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19th Hole

Charles Howell III candidly discusses his struggles to win on the PGA Tour

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Charles Howell III turned pro in 2000. Now 38, he’s won just twice on the PGA Tour and has never finished inside the top 10 in a major championship. You can bet this frustrates Howell more than it does any of his critics or detractors.

In many people’s minds, Howell has underachieved. A Haskins Award winner at Oklahoma State, individual NCAA Champion in 2000, prodigiously gifted with the golf club and able to generate massive amounts of clubhead speed, Howell was the 2001 PGA Tour Rookie of the Year. A winner at the Michelob Championship in 2002, he’s only won once since.

During his Gear Dive podcast, Johnny Wunder asked Howell about this, in a roundabout way, and he was refreshingly candid and remarkably insightful in his response.

Johnny said he thought Howell would have 15-20 wins at this point in his career, then asked, “Looking back, are there any adjustments…to your game, or how you approached your game that you would change?”

Howell replied

“I would have thought at this point in time that I would have had more wins as well. A thing I’ve struggled with is when I’ve gotten in contention to win a golf tournament, be it through 36 holes or 54 holes…I at times struggle with trying too hard to win, where it means a little bit too much at times. I wish I had the ability to play as if it didn’t matter or let the golf just be what it is and let the wins come when they may.”

“That’s one thing…as of late…I’ve played better golf because I have a better understanding of the variance of the game. I have a better understanding that no amount of work or practice…is going to guarantee success. Now, it may set the odds in your favor, but there’s still going to be variance out there. You’re going to have the odd shots here or there that aren’t good and the odd results that aren’t good. I’ve become a lot better at accepting that. I wish I would have been that way more when I was young. It’s not that I wasn’t told that, it’s just that I didn’t truly understand it…”

“I’ve always been a guy that practices a lot and does all that I can do to try to get better, and maybe at times I’ve overworked myself…I also at times maybe gone too far down the road on bad swing ideas, as opposed to abandoning them sooner. I’d go down ‘em until…the ship sank, if you will…But listen, we all live and learn.”

CH3’s honesty is remarkable, really, in the world of professional sports. He didn’t have to admit to struggling to seal the deal or stubborn commitment to swing changes that aren’t working, but his frankness only serves to make us root for him even harder.

You can listen to Johnny’s full talk with Charles Howell III here.

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9 Comments

9 Comments

  1. david

    Jun 4, 2018 at 8:54 am

    Charles I’ve always rooted for you cause you seem like a good guy, (except when you were in a playoff with Weir, since I’m Canadian) but I don’t understand how after all these years you didn’t overcome this mental component lacking in your game?

  2. Walt Pendleton

    Jun 1, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    I’m of the mind set that anyone that can play the game of scoring like Charles can and has a proven record of playing consistently i.e. Joe Durant, then it really comes down to putting well Nside10 feet. John Wooden said, “Practice like you play Charlie and you’ll play like you Practice!” I can help you the next time you’re home here in Augusta to see the folks! My contact info and info on my putting methodology can be found @ http://www.Nside10.com. Lets Do This buddy! Mr. Walt @ Jones Creek Golf Club in Evans

  3. Jimmy Coco Pop

    Jun 1, 2018 at 4:23 pm

    Who is Charles Howell III? Does play on the PGA Tour?

  4. Timothy Brennan

    Jun 1, 2018 at 1:34 am

    I’m sure he sleeps ok at night. All the bills are paid.

  5. Wiger Toods

    May 31, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Grinder.

  6. TexasSnowman

    May 31, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    From what I’ve observed, CH III has always been very open, and yes a true class act. I think he is a born-again Christian – very grounded and secure in his life and soul; regardless of what happens on the golf course — even though he is totally a golf nut. I always pull for him when he does get into contention.

  7. Joe D

    May 31, 2018 at 4:22 pm

    He’s earned more than $1m each year as a pro, sometimes more than $2m. He might be disappointed but at the end of the day, not a bad way to make a living!

  8. David Bateman

    May 31, 2018 at 3:16 pm

    Not like his career has been a failure… hes top 30 on the all time money list I believe.

  9. Bob

    May 31, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    He is really a class act, hope he wins soon!

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19th Hole

Baba Booey for Life! Does this GolfWRX member have a point?

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Oh boy, here’s a heater. On the subject of Baba Booey-ing at golf tournaments, WRX member Stickner started a thread, writing

“For those that think nois.e while a player hits shouldn’t be allowed, you must also believe that fans should NEVER make noise.

“A player with a large gallery jars a 70 footer for eagle to take the lead. The crowd erupts! This should not be allowed.

“Why you ask? There are other golfers well within earshot of the noise. This could disrupt their game. Why does the nearby player you can see deserve the “courtesy of quiet” but the one 400 yards away that you can’t see doesn’t?

“We have all seen players back off because the crowd erupted on another hole. What happens when that eruption happens in the backswing right before the player is about to transition to the downswing? Those boisterous hooligans need to keep their traps shut as this is a gentleman’s game right?

“Being quiet while someone plays golf is silly. My guess is that the elitist snobs that played this game a century ago needed a scapegoat when hitting a bad shot and noise became their scapegoat.”

