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19th Hole

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

The Florida Mid-Am final ended with a player getting punched in the face. Or did it?

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On paper–that is the Florida State Golf Association’s paper, not the police report–Marc Dull won the Florida Mid-Am when his opponent, Jeff Golden, withdrew.

Dull had just birdied the 16th hole to pull even, when the skies opened.

A FSGA statement on the final match indicates what happened next

“With the players on 17, play was halted by heavy rains. When conditions permitted play to continue nearly two and a half hours later, Golden was unable to continue due to an unfortunate injury and defaulted the match.”

Indeed, the statement is technically correct. However, it hardly tells the full story…and what a story it is.

Golf Channel’s Ryan Lavner did some digging into the “unfortunate injury,” and what he found was certainly surprising.

Per a Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office police report, Jeff Golden (the man who suffered the “unfortunate injury”) called police. Golden claimed he was assaulted in the Coral Creek Club parking lot by his opponent’s caddie. According to Golden, Dull’s caddie, Brandon Hibbs, punched him in the face.

Why in the world did this happen? Apparently, during the ninth hole of the Golden-Dull match, Golden asked Dull about the condition of one of the holes, inquiring as to whether the cup was damaged.

“Don’t worry about it,” Hibbs (again, this is Dull’s caddie) told Golden. “If you’re going to make it, you’re going around it.”

Following this, Golden told a rules official that he believed the caddie’s statement constituted advice (to Golden, who was not his player). Apparently/incredibly, the rules official agreed, and Golden was awarded the hole.

Hibbs, presumably furious, left the course at this point and returned to the clubhouse.

During the previously mentioned rain delay that interrupted the match, Golden claims Hibbs approached him in the parking lot while he was at his car getting additional clothing.

Per the report, Hibbs “approached him, apologized, then punched him on the left side of the face.”

Now this story would be ridiculous enough if these facts were agreed upon. However, Hibbs says the incident never happened. He claims after leaving the course, he was in the clubhouse during the entire rain delay.

Nobody saw the alleged attack, and there were no surveillance cameras trained on the parking lot. Further, Golden’s face was not swollen or cut and Hibbs’ hands showed no evidence that he’d punched anything.

Golden maintains he was punched and that his shirt had blood on it, also claiming that he suffered “concussion symptoms.”

Golden declined to press charges, and both Hibbs and Dull maintain nothing happened.

Per Ryan Lavner, FSGA executive director Jim Demick said that Golden “didn’t want to play anymore.”

“Regrettably, the golf course was very playable and Jeff understood that he needed to resume the match. I think he was just ready to go,” adding police “found absolutely no evidence of an assault.”

What do you make of this, GolfWRX members? The scales of justice don’t seem to be tipped in Mr. Golden’s favor, do they?

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19th Hole

Ricky Barnes DQd at the Byron Nelson

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Ricky Barnes took a trip to Dairy Queen at the AT&T Byron Nelson. Barnes was disqualified following his second round 1-over 72. He signed for a three at the par-4 sixth hole, when in fact he had made a par.

Ultimately, he won’t rue his impromptu trip to get a Blizzard: Barnes was 3 over and was in no danger of making the cut.

Because this is the world we live in, Barnes apparently found out about the DQ via LuckyTrout Golf Pool on Twitter.

Of course, no scorecard error will ever top “What a stupid I am,” Roberto De Vicenzo signing for 66 when he shot 65, handing the green jacket to Bob Goalby at the 1968 Masters. Such an unfortunate legacy for a man who won hundreds of tournaments around the world.

Also unfortunate: Ricky Barnes is on the way for being remembered as a man who never lived up to the promise he showed at that same tournament, The Masters, as an amateur.

Let’s hope that changes.

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19th Hole

WATCH/LOOK AWAY: Jordan Spieth misses a 15-inch putt

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Aren’t you glad there isn’t video of all the 15-inch putts you’ve missed? I certainly am.

Unfortunately for Jordan Spieth, his failed attempt from little more than a foot at the Byron Nelson was captured on video, and it will exist on the internet for all eternity.

Spieth, who has struggled with the flatstick lately, stood over a short par putt at the par-4 15th hole, and well…

Spieth is currently 183rd on the PGA Tour this season in strokes gained: putting, losing .412 strokes per round to the field on the greens.

But at least he hit the hole, right?

Here’s the offending weapon: Spieth’s trusty Scotty Cameron 009.

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19th Hole

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