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Phil Mickelson’s pursuit of average driving, Phil being Phil, and plenty more Mickelsonia from the wires today

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Phil Mickelson. We tend to forget the left-hander remains a divisive, swashbuckling figure as he settles into the home stretch of his PGA Tour career. We pretend that his outrageous risk-taking-masquerading-as-cool-calculation approach to the game is somehow something other than an affront to the plodding, conservative way the game was “meant to be played.” Phil Mickelson: Even those who can’t stand him have to be deeply intrigued by Mickelson the Man and Mickelson the Golfer. How can you not be fascinated? How can you not be frustrated?

The 47-year-old begins his season at the CareerBuilder Challenge this week seeking his first victory since the 2013 British Open. Thus, it’s not surprising to see a rash of Mickelson-related pieces populating the golf newswire today.

Here are a few morsels. Per Cameron Morfit of PGATour.com, Mickelson is pursuing “average” driving this year. The left-hander has historically struggled with the big stick and placed outside the top 100 in strokes gained: off-the-tee last season,

Here’s what Mickelson said about his pursuit of mediocrity off the tee.

“What’s funny is when you’re good at something, chipping, putting, wedges, distance control, all that stuff, it’s easy. It takes me a day or two of practice to get back to kind of an elite level. But to become just an average driver when you’re not good at it, it takes a lot of work. And that’s what I’ve been spending the last few years on, really trying to figure it out. Get the swing plane right, get shallower into the ball, get the weighting of the driver right. The whole mental approach to the driver. Just to get everything dialed in just to be average.”

“I just don’t want to give away shots off the tee. I don’t need to gain shots off the tee; I’ll gain them elsewhere. I feel like the short putting has been addressed. I feel like, and believe, that I’ve had a bit of a breakthrough with the driver. And if that happens, I think 2018 could be a remarkable year, a year where I can win multiple times.”

Golfweek’s Brentley Romine has some interesting remarks from Jon Rahm. Rahm, of course, was coached by Phil’s brother Tim at Arizona State–a job Mickelson left to manage Rahm. Tim Mickelson then ditched that gig to loop for his brother after Bones Mackay dropped his bag to pick up a microphone. In other words, Rahm has seen the pair up close plenty of times, and had this to say about the difference between his approach to the game and that of the variable-obsessed Mickelson

“It’s really fun to hear how they (Phil and Tim) talk to each other, because Tim being my coach at ASU, I don’t need much – “Okay, it’s like 120 (yards), this shot, right?’” Rahm said. “And you have Phil, it’s like, ‘Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like 1 mph wind sideways, it’s going to affect it 1 yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They’re thinking (that) and I’m like, ‘I’m lost.

“It’s funny, he gets to the green and then it’s the same thing. He’s very detail-oriented. He gets there and I’m like, ‘Oh, it’s a foot right.’ And he goes, okay, he reads the green, like, ‘Oh, it’s 1.8 degrees of slope here and this and that. And I’m there listening and I’m like, ‘Man, I hope we’re never paired together for anything because I can’t think like this.’ I would not be able to play golf like that. For me to listen to all that is really fun. And then you hear me and Adam talk, ‘180, a little breeze into, okay, hard six.’ … And it’s just opposite extremes completely.”

Different strokes before making strokes.

Then, there is this piece from Shane Ryan exploring the nature of Phil Mickelson, if you will, and suggesting he could impress this year. Of course, this is a wholly inadequate description of a piece for Golfworld you absolutely must read.

 

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3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. CB

    Jan 19, 2018 at 3:28 am

    If the likes of even Phil, the spokesperson for Callaway, can’t hit fairways with those drivers, how can the consumer expect to? That’s why Taylormade is #1

  2. dbleAGLE

    Jan 18, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    When I walk around the putt to see it from all angles by Buddies accuse me of “Overthinking” it…To see some real “thinking” they need a day on the course with Phil it seems.

    • Hifade

      Jan 19, 2018 at 10:36 am

      Number 1 at what…….patent infringement?

