Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Phil Mickelson and Grand Slam? Not as Crazy as You'd Think
I really try to avoid doing things like this, because it is rather ridiculous. Anyone that is talking about the chances of a Grand Slam after just one victory in a row in the majors is the same guy that thinks he might get laid by Jennifer Aniston just because he had a drink next to her at an airport bar. Good luck buddy, hope it works out for ya.
But Phil Mickelson did win the Masters, his third, and he is a big story right now in the golf world, and I actually do believe that him completing the Grand Slam isn't as insane as you might think.
Want to dive in? Sure, let us dive ...
Okay, so Masters. He obviously checked that one of his list. He had Tiger Woods trailing and he started the day in need of a solid final round and he did just that. It was very un-Mickelson. No bogeys, solid golf shots all the way around and some serious clutch putting. (And let us not forget about the par saves he converted between holes 9-11. Those were seriously tough ones.)
Now comes the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. Mickelson has finished second at this Open a record five times, which means more than anything else that he does play well at the event. Sure, he hasn't won, but he is in contention more than not. In 2000, the last time the Open was held at Pebble, Phil finished t-16, not great but not horrible. Also, he's won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am twice in his career, and is tied for the lowest score in the tournament's history.
After that is the British Open, the least favorite of Phil's majors. The combination of wind and low wedge shots hurts Phil's creativity to go all Dubai around the greens (by that I mean, build up, not out). He has only one top-10 in his career across the pond, but St. Andrews just seems to be a course Phil could master if he really used it to his advantage. As a former caddie at the Old Course, I know that missing it left is perfectly fine all day long, and with Phil's ability to control that cut when he wants to, he should be able to just sling it out there, let it land and roll out, and be in play on all the holes. He had a t-11 in 2000 at St. Andrews but struggled in 2005. If Phil could figure out a way to stay focused on the links, he could contend at St. Andrews, I'm positive.
Finally comes the PGA Championship, always a tournament Mickelson can win. The last time it was held at Whistling Straits, Phil finished t-6, so he's obviously a fan. Also, this is the major that is always a wild card, so if Phil has any game heading into it, he should be an easy favorite.
So, while it is ridiculous to bring up this early in the season, it isn't completely out of the question. Four good days at Pebble and he might be halfway through the Grand Slam. Could you imagine what winning four majors in the same year would do for Phil's career? I think at that point, FIGJAM would stop being a joke and start being fact.