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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Mickelson’

2012 World Golf Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

I watched with interest the World Golf Hall of Fame presentations Monday night (May 7, 2012).  There, Hollis Stacy, Sandy Lyle, Dan Jenkins, Phil Mickelson, Peter Alliss, and were inducted – each had a unique perspective and story.

  • Hollis Stacy – An 18-time winner on the LPGA which includes 4 majors as well as 3 consecutive U.S. Girls titles.
  • Sandy Lyle – A Scotsman and 29-time winner world-wide with a British Open, a Masters (first British player to win), and a Players Championship included in that number.
  • Dan Jenkins – He is only the third writer to be inducted and the first still living.  From Fort Worth, TX, Jenkins is a revered and celebrated writer winning recognition for his golf coverage and his books.  A best-selling author, Jenkins has written arguably the “best ever golf book” – “The Dogged Victims of Inexorable Fate.” 
  • Peter Alliss – A professional player in his early career, Alliss was inducted as a broadcaster.  The distinctive British announcer was inducted as a result of his lifetime achievement for excellence in broadcasting.
  • Phil Mickelson – He has 48 world-wide victories, with three Masters and one PGA included. 

Hollis Stacy is still active in promoting women’s and girls’ golf.  A product of a large family of ten children (fourth) she attributed her competitiveness and spirited nature and ultimately her success to her family.  She did not really talk about her car wreck in 1988, but some attribute that event to effectively ending her career.

Through his words, Sandy Lyle provided insight into his personality that I would otherwise never had known.  Not unlike Billy Casper was overshadowed  by the big three in his time (even though his numbers should have made him the number two to three of that cohort), Sandy Lyle was overshadowed in his time by names such as Seve Ballesteros, Greg Norman, Nick Faldo, and Ian Woosnam. 

I loved listening to Dan Jenkins.  I knew of him for years and hadn’t read much of his stuff.  I recently bought the book referred to previously and it is not cheap!  It is out of print (or whatever the right term is) and so there are only so many out there.  I found one with Dave Marr and Al Geiberger autographs in it (lucky find) and am halfway into it.  I have already found quips and quotes that have made me laugh out loud. 

Peter Alliss is quite a character.  A little self-deprecating, but knowing of his status, he played the crowd beautifully.  He did acknowledge that he was “quite beautiful” when he was young.  He finished his speech with a bow to his parents above in Heaven and “the finger” to a grade school teacher (if she were watching from wherever) who wrote in his report that though he has a brain, he was loathe to use it and she was afraid for his future.   

PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem provided some commentary prior to Phil Mickelson’s introduction.  In his words he essentially called Phil a great role-model and ambassador for the PGA Tour.  He lauded Phil’s conduct and comportment on and off the course and implied all should take his example.  I second that assertion.

Phil mentioned briefly in his commentary and more directly in pre-event interviews that perhaps 40 was too young an age threshold for consideration.  Like Ernie Els last year, he said he still has a lot to do and a lot of game left.  In fact, he said that he may be entering the best part of his career.  When asked in an interview pre-Players recently, Tiger agreed with Phil’s questioning the age threshold, but came to no specific conclusion with what the right age should be.

Phil made another interesting comment in a pre-induction interview at the World Golf Hall of Fame.  He was asked about the state of the game and its future.  He took a different view than many.  Essentially, instead of creating strategies to “hurry along” the game (referring to tee it forward, fewer holes, etc…), let’s find a way to make the golf course a place people want to be.  Make it more “family friendly.”  He said part of what he loves about golf is not only playing the game, but “the hang” at the club with friends and family after a round.  I think there are some valuable nuggets there…

Bubba Watson Wins at Augusta!

PGATour.com

2:23 PM.  It is the final day of The Masters – Sunday – and Phil is in the final group, one behind Peter Hanson.  Hanson is unproven in this position, while each of the three wins Phil has had at The Masters has come as a member of the final twosome on Sunday and in each case he shot no worse than 69.  It is a beautiful day at Augusta today and Phil is on the practice green awaiting his tee-time at 2:40 – seventeen minutes from now.  There are players within reach of the -9 total Hanson currently holds.  Mahan, Harrington, Westwood, Kuchar, Bubba Watson, and Oosthuizen are lurking and trying to make a move…it may take some help from Hansen and Phil.

