Connect with us

Opinion & Analysis

Did you really expect Mahan to keep playing?

Published

on

Hunter_Mahan_

It’s become something of a standard bit in recent years: A golfer, whose wife is quite pregnant, is asked in a press conference if he’d withdraw from a tournament if he found out his wife was going into labor.

Generally, the golfer mouths some variant of, “Of course I would. There are more important things than golf.”

Yet who, before Hunter Mahan, who withdrew from the RBC Canadian Open upon finding out that his wife had gone into labor, has ever had his feet held to the fire?

In 2007, when wife Elin was pregnant with the couple’s first child, Tiger Woods indicated he’d withdraw during the U.S. Open if his wife went into labor. Fortunately, Woods didn’t have to weigh missing out on a major victory versus missing the birth of his child: Sam Alexis wasn’t born until Monday.

Likewise, Phil Mickelson, at the 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, famously played the final round with a cell phone in his pocket, claiming, too, he’d withdraw if he got the call saying his wife was giving birth.

Like Woods, Mickelson didn’t have to leave work early, as his child was born the next day.

Indeed, who can forget Payne Stewart gripping Mickelson, whom he’d just defeated, reminding the golfer that he was going to be a father, which was of far greater significance to the doyen of traditional golfing garb.

Payne Stewart had it right.

True, a win at the Canadian Open would have been the culmination of a spell of fine form for Hunter Mahan, who entered the tournament a favorite to win. He tied for fourth at the U.S. Open in June, a final-round 75 sinking his hopes of a first major win. Likewise, Mahan tied for ninth at the Open Championship last week.

Thus, not only did Hunter Mahan step away from a tournament he was winning after 36 holes, he hit pause on an ascendent streak in his career in order to share in the birth of his first child. It’s possible that he’ll miss next week’s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, which he’s committed to, as well.

However, as ESPN’s LZ Granderson said in 2012 when the Chicago Bears’ Charles Tillman was considering whether he’d miss playing time for the birth of his child, we are presented with an outlandish situation with the “Will he or won’t he” drama:

Only an athlete gets applauded for wanting to be there for the birth of a child. Any other millionaire husband who showed up at the office while his wife was giving birth would get funny looks at best and called inhuman at worst. But for some reason, the script is totally flipped in the bizarro world of sports.

If Mahan would have said, “Sorry, honey, I’ve got to finish this thing off…” what could we have said in his defense? What a fabulous illustration of the dedication of PGA Tour players? That the golfer had an obligation to RBC? That he couldn’t leave money on the table? That wins on the PGA Tour are hard to come by and children aren’t?

hunter-mahan-5692

Hunter Mahan and his wife, Kandi, who was a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys and a dancer for the Dallas Mavericks. The couple married in 2011.

All of the above, of course, is nonsense. Hunter and Kandi Mahan started a profoundly significant nine month journey together. For the golfer to bail with the end in sight, saying to his wife, “Go ahead without me,” would have been absurd, irresponsible, and disrespectful.

Mahan made the right decision, to be sure. However, it’s problematic that there could be a discussion of him doing otherwise. Hunter Mahan is, by all accounts, a great guy. However, his decision to withdraw isn’t heroic or fabulously self-sacrificing. Rather, it’s simply the right thing to do. And I think Mr. Mahan would be the first to tell you that.

Anyone who chooses to become a father and elects not to be present at the beginning of that fatherhood for any reason is deplorable. This is true whether you drive a bus or drive golf balls.

Mahan’s withdrawal is newsworthy. Indeed, any time the 36-hole leader of a tournament withdraws it’s newsworthy. The idea that there was a decision to be made, or some type of calculus, however, is ridiculous.

Again, I think Mr. Mahan would be the first to tell you that.

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK0

13 Comments

13 Comments

  1. Ronald Montesano

    Aug 3, 2013 at 9:46 am

    Some of these reactions leave me shaking my head and wondering about the future of society vis a vis those who golf. I could go through every negative comment and write a rebuttal, but you don’t want me to, so I won’t.

    HM did the only thing possible. He abandoned a potential tournament victory and the mojo/rhythm that accompany it for a higher calling, his family. If I take two days off work, I don’t lose one million dollars. Moneybags? Doubtful. Grounded and centered despite being wealthy? I think so.

