by Jeff Skinner
1. Few golfers can go from sizzling hot to freezing cold as quickly as Phil Mickelson. With a missed cut at Arnie’s place and The Masters in his sights it’s time for Philly Mick to get warm in Houston. This is a 72 hole practice round for him.
2. Cheers to Jordan Spieth who has earned over $500,000 in only four events to earn a Temporary Special Exemption. That means he has unlimited sponsor’s exemptions and we’ll be seeing a lot more of the youngster this season.
3. It was refreshing to hear Stacy Lewis and Yani Tseng trade compliments when Lewis took Tseng’s number one spot. But the two will be going at it next month when they face off at their first major, The Kraft Nabisco, with the top spot on the line.
4. So Vijay Singh withdraws from The Shell Houston Open but commits to Hilton Head. It’s been two months since he admitted to violating the PGA Tour’s Substance Policy but still no action from Finchem. This just looks bad, really bad.
5. We’ve seen a lot of the newly transplanted Lee Westwood this season. Since moving to the states he’s played more events earlier in his season and has been hanging out with the boys on The Morning Drive. But he might not be pleased with his early results with only one top ten in six events. Last season in his first six starts on the PGA Tour he had four top tens, including a T3 at The Masters.
6. Ernie Els was spotted using a conventional putter at an Asian Tour event this week. The Big Easy says no matter how he plays with it this week he’ll still use the belly putter at The Masters. And it might just be the last time he wields the long one at Augusta.
7. Raise your hand if you had enough of the Tavistock Cup. I have both hands raised. What started as a novel way to see a few pros play as club members has grown into an unbearable display of an insulated world so far removed from the average golfer it is obnoxious. Didn’t watch one second and never will again.
8. Rory McIlroy is back in action this week at Houston and expressed relief at not being world number one, kind of. On not having to be “the most talked about golfer” he said, “It’s a nice thing.” Now that’s not the killer attitude that Nike signed up for. Oh, but they have that in Tiger Woods.
9. It’s not too early to mention the U.S. Open which is going back to Merion Golf Club this year. Merion has one of the richest histories in golf. It has hosted 18 USGA championships including five U.S. Opens. Bobby Jones played in his first national championship there and his last when he clinched his Grand Slam in 1930. Ben Hogan completed his comeback with a win at the 1950 Open there and Lee Trevino beat Jack Nicklaus in an 18 hole playoff at Merion’s 1971 U.S. Open. And that’s just a bit of the history from one of the most storied clubs in America.
10. Year’s ago Ford Motor Company had an ad campaign with Phil Mickelson which featured the tag line”What will Phil do next.” And we’ve been asking that question ever since. Check out this video with Phil flopping a ball over wedge designer, Roger Cleveland’s head. We’ve seen Phil do this with Dave Pelz before and Pelz is much taller than Cleveland but Phil is only a sand wedge away from Cleveland. Now that’s confidence, for both of them.