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19th Hole

Retired pro cricketer blasts Kevin Na for slow play. Is he right?

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A tweet and follow-up video from a retired English cricketer are making the rounds in the golf social mediaverse and snackable content realms. And while most agree that it’s not a good look for golf when Kevin Pietersen, who has more than three million Twitter followers, mocks Kevin Na for taking a small eternity over a putt and slow play is an issue on Tour, Pietersen may not exactly be hitting the mark.

Anyway, here’s the tweet and succeeding tutorial.

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Surely it’s hyperbole to call the putt a “tap-in,” no? But given the length of the putt, how excessive is the amount of time Na took?

And for the millionth time, expecting players like Kevin Na (who prefers a…deliberate pace) to play quickly because it’s courteous, isn’t going to happen. Pro golf is the man’s job, and he clearly believes he does it best when he does it slowly with great deliberation. Expecting Na, or any other player of a similar mindset, to change without outside influence (slow play penalties) is unrealistic.

In other words, Pietersen ought to include @PGATour in his tweet as well.

Update: Na posted this defense/explanation on Instagram. 

 

 

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19th Hole

On the range at PGA National: Gerald is missing, a major winner throws down the WITB gauntlet, Artisan sighting

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GolfWRX is live this week from the 2018 Honda Classic at PGA National’s Champion course in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. And just like Monday, there was plenty of visual interest Tuesday. We got WITB looks at Sergio Garcia, Harold Varner III, and Ian Poulter, in addition to others, as well as a look at a new Toulon offering. Two galleries of general range photos as well, for your viewing pleasure.

Here are a few of the best shots.

We’ll start with Sergio Garcia, who is gaming some absolutely savage stuff since signing with Callaway. Apex MB irons with the Sergio Garcia logo and a chrome finish that’d make an exhaust tip blush.

Garcia is also gaming this Toulon Azalea putter, appropriately.

Also in the Toulon department, Cody Gribble’s Toulon San Diego is, classy. It…stays classy, if you will.

Interestingly, we spotted Gribble with this Nike Engage wedge. And is that an Artisan Golf stamp? Hmm…

A quick scan of Harold Varner III’s bag revealed Gerald, Varner’s iconic puppet-like headcover to be absent. Upon closer inspection, Gerald is embroidered on HV3’s putter cover. Does this mean Gerald the headcover is no more? Say it ain’t so!

The only Ben Hogan staff bag on Tour. And a beauty it is! J.J. Henry with a set o’ Hogan PTx irons.

We spotted Ian Poulter with some Superspeed Golf sticks and a…baseball bat? That can’t be right. What is that thing? At his side in case Ted Bishop comes around?

Poulter, one of the most frequent flatstick flippers, also looks to be a new admirer of the work of Rife Guerin, as he was testing both an Evnroll and Rife Antigua putter. We’ll see what he puts in play.

Oh boy, the putter buffet was fully stocked at PGA National Tuesday. Golden Corral has nothing on these offerings.

A helping of Odyssey…

Bettinardi…

SeeMore…

Toulon…

…makes you want to fill up a plate and come back for seconds.

Check our full spread of photos from Tuesday at PGA National below.

Tuesday’s Photos

Special Galleries

Discussion: See what GolfWRX members are saying about the photos in our forums.

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19th Hole

11 insights from Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington’s wide-ranging chat

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Paul Kimmage of the Irish Independent got Rory McIlroy and Padraig Harrington to sit down for an extensive and wide-ranging interview. That alone is an achievement.

McIlroy and Harrington, the greatest golfers in recent memory from Northern Ireland and Ireland respectively, have never been the best of friends. That isn’t to say they’ve been adversaries, they’ve just never been particularly chummy.

Both men, accomplished and insightful, are great interviews individually. Together, however, the transcript is even better. Harrington, for example, can probe McIlroy in a way a reporter can’t. And McIlroy is compelled to answer the elder statesman when he calls him on the carpet for trying to act like Tiger Woods in press conferences, for example.

Here are a few of the more insightful portions of Kimmage’s Q&A.