He wraps his rant in, well, the most appropriate way possible: “BABA BOOEY FOR LIFE B&^%HES!”

Now, this flies in the face of the “isolated noise during the golf swing is extremely distracting” argument that is popularly leveled in defense of silence. But let’s see what GolfWRX members think about Stickner’s comments.

MtlJeff says

“While i am not in favor of intentionally yelling during a swing, your point is an interesting one. I hadn’t really thought of it like that, the loud roars often get overlooked when it comes to the “distracting noise” narrative.”

Eagle1997 says

“Planned vs. Spontaneous. Jabroni Factor only applies to one.”

Blackngold_blood says

“I am fine with cheering for a great shot or groaning for a bad one. My problem with…bababooey and mashed potatoes is the fact that it has nothing to do with GOLF! All the person is doing is screaming “Look at me, I need attention!” Or how about the even less classy “How’s your ankle” that was shouted at Finau after he hit his last approach to 18. I get the point that these are professional athletes and golf is becoming more mainstream but the immature comments need to stop.”

Naptime says

“Background noises and distant noises can be perceived as while noise. If you play next to a highway you adapt and become less aware of it. But if a trucker blasts a horn in your swing it would startle and at least for me would probably result in a hot grounder to third base. Yelling Baba Booey or any other lame comment after a swing doesn’t startle the swinger, just make the shouter sound like a doofus who can’t hold his alcohol.”

What do you think, GolfWRX members? Does Stickner have a point? Should the rules of the wider sports world apply to golf, or does golf fandom require a particular understanding of when to be quiet and when to cheer?

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19th Hole

Both Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth laughed at Phil Mickelson’s 13th hole antics

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The image of 48-year-old Phil Mickelson jogging after his golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock, Saturday, was bizarrely comedic. Even if you condemn Mickelson in the strongest of terms, taken on its face, the scene is a silly one.

That said, it’s interesting that two of the biggest names in the game had the same response: laughter.

Speaking before the Travelers Championship, Rory McIlroy said

“I saw what happened…and honestly, I laughed. I felt there was a massive overreaction to it. Knowing Phil, he knew what he was doing, and as a player who has been in that head space before in a tournament, I can see it happening.”

Jordan Spieth voiced similar sentiments earlier in the week

“I laughed, I thought it was really funny…Phil knows the rules…There was a chance it was going to go back behind the bunker and he’s got to chip back, or he was going to play off the green anyways, so he was potentially saving himself a shot. So if that was the intent, then what’s the harm in that? He’s playing the best score he can.”

There are a couple of widely different perspectives (and plenty in-between) here.

One: Thank goodness Spieth and McIlroy aren’t uptight dogmatists when it comes to the rules, and they appreciate the humor in an absurd situation.

Two: Spieth and McIlroy, as significant figures in the game, ought to stand up for the integrity of the rules of golf, condemning Mickelson’s behavior…and perhaps question whether disqualification was in order (as Jason Day and other pros have done).

Which camp you find yourself in likely aligns with how you view the Mickelson incident: A humorous and well-deserved middle finger to the USGA or a reprehensible act for which Mickelson was not sufficiently punished?

Beneath Mickelson’s behavior and the responses of McIlroy and Spieth is the ever-growing rift between the USGA and PGA Tour players–as well as a level of annoyance with/disdain for the organization’s Rules of Golf.

Remembering how Mickelson spearheaded the overhaul of the PGA of America-run U.S. Ryder Cup team and its procedures when he called out captain Tom Watson in 2014, it was the same sort of situation: “Is this calculated, or has he lost his mind?” everyone seemed to be asking.

In the wake of those remarks, players rallied behind the veteran, and he assumed a leadership position in the reform effort. Whether we see something similar with respect to the pros and the USGA/U.S. Open, it certainly looks like the political will for change is there among Tour players, as McIlroy and Spieth’s remarks suggest.

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19th Hole

In other Phil Mickelson news…robot-delivered food

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Not an Onion story; real thing that is actually happening here. Phil Mickelson and his manager/business partner, Steve Loy have signed a deal with Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc. and its flagship subsidiary, Reis & Irvy’s, to open 30 yogurt locations in San Diego.

We’ll just quote directly from the press release, because, who can paraphrase language like this?

“Reis & Irvy’s-branded signature robot characters of the same name can dispense servings of frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelatos and sorbet topped with a selection of six delicious toppings in under 60 seconds. With self-checkout touch screen ordering and payment options, video animation, music and delicious frozen dessert provided exclusively by Dannon, robot vendors meet consumer demand for convenience, entertainment and a superior quality product.”

Mickelson and Loy are reportedly keen to challenge the status quo in food retail.

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be part of such transformative industry change,” says Mickelson. “I’ve pushed boundaries my whole career and that mindset carries over into the business world. The energy and passion from the Generation NEXT team to both deliver a quality product and disrupt food retail is exciting.”

Reis & Irvy’s has awarded $130 million in franchise and licensing contracts since its launch in 2016.

Dress shirts on course. Robo froyo. What will Phil do next, indeed.

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19th Hole

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