course is called, has been kind to film Nicholson and Tiger Woods, but Scott Verplank and Camillo(ph) Viegas are right up there with them, all 13 below par.

We are joined now by a man who is never below par, Ron Rapoport. Good morning to you.

RON RAPOPORT reporting:

Hi, Susan.

STAMBERG: Well, I don't know about your golf game, but I mean real life. So, listen, Tiger Woods, this is not news, is in the lead, but how well is he playing in this tournament? Also, how has he been doing this year?

RAPOPORT: Well, somewhere between brilliant and sensational. It's funny, this year he took a little heat for passing up the first few tournaments on the schedule. But as soon as he did start playing at the Buick Invitational near San Diego, he won. Then he went to Dubai for a non-PGA Tour event where he beat Ernie Els in sudden death playoff.

He did withdraw from a tournament in LA with the flu. But I guess we can all relax. When Tiger is ready to play, he will let us know.

STAMBERG: Has he turned 20 yet, by the way?

RAPOPORT: Well, as a matter of fact, time flies. He's 30 now. Here is an interesting thing. I sometimes wonder whether we're taking him for granted. Golf is a game of losing. You win one or two tournaments a year for 10 or 15 years, you're a superstar, not to mention a multi-millionaire. Here is Tiger starting his tenth year on the tour, and he's averaging five wins a year. And again, he has just turned 30. Susan, that's about when a lot of professional golfers are just beginning to figure the game out.

So people are wondering whether he is going to match Jack Nicklaus' record of ten major championships, you know, 18 major championships. He's got 10 already. I'm figuring, the heck with that, what about Sam Sneed's PGA Tour record of 82 wins? How about a hundred? He is rewriting all of the records.

STAMBERG: Who else are you excited about this year? I can tell you like Tiger Woods?

RAPOPORT: Well, one player that's captured a lot of attention is a rookie named Bubba Watson. He finished fourth in a tournament in Hawaii, Susan. He is the longest hitter on the tour, average of 320 yards off the tee. But he is 193rd in driving accuracy. It's scary to figure out what might happen if he ever hits the ball straight.

STAMBERG: You don't want to get in the car with that guy. Thank you so much. Our own Ron Rapoport. Thanks, Ron.

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