2:55 PM.  Boy was I wrong that it would take some help from Hanson and Phil…Oosthuizen just double eagled the second hole to go to 10 under!!  It was one of the most perfect shots I have ever seen.  It has changed the complexion of the tournament in a single shot.

3:28 PM.  Phil holds on to 8 under par through the third hole, Hanson drops a second shot to go to 7 under, and Oosthuizen drops a shot on the fourth hole.

3:41 PM.  Watching Phil fall apart on the fourth hole.  He hit his tee shot left off the stands and into the bamboo and finally in with a triple bogey 6 taking him to 5 under par.

7:35 PM.  I couldn’t make any entries until now, I couldn’t pull away from viewing the tournament long enough.  Bubba is in tears after tapping in a 6 inch putt for par and the win on the second playoff hole (number 10) with Louis Oosthuizen.  Louis played near flawless golf, but could not reach the green on the final playoff hole from 235 yards after hitting trees on his drive.  Bubba hit an amazing hooking wedge from the trees right of the fairway from 155 yards to about 15 feet.  The new father of a two week old adopted son, he shed tears even as he was pulling the ball from the hole.  He was met on the green by his mother and his pals, Rickey Fowler and Ben Crane.

I was glued to the television during this final round.  My poor dogs only got a hurried walk because my wife had to get back to watch.  Matt Kuchar made a valiant run, but fell short at 8 under.  Phil made the strokes back he lost on his triple bogey on number four, but it was not enough as he finished at 8 under.  And, Peter Hanson hung in there shooting 1 over par today to also tie at 8 under par for the tournament.

Today Bubba out-“Phil-ed” Phil.  He is a swashbuckler on the course, with Seve-like imagination and the heart of a lion.  It is great to see him win the green jacket.

Matt Adams and Damn Near-isms, etc. etc. etc.

I was listening to Matt Adams this morning on Sirius/XM’s PGA Tour Channel “Fairways of Life” on my way to work and it struck me how many “Damn Near-isms” he managed to lay out there in the span of a couple of minutes. Matt was excited to talk with a caller about Rory McIlroy’s win at The Honda Classic and his becoming the number one ranked golfer in the world.  He was also incorporating the ongoing topic of a single hegemonic player versus player parity on the tour in the discourse.  (You know – was it better when Tiger was the lead dog or is it better now that so many different players can actually win each week? I would personally like to see another “big three!”)  Now, “Damn Near-isms” are nothing new for Matt. I hear them all of the time on the show, in fact there is one enduring “Damn Near-ism” that he just continues to use almost every other sentence.

I suppose it is time I tell you what a “Damn Near-ism” is.

Definition: Damn Near-ism – a word or phrase that when spoken or written elicits an initial or basic understanding of the intended meaning; however, when a quick mental review is made the listener/reader then realizes that the word or phrase was actually not quite right. Example: I love dogs, in fact, I once had a Labrador Repeater (intending Retriever).

So, in addition, Matt is a New York Times best selling author and I think sometimes he overplays the accomplished writer thing in his speech patterns and the language he uses.  For example, how many times do you use the word “thus” in normal conversation?  Play a drinking game during the show sometime and take a shot of tequila every time Matt says “thus.”  (“Thusly” counts…yeah, I know)  You’ll wake up the next day with a serious hangover, walking bowlegged, and sporting a tattoo of a spiked dog collar on your neck that you have no idea where it came from.  (Not my experience, but I hear Feherty spent a lot of money removing that tattoo.)  All this to say that once he gets excited, words just flow and sometimes they fit…and sometimes they don’t.  I’m just saying.

In the dialogue referenced in the first paragraph, Matt was excitedly waxing eloquent that since the “fall” of Tiger there has been great parity amongst the players on tour and that it has been “almost gladatorial” out there. I got the gist, but in my personal Scooby-Doo way I went, “huh?” to myself in the car. I knew there was something wrong and I was right – it is actually gladiatorial. He then pressed on to say that so far this year we have seen a resurgent Tiger, a resurgent Phil, and now Rory’s rise – it will surely be a “season of our content.” Okay, I get that too. And, I suppose one could say that it is a loosely appropriate reapplication of  Shakespeare’s “winter of our discontent” but, I am not so generous and it smacks of that “I am a best selling writer use of language and references thing.”   It is nothing less than a high brow “Damn Near-ism.”  Finally, the pizza resistance (I couldn’t resist). Matt is continuously ending his sentences with ex cetera, ex cetera, ex cetera.  Matt – it’s ET CETERA, ET CETERA, ET CETERA. Axe anyone!  Rent the 1956 movie “The King and I” and Yule Brynner (as the king) will clear it up. In fact and better yet, here’s a sound clip that should help: just click etc.

