David Toms, a three-time winner on Tour, is like Cink in that his Q rating is lower than Bob Knight's boiling point. Toms is also a shotmaker who tries to work the ball from the safe side of the green toward the pin, no matter which side of the green the hole is on. Toms, 33, was an All-America at LSU and the SEC player of the year in 1989. Only now, in his eighth full season on Tour, is he blossoming into a player to be reckoned with. He tied for fourth at Colonial, fading slightly after sharing the second-round lead with Love. "If you don't bomb the ball," says Toms, who ranks 76th in driving distance, "you've got to be able to play shots." Toms can. What's his natural shot? "Depends where the pin is," he says.
Another shotmaker on the rise is Jim Furyk. Maybe you thought he was the second coming of Bruce Lietzke, a guy who does nothing but fade the ball because of the funky loop in his swing. Furyk, 30, threw in a few right-to-left shots during his come-from-way-back victory at Doral in March, and handled Colonial last week, tying for eighth. "I hadn't played with Jim in a while and I was impressed with his shot selection, his intelligence and the way he worked the ball both ways," said Corey Pavin, who was paired with Furyk for the first two rounds at Colonial. "He was so under control." Furyk, who has won five times and has 14 top 17 finishes in the last 18 majors, is another player to watch next month in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, where working the ball will be critical.
The smart money, though, will probably be on Mickelson, a Californian who won the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am two years ago. He's primed for a breakthrough in the majors and would have won last year's Open at Pinehurst if Payne Stewart hadn't magically one-putted five of the last six greens. "I've started to do well consistently in the majors," says Mickelson, who tied for sixth at the Masters, "but I need to come through with a victory. That's the last hurdle for me."
Hogan would no doubt agree.