Harrington and McIlroy prepare for tournaments in very different ways

PH: And we have a very different way of preparing for tournaments. He likes to play early, I like to play late. I’m not prepared to do his thing, he’s not prepared to do mine…
RM: Yeah, what’s the best way to prepare?
PH: I like a good sleep and to play later.
RM: I’m up at five every morning.
PH: I can think of nothing worse than playing practice rounds when you do.

McIlroy’s tournament week is structured with little socializing outside his inner circle

RM: Yeah, for example, I’ve rented a house this week and I have a chef and everything revolves around that house. I get back (after playing) and there’s six people in the house and that’s my week: I don’t see anyone else; I don’t want to see anyone else.

See above

PK: What about you, Rory? Any player you’re close to?
(Long pause)
PK: I’ll take that as a no.
RM: Not particularly, but I think that’s more to do with the stage I’m at in my life. If Erica wasn’t with me, I’d reach out to some people or play a practice round or whatever. But I wouldn’t be particularly . . .

They keep their trophies in very different places

Where do you keep your Claret Jug?
RM: (Nods to Pádraig) Ssss . . . plural.
PH: Sitting on the breakfast bar in the kitchen at home.
RM: I don’t have it on display. I have a trophy room, but if you were in the house you would never find it.

Three majors would be a failure for Rory, both agree

PH: I’m at a stage where I’ve done what I need to do. You’re at a stage, Rory, where you’re still trying to get more . . . actually, I’m going to say this, and it’s probably not what you want to hear, but four Majors for you is a failure.
RM: I 100 per cent agree.
PH: Three Majors for me was an over-achievement. I love what I’m doing and I’d like to win another one, but I’m well aware that I’m not going to change my legacy at this stage. Whereas you’re still on that path.

McIlroy admits he doesn’t have Harrington’s “mental stamina”

RM: (smiles) Yeah, he’s the ultimate . . . at 46, I’ll probably be at the point where I accept what I have – he does not accept it. There’s always something to work on; there’s always something to get better at. That’s where we differ as well; I don’t know if I have the mental capacity or the mental stamina to get up every morning and do that.
PK: You don’t?
RM: Yeah, to practise like that. The way he goes about it is too mentally draining for me.

Self belief or the lack thereof determines the quality of Rory’s play

PH: There are two things that stand out with Rory; the first thing kills him but it also makes him and that’s his belief: when it’s there it’s phenomenal, and when it’s not there it hurts him. When he has it he sends people running scared, and when he doesn’t have it he fades – you can see that from the sideline.

Harrington thinks McIlroy often comes off as cold in interviews

PH: I don’t think I’ve ever been in your company where I haven’t walked away thinking you’re a nicer guy than I thought beforehand. And yet, media-wise, you can sound quite cold and clinical at times and I think: ‘He’s trying to be Tiger Woods.’ Because you present this . . . wall.

When Rory and Tiger played in November, Tiger insisted Rory bring his dad

RM: On the night before we played (in November) Tiger sent me a text: ‘Why don’t you bring your dad along?’. Dad wasn’t sure. “I’ll leave you two to it,” he said. “I don’t want to get in the way.’ So I sent him a text: ‘No, I don’t think he is going to make it.’ He texted me back: ‘Oh, come on! When he is ever going to get a chance to play with two former number ones?’

McIlroy thinks Spieth is golf’s most underrated player

RM: I had a chat with Brandt Snedeker last night and we both said it: “Jordan Spieth is the most underrated player in the game.” When you look at what he’s done, and what he’s achieved, but all you hear are negatives.

Neither seem to be fans of Brandel Chamblee

PH: They can’t see the X factor. Dustin Johnson hit a drive a few weeks ago (in Hawaii) and one of the main TV commentators said it was the greatest shot ever hit.
PK: Brandel Chamblee.
PH: Talk about hyperbole.
RM: It was nonsense.

All this is but the tip of the iceberg of a frank, insightful, and often funny exchange. Check out the full transcript of the sit down here.

 

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