  2. m

    Jul 30, 2013 at 11:20 am

    They should have “tried” at Christmas (and not Thanksgiving)! 😉

  3. benseattle

    Jul 29, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    The article is pointless. Just WHO is advocating that a 36-hole leader stick around and try to win a golf tournament? NOBODY, that’s who. Thus articles like this and Jim Nantz’ pandering make no sense at all. The decision was a no-brainer and it’s made every day by executives who skip a board meeting, a salesman who postpones a business trip and a mechanic who takes a few days off work — all because they want to be there for the birth of their first child. Nobody is begrudging them or criticizing them. So why are we going out of our way to PRAISE them for simply Doing The Right Thing?

    Write about something that matters…….

  4. Bart

    Jul 29, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Interesting comment about the Bus Driver and the Golf Ball Driver, factoring in the enormous pay disparity, I reckon it’d be a much harder call for the Bus Driver irrespective of the morals involved, as for Mr. Mahan? what’s a million bucks between friends?.

  5. Winmac

    Jul 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

    @Desmond is a married man and he’s wise enough to know how to thread the thin line.

  6. DJ

    Jul 28, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Wow…..a husband took off a day of work for the birth of his child….Jim Nantz made it sound like he cured cancer today….this is nothing special, it is called being a normal person with a brain.

  7. ABgolfer2

    Jul 28, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    A multi-millionaire takes the weekend off. Zzzzzzzzzzz. . .

  8. Desmond

    Jul 28, 2013 at 11:45 am

    Let’s see, attractive Dallas Cows Cheerleader and Mavs Dancer versus Hunter “Money Bags” Mahan. I’d say Hunter made the right call if he wants to keep that wife … Guys, if you haven’t learned, Women don’t forget and they DO hold it against you. There’s always another tournament to make a million, but kids? That’s an unknown. And a wife who keeps on giving? Priceless.

    • Golfcomestomind

      Jul 29, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      Reality is sometimes difficult to see. You have vision Desmond.

  9. Bill

    Jul 28, 2013 at 10:12 am

    I realize this isn’t a PC answer, but I could go either way on this..
    Mahan’s wife went into labor early AND it’s his first child, so it’s kind of a no brainer. But these guys are entertainers and it detracts from the “show” when they take off in the middle of a tourney, especially while leading. If the money wasn’t so outrageously high for these guys, you wouldn’t be seeing all this fleeing..But a guy gets a couple top 10 finishes and he’s set for a year or two…Call me insensitive (although arguably Mahan’s situation is a little different), but having babies is no big deal after the first one..

    • Mi

      Jul 28, 2013 at 11:16 am

      You’re right. You’re not insensitive. You’re very rational and are economically sensible. Babies are born every minutes. One can also watch the experience of others on YouTube. I suppose he can have someone videotape the moment while he’s making money for the child support. Now, that’s what we know it as a responsible father.

      • Geoffrey

        Jul 28, 2013 at 4:03 pm

        A conversation about this is hysterical. No one should ever miss the birth of their child. What I find most interesting is the statement that Mahan is a great guy by all accounts. I have actually heard by most that the opposite is true.

  10. Rob

    Jul 28, 2013 at 9:26 am

    It was the 1999 U.S. Open for Mickelson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Golf's Perfect Imperfections

Golf’s Perfect Imperfections: The best drill in golf (throwing the club)

Published

on

If you are struggling with weight shift, clearing your hips, or have issues freeing up your golf swing, then what you want to do is start chucking that golf club. No joke! In this podcast, we will explain how to properly throw the golf club from a safe area and the results will be absolutely transformational.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

Your Reaction?
  • 0
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK3

Continue Reading

Opinion & Analysis

Ways to Win: A New No. 1 – How Justin Thomas overcame a poor putting performance

Published

on

In the final tuneup before the PGA Championship in San Francisco, many of the world’s best teed it up at Memphis’ TPC Southwind in the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational. The final day showcased a stacked leaderboard and plenty of volatility, but in the end, it was Justin Thomas who came from four back to win for the third time this year. This was a quick bounceback after a letdown at The Memorial just a few weeks ago. Winning on the PGA Tour certainly takes stellar play and, typically, a little luck like Thomas’ pulled drive on 15 that skirted off a cart path, over a bridge and into prime position for a late birdie. Had that tee ball found the hazard instead, this article would likely be about Brooks Koepka and his late charge.