I love the show. I like listening because in many ways Matt and his call-in guests sound like the guys at the course talking about the week’s events on the PGA tour. Matt is very experienced in golf business and broadcasting and he is always informative.  It is interesting and sometimes funny to hear what people have to say when they call in and the commentary Matt provides as a result. And, if some of those conversations took place near me and we were the guys at the course, I would give the “Damn Near-ism” user no end of grief – on the spot. But, since I am a mere listener, I’m giving grief here.

Love the show, the banter, and the “Damn Near-isms.”  Can’t wait to hear the next one.

The Promise of the New Year – 2012

New Year 2012

It’s been a month or so since I posted.  Christmas is past us, we are in the new year…football is coming to and end, March madness is around the corner, and spring is coming soon!  It’s been a little frustrating watching the tour in Hawaii and California.  I just made a trip out west to Miramar, CA just north of Torrey Pines and was about 5 minutes from the Air Station golf course, but alas, I could only find time to visit the pro shop. 

Third Week of the Golfing Year

This week brings the 2012 debut of Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, but in different tournaments.  Phil will play in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines (with Rickie and Bubba and Bill Haas and Keegan).  Also in the mix is JB Holmes!  This is his return to tournament golf since his brain surgery late last year.  He says he’s ready, I’ll cheer for his success with all the vigor I cheer for his (and my) favorite college basketball team – the UK Wildcats.  Tiger begins his season in Abu Dhabi, UAE at the HSBC Championship (with Luke, Lee, and Rory).  Some estimate that Tiger will receive $3 million just for showing up!  Let’s hope Tiger’s game of old also shows up and that his win late last year wasn’t an anomoly born from a short field and tired players.

Promise for the Rest of the Year

Ahhhh… so it begins with great wins in Hawaii and California for Steve Stricker, Johnson Wagner, and Mark Wilson.  Will Rickie finally win one at home?  There better be some wins this year for Watosh (me)!

Caddies – The Woods / Williams Saga

Caddies in Print

I recently bought a couple of books from Amazon.com about PGA caddies.  I am in the middle of “Piddler” Martin’s Caddie Confidential: Inside Stories from the Caddies of the PGA Tour.  Next I will read Rick Reilly’s Who’s Your Caddie? – great title.  The first thing that strikes me is that I can really identify with some of these characters.  Martin has introduced me to some caddies that could be pilots in the Marine Corps…a la Great Santini…callsigns (nicknames) and all.  “Piddler?”  What does that mean…or do I want to know?  “Junkman,” “Crispy,” “Reptile,” the Growler” (Ok, I think I know where this may have come from so I am glad the book doesn’t have an associated scratch and sniff!), “Cadillac,” etc…there are lots more.

I bought these books because my wife asked me a question about confidentiality clauses with caddies…do they have them?  I really didn’t know, and still don’t…yet.  I would guess that it depends on the player and the deals players and caddies strike.  In “Piddler’s” book, the work for most caddies seems so adhoc that I couldn’t imagine any kind of written agreement ever gets done except for maybe the really long term associations.  There also seems to be a kind of apparent camaraderie or esprit de corps amongst caddies.  At least that’s the feel I get from reading the stories to date.  It might be that the “caddie corps” used to have unwritten rules and professional standards of conduct where “tell-alls” are concerned, but Martin’s book is copyrighted in 2009, so since that’s the case it is likely to still be true.  Obviously, I still have a lot of questions.

Caddies and Tiger

Tiger hasn’t had many caddies.  Steve Williams has been with him since 1999 when Butch Harmon introduced them after Tiger fired “Fluff” Cowan.  I wonder what kind of agreement they had?  A lot of people are wondering.  Willams has a history of getting personally involved with his player.  He caddied for Greg Norman for several years until Norman fired him in 1989, but they remain friends.  Williams would later say he “got too close personally” with Norman – whatever that means – which resulted in the firing.  Williams and Woods were the best man at each other’s weddings.  Williams has been very protective of Tiger through the years and stood by him during Tiger’s personal debacle that has since been a major reason (aside from injury) for his fall from the list of top players in the world.

