by Jeff Skinner
Phil Mickelson isn’t afraid to mix things up a bit. Whether it’s his golf bag or The President’s Cup or doing battle with Rees Jones or the USGA, Phil takes his best shot and sticks out his chin. This is the guy that tries out more clubs than a hacker at a Demo Day. Last week he told Fred Couples he better pick Keegan Bradley. At The PGA Championship he called out Rees Jones and remember when he played those old Ping wedges just to get under the USGA’s skin? This should be an interesting week if he plays that belly putter all four rounds. If Phil makes more short putts he’ll win more tournaments. If he wins with that belly putter he’ll be getting a little bonus from those guys at Callaway for sending sales of their putter through the roof.
One of the negative side effects of the FedEx Cup Playoffs is that there are plenty of PGA players with nowhere to play for a month. These guys are trying to earn a paycheck but as the playoffs narrow the fields each week there are more guys looking to cash a check somewhere, so some of them elect to play on The Nationwide Tour. I understand that as card carrying professionals they have that right but it seems unfair that some of the boys from the big leagues get to tee it up in the “minors”. That’s not to say the play on The Nationwide Tour is not PGA caliber. It certainly is. But if the Nationwide Tour is the developmental tour for the PGA Tour then it should be treated that way. It’s like Derek Jeter choosing to play AAA ball when he can’t hit a curve ball any longer. It’s a difficult predicament with valid points on both sides but the players on The Nationwide Tour deserve better than having spots in their field taken by players who haven’t played there all season.
The PGA Tour signed a new television deal with CBS and NBC. It covers golf right through 2021, the same timeframe that the Golf Channel is committed to. That’s good news but I hope somewhere in the piles of legal documents that Finchem and his boys signed there’s a clause in there to actually show golf. Maybe there could be a few hundred less promos and commercials so we could really watch some golf.
I love Rocco Mediate. He’s entertaining to watch and really fun to listen to. But he may have gone a bit too far when he called out Sean Foley and Hank Haney. He blames them for changing Tiger’s swing. “I love the way he plays, but I’m disgusted with what’s going on with him because it’s sad for our game.” “The physical motion is wrong,” Mediate said. “To get that stress off his body is a piece of cake – the guys working with him just don’t know. Sean knows some stuff, but what’s going on with Tiger is not correct. That’s why he keeps breaking and that’s why the ball keeps going sideways.”
“Starting with Haney until now, it was a complete and absolute destruction,” he said. “If it was me (as Woods’ instructor), I would say to Tiger, ‘Look, dude, I’m not helping you. You’re getting worse. You’ve broken down three times and you’ve had 57 knee surgeries. It’s not happening.’ ” It’s refreshing to see a player speak his mind but I think Roc may have been better off talking to his pal Tiger in private on this one.
I think Phil Mickelson and Dustin Johnson play similar games. They both annihilate the ball with their driver and aren’t afraid to hit it on any any hole. They both only hit the fairway about half the time but still find a way to get it done. Oh, and they both crash and burn a lot. But my oh my, they do they bounce back well.