Mickelson praises O'Hair's guts on the 17th at the Players
Of course Lefty is going to praise a fellow golfer for his bold shot in the closing moments of a big tournament.
A very chipper Phil Mickelson was on one of my favorite shows, Pardon the Interruption this afternoon on ESPN.
Fresh of his Players’ victory Mickelson had some interesting comments.
Not only did he say playing partner Sean O’Hair, down two at the time, made the right decision going for the tucked flag on the island green 17th, but he also said it was good to see a young American golfer go for the win, and not just a cushy paycheck.
“There are enough mediocre golfers out there,” he said. “To win you have to take risks".
Easy for Mickelson to say. By dropping from second to eleventh place, mostly because of the carnage at the 17th, O’hair lost about $750,000.
Mickelson also went on to say that former pupil of Butch Harmon Greg Norman - not Tiger Woods - may be the best driver in recent history.
Lefty’s win, so soon after going Butch, surprised a lot of us, and it’s safe to say this season just got far more interesting.
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You put the ball on the green at 17 at give yourself a put at it. You don't make the put, you still have 18 and a chance. Anything can happen.
I love Sean O'Hair as a player (I played in many mini tour events with him), but I disagree with his decision there. Nevertheless, this kid will be back in contention soon.
The fact is that had he played it safe, he most likely would have walked to the 18th still two strokes behind, and the 18th isn't the birdie opportunity the 17th is. He had a short club in his hands (should have been a wedge), which the pros can hit dead straight most of the time. Moreover, he had already seen Mickelson hit the green and thus knew that the latter was assured of par on that hole. Also, remember that in most situations the pros would shoot at a flag with a wedge; it was only different on that hole because the penalty for an errant shot is so severe.
Lastly, you have to ask what your goal is; if maximizing your paycheck is the goal, then such an action would not accord with the percentages. However, if winning is the goal, it's the prudent thing to do.
O'Hair said that he "wasn't playing for second place." I like his attitude.