June 17, 2013

No sympathy for Phil Mickelson

First of all, I just have to "love" whichever golf scribe talked about the "working class people" at Merion for the US Open were supporting the non-working class Phil Mickelson.

First, Ardmore, Pa., home of Merion Golf Club, ain't close to "working class."

Second, "working class" people don't normally have the ducats for US Open tickets. (The whole issue of live sports tickets outpacing the rate of inflation is a separate topic all its own.)

Realistically, even a Jason Duffner isn't of "working class" background. That's part of why John Daly had his appeal for so many, though. Not for me; blow your life like that, you lose sympathy, too. It's too bad there's no Lee Trevino. Notah Begay, if he'd win a few, would have a chance at that.

Second of all, the dude's got money to fly back on a fractionally-owned private jet or whatever for his daughter's eighth-grade graduation. Yes, good family man, but back to the money. (The whole subject of proliferating graduations at different elementary grades is also a topic all its own.)

Third, Phil whiffed.

It began on 18 on Saturday. He should have hit his 2-wood, or whatever his longest non-driver wood in his bag was, off the tee and not that 4-wood. That leaves him an iron to the green, biting on the green more. He gains an extra stroke there, potentially. I assume that, with my scenario, he gets a par instead of his actual bogey.

Then, "Mr. Wedges" blows two wedge shots, the first badly at 13 on Sunday.

He caps it by criticizing the USGA for its length on one of the long par 3s when he knew the day might be windy, with the wind in his face on that hole, and he chose not to play driver Sunday, but rather, five wedges.

I actually was kind of liking the possibility of him winning, just to see if, with the career Grand Slam then within his sights, he'd change how he approached the British Open.

And, while I like to watch at least the four majors, I actually relate less to golfers as people than I do in most sports. They're definitely more conservative than the national average, among other things. The only blessing is that most of them don't claim Jeebus wanted them to win, when they do.

A couple of other thoughts.

Yeah, I thought Merion would be easier than it was, but I certainly wasn't alone.

That said, I did not join the majority of golf's punditocracy in saying this course shaped up well for Tiger Woods. Frankly, I expected him to have as much, if not more, problems with finding the rough as he actually did.

As for why Phil can't win at the US Open? Cracking wise about his wedge play aside, it's his putter, in my opinion. Yeah, he's won three times at Augusta, but the Masters, while it welcomes a good putter, doesn't require it, especially if one has a good short game.

I just don't think Phil is the greatest putter, or the greatest reader of greens in general.

Looking ahead to Muirfield and the British?

First, I don't expect Tiger to do well there, either. So, Tigerholics, too bad.

I'm going to go out on a limb. The first two majors have featured "nice guy" winners.

So, if you'll allow me two options, I'll take either Lee Westwood or Luke Donald there.

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