Northern Trust Open round four: Why Mickelson is Lucky Phil
He was, after all, extremely lucky with the weather, missing out on the winds that allowed him and 54 others who kicked off Thursday morning through to the weekend, against just 23 who started Thursday afternoon. He was also very lucky in just having one inexperienced opponent to finish off on the Sunday. It was Jeff Quinney’s four-bogey stretch down the back nine that sealed the deal rather than anything particularly startling from Mickelson.
You can argue that as things toughened up over the weekend and the greens got noticeably firmer, Lefty showed fortitude where all bar Quinney wilted. To a degree you also make your own luck - there are few players who could come back to win from being beaten in a playoff and then missing a cut. I believe this is at least the third time Mickelson has won straight after an MC.
But for all the growing confidence Lefty expresses in his game, it doesn’t seem to have moved on a huge amount from last year. In its mercurial patterns, it has probably gone a bit backwards. His stats this week rather echo his visit here last year, except this time he was shorter off the tee, found fewer fairways, and hit marginally fewer greens. It was only his putting that showed an improvement.
Goodness knows what the comparison would have been like if he had been in the crew that had the worst of the weather.
PS: One other interesting tidbit on Lefty’s game came in his final media conference when he revealed that because he was using softer balls he couldn’t hear the sound of impact properly and overcompensated with his putting stroke. So he changed the insert on his putter to increase the noise level and voila! - better putting. Think I’ll stick to my simple metal head though, if it’s all the same. But there’s an interesting read-up on the subject here.
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Tiger purring? You mean about how he could never get the job done at Riviera (which is probably why he doesn't play anymore).
How many tournaments has Tiger won, where he
hasn't necessarily done anything spectacular, yet
others "melt-down" around him? Plenty. It happened
at Dubai, just very recently. Did you watch Ernie melt
down? Yet we're not lambasting Tiger, are we?
Phil played his game. Quinney made some long putts
which kept him in the match. Anyone watching knew he
wouldn't be able to keep that up. Phil, I suspect, knoew
it as well.
He didn't have to do anything spectacular. Quinney did
all the work for him.
Punter and others have a way of looking at practically the same set of circumstances surrounding Tiger in one event and Phil ion another, and arriving at two diametrically opposed conclusions.
If Tiger were to shoot a spectacular round on Friday and vaulted into a four-shot lead, something he has done many times, and then played somewhat cautios and safe golf to maintain his lead and eventually win the tournament, Punter et al would say that Tiger showed his class and his guts by holding safe his only pursuer. And this despite that pursuer making a whole string of unlikely putts AND scoring a hole-in-one. And they would be quite correct in that analysis.
But when Phil does exactly that, somehow according to these guys, Phil was lucky and undeserving.
Two weeks ago, when Phil made up four strokes in the final round to tie J.B.Holmes and get into a playoff, none of these fellows thought much of it.
When Phil lost in sudden death, these folks saw fit to say that Phil "choked" in the playoff, while saying nothing about J.B's spectacular birdies on eighteen, once in regulation and again in the playoff for the victory. But no matter. If Phil had won in that playoff, he would have been "lucky" according to Punter and the boys.
Alex USMC 1969-73 Semper Fideles
I took a break from this site for awhile. Seems
like nothing has changed. I look down the headlines
on these blogs, and they all seem ridiculously
contrarian, for the sake of being ridiculously
contrarian. When I scan the titles and see that
Mr. McDonald believes the LPGA has more "guts" than
the PGA, it almost makes me laugh.
Maybe we should start our own blog.
The latest absurdity these guys are spouting is that Woods might actually win every tournament and every match he enters this year.
They must surely realize that that will never happen, but they rant on as though there is a possibility that it might.
Interesting to watch yesterday - Holmes spit the bit.
If it happens to Phil, it was "given" to him.
If it happens to Tiger, he "intimidated" them...
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