Caddies are People Too

Williams is no wall flower.  He speaks his mind and is not afraid to talk publically, especially in his native New Zealand, when asked about things.  He spoke disparagingly about Phil Mickelson in 2008 openly admitting an apparent mutual dislike between them.  He has most recently spoken openly about his recent firing by Tiger at the recent AT&T National.  Tiger apparently fired him because he was “disloyal.”  Williams, one of the world’s top caddies, had gained permission from Woods to caddy for Australian Adam Scott at the U.S. Open.  Later he caddied for Scott again, supposedly without permission, at the AT&T which apparently caused Tiger to take offense and ultimately let him go.

I am not sure how loyal a person has to be to keep Tiger’s affection and loyalty.  Stevie stayed beside him throughout his personal tribulations, has only worked for him through it all until the Adam Scott thing, which means not much in terms of tournament play.  Williams confessed that the timing of the firing coupled with the “disloyal” comments are what has thrown him – not necessarily the firing itself.  He “wasted the last two years…”  Apparently, for Tiger, it was time to add to his list of changes.  Change his personal conduct, change his perspective with his kids, change his conduct on course (not very successfully), change his swing coach, change his swing, change the way he deals with injury, and now change his caddy.  What’s next?

Bring in the Caddies

Who’s next?  How about “the Growler?”  Or perhaps “the Servant?”  Or maybe “the Ass Kisser?”  Word of advice caddies… keep it strictly professional.

Masters Review

This year’s Masters was a “masters-piece!”  Aside from (and also because of) all the Tiger focus and distractions pre-tournament, it proved to be an event to remember.  The Tiger saga was interesting as we watched his tournament unfold, each day like a four-step program of reintroduction into the competitive world of PGA golf – surprise, elation, reality, and struggle.  He finished fourth and he was disappointed, and if not for a very sloppy three-putt from six feet on the 14th hole during the final day he would have tied for third.  Only he could be that disappointed after the layoff he had.  If only I could struggle so mightily and still shoot 3 under par…but he’s Tiger. 

Lee Westwood has finished in the top 3 of the last 3 majors.  He’ll win The British Open if he wins a major this year – so much for my predictions to date, but there it is.  The big surprise for me was the surge of Anthony Kim in the final round, the failures of my South Africa contingent to place, and Harrington and Furyk missing the cut so badly.  Freddie and Mr. Watson should be a surprised, but somehow they don’t feel that way. And we have, yet again, another possible Seve from Europe…the young  Italian 16 year old Benissimo Matteo.  Can he live up to the billing?  Obviously, only time will tell.  This youngster is about to turn pro so we’ll hear a lot more about him in the coming months, I hope.

Phil was masterful, and did it his way which made it all the more satisfying to watch.  No laying up for him!  When asked about the shot off the straw through the trees on 13 during the last round he shrugged and said, “It was only a 6 iron.”  Hmmmmm….

Comment on Tiger’s language.  I was watching the tournament when I thought I heard him drop the “F-Bomb” as clear as day after hitting an apparently abhorrent shot from the tee on the par 3 sixth hole…hit the green by the way.  Jim Nantz jumped all over it, as he should have.  Except, it really wasn’t the “F-Bomb,” it was another word that sounded like it.  In an ESPN replay, I heard it more clearly and he said, “Tiger Woods, you SUCK.”  SUCK accentuated louder than the other words, which is why it sounded like *UCK.  I really don’t consider telling yourself out loud that you suck as profanity.  Other than this instance, I don’t recall hearing any ‘profanity’ from him.  I do recall, however, hearing him say aloud Tigeeeer, in his best valley girl imitation.  That seemed a bit odd, but probably came out that way as a result of trying to control his words.  What is interesting is that previous to all his controversy, that “…you SUCK” event would probably have wafted by like a near silent popcorn fart, no one mention it and it will quickly go away.    We’ve seen the genteel segues occur before in tournaments when Tiger has cut loose an expletive because his ball didn’t do exactly as he desired.  But he has since lost his luster and now is seemingly free game.  In fact, we are poised to target the small lapses from his promised good behavior on the course.  Interesting.