Why should Mike Weir replace Phil Mickelson at the 2006 Grand Slam of Golf?
After reading Bill Wolfrum’s article alerting me that my favorite lefty golfer, Phil Mickelson, was all washed up for the remainder of the season, I was crushed. Mickelson semed to be his happiest during the 2004 Grand Slam where he shot an unbelieveably easy 59. Even after losing the 2005 Grand Slam of Golf to Tiger Woods, Mickelson remarked, “it was kind of a fun, friendly round of golf. There wasn’t much of a competition going on out there, so we just enjoyed the day". Come on Phil, to be in Poipu in November is like being in heaven!
But why was Mike Weir chosen as the replacement for the current number-three golfer in the world? Weir hasn’t won on the PGA tour this year and only has one top three this season. True he places 28th on the money list but this was definitely not his standout year. In fact, the only real similarity this blogger sees between the two is that they’re both left-handed!
I did a “lefty-to-lefty” player comparison to perhaps get an answer to my own query. In only three categories did Weir rank higher than Mickelson; driving accuracy, sand save percentage and putts per round. Granted, those three are pretty big stats to “whomp” the big guy with but are they enough to take other qualified professional major winners out of the running?
Who else could have been propositioned? Vijay Singh might take the bait although he really didn’t have much fun at last year’s event. At least Singh won a tournament this season and placed second on two other occasions in addition to his major championship victories (one Masters and two PGA Championship).
Michael Campbell, 2005 U.S. Open winner, struggled a bit at last year’s finale but perhaps giving him a second chance this year might give him the confidence he needs to pull Tiger Woods off of his perch.
I’m not saying that Weir wasn’t a good selection by the “powers-that-be” over at the PGA but I was just a little surprised. Of course this was also a pretty crummy thing for “collapsible Phil” to do on such short notice and 2003 Masters champion Weir was at the ready to take his spot.
I’m sure Weir, Ogilvy and Furyk will all be a good diversion even though all eyes will be on the projected favorite and most probable winner, Tiger Woods!
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have accumulated the best record in majors this season. Jim Furyk was first
and Mike Weir was second.
Remeber, the PGA of America is run by Golf Pros. So there are always rules to
fall back on.
I wonder if the PGA called upon other golfers who could not commit at the last minute to fill Mickelson's shoes.
It's truly an honor to play this final "hurrah" of the season.
Masters - Tied for 11th: 2005 - T5
US Open - Tied for 6th: 2005 - 42
British - Tied 56th: 2005 - MC
PGA - solo 6th: 2005 47
Other than the British, which obviously doesn't suit his game, he's played pretty steady golf worthy of an invitation. By the way, I'm more than a little irked at American undervaluation of Weir. He's well-liked by other players on the Tour, but virtually ignored by the US media unless he's in the lead or tied for the lead.
He came in 2nd last time he played in the Grand Slam and I sincerely hope he wins it this time. He'll have his work cut out for him facing Tiger, but stranger things have happened.
"If one or more winners are unable to attend, alternates will be selected from a Major Champions Points List. The list is composed of players who have won a major championship during their careers and are active Tour professionals. The PGA of America developed the point system for the selection of alternates based on performance in the 2006 major championships."
In other words, of the pool of past major championship winners (who are not already in this year's Grand Slam of Golf), Weir apparently had the best record in this year's majors. Now no, I haven't gone and verified that - hey, I got a job to do! :-) But it's safe to say that if Weir is now atop that list then the guy who was opted out of playing this event, hence Weir getting the nod.
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