In search of the perfect airport

Because I’m a bit of an airport geek, I just spent the past 30 minutes reviewing the new report from Skytrax that lists the world’s Top 10 Airports for 2005.

(Okay, so maybe I’m a huge airport geek. Sue me. Surely I’m not the only one who actually looks forward to an extended layover so I can see if the airport might have a casino, porn shop, or an outdoor beer garden. As it turns out, Germany’s Frankfurt Airport has all three.)

According to Skytrax – and its 5,584,365 survey respondents – five of the top 10 airports are in Asia, with HongKong International Airport grabbing the top spot.

Scroll down quite a bit and you’ll find the first U.S. airport – Minneapolis-St. Paul International, which ranked 20th overall. Ouch. Somewhere along the way, the U.S. forgot how to build superior airports. Now they don’t even try. (And please don’t write about Denver International, which 10 years later still seems to need some serious tinkering.)

The worst part about the survey is that I wasn’t all that surprised to see the U.S. shutout of the top 10. I can’t remember the last time I was blown away by an airport’s layout/amenities/services. But maybe I just don’t fly enough. Is there a U.S. airport you think deserved a high ranking? Let me know.

Memo to Michelle Wie: Just say no

Like fellow blogger Jennifer Mario, I don’t have a problem with women receiving PGA Tour sponsor exemptions. For as much as these companies are paying, they should be allowed as many exemptions as they want.

And, yes, it certainly won’t hurt the ratings when Michelle Wie plays in the John Deere Classic. And if she does well, she just might earn a spot in the British Open. To some, it’s blasphemy. I won’t go that far, but it all seems like way too much, too soon.

What I’d really like to see is Wie put together a solid run on the LPGA Tour before she receives her next PGA Tour invite. Then I’d like to see her publicly decline the invitation and pass it onto Annika Sorenstam, the only woman deserving of the honor. (Seeing how Annika is busy rewriting the entire LPGA record book, she’d likely decline the offer.)

If Wie is serious about her long-term future, she’ll stop accepting every invitation that comes her way. I realize most 15-year-olds aren’t known for their incredible focus, but it’s not too much to ask for Wie to settle on just one goal this year (besides finishing her sophomore year): Winning an LPGA Tour event.

Masters leftovers

Phil Mickelson was sure the popular choice before the Masters, but that bandwagon is pretty light today. Tiger finally wins again and the Lefty naysayers come storming back in full voice.

Fair enough. Having picked Mickelson to repeat, I’ll be the first to give Tiger all the respect in the world. But the Tour season didn’t end last Sunday. Before we start engraving Tiger’s player of the year trophy, let’s go ahead and play the other three majors, shall we? My hunch is Mickelson – unlike past years – isn’t going to be content this year w/wins at the FBR Open, Pebble Beach, and the BellSouth.

Lastly…can we stop already w/the countless columns from the Masters listing the week’s “winners and losers”? Enough. There was only one winner on Sunday, and it wasn’t Chris DiMarco. Go ahead and praise him all day long – and deservedly so – but let’s stop calling the second-place finisher a “winner.”

New and improved Mickelson primed to repeat

One year after correctly picking Phil Mickelson to win the Masters, I’m ready to do it again. And this year I feel even better about the choice.

While Chris Baldwin waxes poetic – “Mickelson will forever be the romantic pick and seldom the realistic one” – it’s clear our favorite blogger is stuck in 2003. Back then, I would’ve agreed with Baldwin’s argument. Mickelson wasn’t mature enough to take that next step. But after a disastrous 2003 season (for Mickelson, at least), he changed his entire approach to the game. Thanks to his work with Dave Pelz and Rick Smith – plus an intelligent change in equipment – he seems more focused than ever.

And for what it’s worth, I love the fact that Mickelson stuck around to win the BellSouth yesterday. How can this possibly be a bad thing? (“Oh, the horror. Lefty missed a day of practice at Augusta.” Please.) If anything, winning in wet conditions should serve him well this week at Augusta, where the forecast calls for rain starting Thursday.