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19th Hole

Justin Thomas gifts caddie Bones the major winning memento he never got from Phil Mickelson



When Jim “Bones” Mackay left the booth (NBC Sports and Golf Channel) to caddie for Justin Thomas in 2021, it was for moments like Sunday’s final round of the PGA Championship.

After Thomas’ disappointing 74 on Saturday, he found himself seven shots back of Mito Pereira. It was Mackay who provided the necessary pep talk to get Thomas refocused on winning the tournament before his Sunday charge.

“I’m fully confident in saying that I wouldn’t be standing here if he didn’t give me that, wasn’t necessarily a speech, but a talk, if you will,” Thomas said. “I just needed to let some steam out. I didn’t need to bring my frustration and anger home with me. I didn’t need to leave the golf course in a negative frame of mind. I just went down, ‘I played pretty well yesterday for shooting 4-over, and I felt like I’d played terrible.’ And he was just like, ‘Dude, you’ve got to be stop being so hard on yourself. You’re in contention every single week we’re playing.”

Bones explained how important it was for Thomas to remain positive and not expect perfection.

Bones continued: “It’s a major championship. You don’t have to be perfect. Just don’t be hard on yourself. Just kind of let stuff happen, and everything is trending in the right direction. So just keep staying positive so that good stuff can happen.”

“I left here in an awesome frame of mind,” Thomas said.

After all was said and done, Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee speculated via Twitter whether Mackay may be the greatest caddie of all time.

“Bones did an unbelievable job of keeping me in the moment,” Thomas said.

The win with Justin Thomas was Mackay’s sixth major championship victory as a caddie. However, this was the first time he was able to take a trophy with him.

Traditionally, the winning flag goes to the caddie as a trophy and token of appreciation. When Bones was on Mickelson’s bag, he hadn’t had an opportunity to receive one.

Mickelson had a tradition where he gave his winning flag from 18 to his grandfather, a former Pebble Beach caddie. The flags would be hung on his kitchen wall, with Mickelson’s first major flag from the 2004 Masters going there, four months after his death.

According to Alan Shipnuck, as detailed in his new book, “Phil: The Rip-Roaring (and unauthorized) Biography of Golf’s Most Colorful Superstar,” those close to Mackay took that as a sign of disrespect.

“Mackay understood and respected that gesture, but 19 more Tour victories would follow, including four majors and he never got to keep a single flag,” Shipnuck wrote.

“That’s a giant f*** you to a caddie,” Shipnuck quotes a person very close to Mackay. “When Phil wins the Masters, he gets the green jacket, the trophy, the big check, all the glory. He had to take the flags, too? For Phil not to follow the tradition was hugely disrespectful.”

After Mackay and Mickelson split in 2017, Phil finally sent the flags to Bones.

“But Phil autographed them in comically large letters, which Mackay felt disfigured the keepsakes,” Shipnuck reported and noted that Bones never displayed them on the walls of his home.

It seems Mackay is finally going to get to put one of those flags up in his home, and it’s certainly well deserved.

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19th Hole

The 2023 PIP results are in…and one PGA Tour pro is not happy



The PGA Tour’s 2023 Player Impact Program results have been published, and there is a new man on top taking home the $15 million first prize.

On Wednesday evening, PGA Tour pro Nate Lashley took to Instagram to share a memo sent to players by executive vice president and chief player officer Jason Gore.

The memo shows that Rory McIlroy is this year’s big winner, taking the top spot and pushing last year’s victor, Tiger Woods, down to second place.

Jon Rahm, Jordan Spieth and Scottie Scheffler make up the rest of the top five, with all three pocketing over $5 million from the program.


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A post shared by Nathan Lashley (@nlashley001)

While posting the image of the memo, Lashley sounded off on social media, declaring that the world’s top player’s receiving the big bonuses is “an absolute kick in the face to the rest of the PGA Tour players.”

The 2024 program will see $50 million paid to the top 10 players, as opposed to this year’s $100 million to the top 20 players.

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19th Hole

Phil Mickelson slams ‘pathetic human’ Alan Shipnuck over journalist’s shock claim involving Jon Rahm



On Wednesday, rumors of PGA Tour superstar Jon Rahm joining LIV Golf once again resurfaced.

The rumors stemmed from a Spanish speaking podcast called “Ten Golf” who indicated that talk of Rahm joining LIV was rampant at last week’s DP World Tour Championship.

Rahm has long been discussed as a potential fit for LIV due to his relationship with Sergio Garcia and his desire to play global golf.

The afternoon saw X ablaze with speculation, and Alan Shipnuck, who’s the author of “LIV and Let Die”, shared that he’d been told Phil Mickelson was telling people that Rahm to LIV was a “done deal”.

“In recent days Phil has been telling folks that Rahm signing with LIV is a done deal. (They share the same agent.) But we all know Mickelson is a relentless salesman/bullshit artist, so take that for what it’s worth.”

It would make sense that Mickelson might be in the loop regarding Rahm’s future. Phil’s brother Tim used to be Rahm’s coach at Arizona State University and was also his agent early in his career.

However, Phil responded to a tweet from Nuclr Golf saying that Shipnuck is the “worst liar” and a “pathetic human.”

“This isn’t true and I don’t know anything. I don’t want to know anything and I haven’t said anything. Alan is the worst liar and a pathetic human.”

Shipnuck posted a response, although it wasn’t directly in reply to Mickelson because he’s “blocked” by the six-time major champion.

Despite the fact that both the PGA Tour and LIV Golf have entered a brief off-season, the drama doesn’t show any signs of taking time off.

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19th Hole

The reason behind Azinger’s NBC exit as his replacement for Hero World Challenge is revealed



Over the weekend, it was announced that NBC has not renewed the contract for lead golf analyst, Paul Azinger.

“With the golf and media landscapes now in a more challenging environment, Azinger and NBC will part ways as their current contract ends,” said Azinger’s agent Rich Braund in a statement.

Sports Illustrated learned that the negotiations reportedly fell apart between Azinger and NBC when the one-year extension Azinger received was for less than he was making previously.

NBC also released a statement about Azinger.

“We want to thank Paul for his work with us over the last five years. His insights, work ethic and relationships in the golf industry are well known, and we appreciate what he brought to our team. We wish Paul the best in his future endeavors.”

On Monday, Sports Illustrated shared that Azinger will be replaced at next week’s Hero World Challenge by Curt Byrum. Byrum is a former PGA Tour player and has been an analyst for the Golf Channel since 2001.

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