Monday, February 13, 2012

A Few Observations From the Phil Win

Phil Mickelson won the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Sunday. He shot a 64. It was amazing, and definitely one of the defining moments of his career (because it was so batshit crazy for Phil that even with him we are surprised). But what did we learn about the event? Follow along and see ...

-- The win is more about Phil Mickelson than Tiger Woods -- Many are going to say that Tiger choked on Sunday at Pebble Beach. That he came out and got killed by a better Phil Mickelson, and that there are serious issues with his golf game. I won't debate the latter, but the former is ridiculous. If any other golfer in the world started four shots back heading into Sunday at a regular golf event, nobody would have blinked when he didn't come from behind and win. Just because Mickelson was able to do what Tiger couldn't means more about Phil's game and less about Tiger's. When golfers have to make a charge to win an event, they are agressive from the start. Which leads us to ...

-- Tiger's putting is becoming a real issue -- He might blame it on the bumpy greens at Pebble Beach, but man, the guy can't buy a putt, and just days after he was dissing the long putter. This is a man that always could find a way to get a putt to drop in his prime (the best example coming from that downhill, bumping putt that he dropped at Torrey Pines to get in a playoff with Rocco Mediate that never seemed to have any reason going in the hole) really can't make anything now. He can mask it for the first three days, but on Sundays, it really seems to be the issue.

-- This probably doesn't say a lot about Phil Mickelson in 2012 -- I hope it does. I want him to win majors. I want him to continue to build on his legacy. But honestly, isn't this just a perfect example of who Mickelson is these days? He pops up, plays well, closes with one of the best rounds I've seen since Davis Love III at TPC Sawgrass, but this is Phil Mickelson we're talking about. He might shoot 80 the next time he tees it up. You just never know.

-- Let us make sure to remember this is a golfer vs. golf course game -- I saw a lot of tweets on Sunday about how "Phil is in Tiger's head now" and how "Phil has figured out Tiger's game." Umm, those are not things. You don't play defense in golf. You can't really "figure out" other golfers. You just go out and play and try to score lower than the other guy. It's a rivalry because we make it a rivalry. The end game is to beat the course, not the player.

-- This could be some exciting stuff in 2012 -- I'm pumped. Are you?

Getty Images


John said...

"I saw a lot of tweets on Sunday about how "Phil is in Tiger's head now" and how "Phil has figured out Tiger's game." Umm, those are not things."

This is how you tell that someone you are talking to doesn't really know anything about golf. It is the equivalent of a "hockey fan" who says things like, "well, I really hate that neutral zone trap the Devils play."

chris_villasenor said...

Phil all but admitted that he's cued into the little things that Tiger does to throw off a playing partner. That has to help some. Also, I don't think that you can discount the affect that huge putt on 12(?) after Tiger holed that bunker shot. There's some head-to-head aspect here and some motivation for Phil to outplay Tiger when they're paird together.

seak said...

Tiger putted well on Sunday in Abu Dhabi (not on Thurs), and he putted really well Sat at Pebble to get into contention.

Tiger putted really poorly on Sunday, but to say he's putted really poorly all year isn't true. His wedge play on the other hand

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