Golf is a game of misses and taking advantage of good breaks. That is not to take away from JT’s week of stellar ball striking. He finished the week first in Strokes Gained Tee-to-Green and second in Strokes Gained Approach. That’s no surprise for the new number one in the world. What is surprising is how poorly Thomas putted throughout the week. It is extremely rare for a PGA Tour winner to lose strokes to the field with the putter, but that is exactly what Thomas did.

In Ways to Win, it is rare that we highlight Short Game as a differentiating factor for winners. That is typically because to excel in the short game, one has to miss quite a few greens. When you miss greens, it’s hard to score. However, Justin Thomas was able to consistently get himself out of difficult situations, minimize damage, and turn bogeys into pars throughout his four rounds.

If you want to be an elite player, you can’t do it with your short game alone. It sure comes in handy on those off days, though. Just how good was Thomas’ short game? He finished fourth for the week in Strokes Gained Around the Green and got up and down inside 75 yards more than 80 percent of the time (including several clutch up and downs late on Sunday). His touch was particularly crucial, given that his putter wasn’t really cooperating.

Again, it is very rare for a PGA Tour winner to lose strokes with the flatstick. Typically the winner is the best putter out of the best ball strikers, but not so this week. Thomas only three-putted twice for the week. However, he lost strokes to the field from three out of nine distance buckets that we analyzed using V1 Game’s putting breakdown.

In four other buckets, he was almost “net zero” in strokes gained with the putter. He only gained strokes with the putter from inside six feet. Making short putts is certainly a big key to golfing success. That is why short misses are highlighted in V1 Game’s post-round analysis: missing short putts is a quick way to compound errors. Thomas is not an elite putter by any means, but he is typically solid in the clutch.

V1 Game makes it easy to keep track of personal bests and track progress in a tournament. Any stat that the PGA Tour gives can be recreated with V1 Game. Here are some quick stats for Thomas’ week using V1 Game’s Personal Bests feature:

Total Score: 267
Best Round: 65
Worst Round: 70
Longest Drive: 347 yds
Longest Holeout: 28 ft
Most consecutive holes without a bogey: 24
Scrambling Streak: 9 in a row
Holes without a 3 putt: 20
Most birdies in a round: 6

Thomas certainly played well when it mattered, resisting the urge to look at a scoreboard throughout the final round and focusing on the job at hand. His patience paid off with his 13th victory in a young career. Short game play is a fantastic equalizer and a great tool for any golfer’s bag. However, Thomas really separates himself with ball striking.

The best way to improve your short game is to miss fewer greens, like JT. For most amateurs, short game practice should focus on eliminating mistakes, such as “two-chips” when you do miss the green. Once you can consistently get on the green and have a putt to get up and down, focus should shift to the long game. Tee to Green play is where the game’s best separate themselves from the weekend warriors.

V1 Game can help you with each of these items.

Your Reaction?
  • 12
  • LEGIT4
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK1

Continue Reading

On Spec

On Spec: Talking Kirkland wedge, LPGA Tour, and teased irons from TaylorMade & Mizuno

Published

on

In this episode of On Spec, host Ryan talks about the recently discovered Kirkland Signature wedges on the USGA Conforming list, as well as what recently spotted TaylorMade and Mizuno irons may have in store
Also with the LPGA Tour back in action, Ryan also discussed why it is a good idea to check out how LPGA players gap their bags compared to players on the PGA Tour.

Check out the full podcast on SoundCloud below, or click here to listen on iTunes or here to listen on Spotify.

Want more GolfWRX Radio? Check out our other shows (and the full archives for this show) below. 

Your Reaction?
  • 1
  • LEGIT0
  • WOW0
  • LOL0
  • IDHT0
  • FLOP0
  • OB0
  • SHANK2

Continue Reading

WITB

Facebook

Trending