E-Mail Bag Overflows After Mickelson Story

By Adam BarrSeptember 10, 2004, 4:00 pm
Hundreds of e-mails came in ' and continue to arrive ' about the recent rapid-fire changes in Phil Mickelsons equipment endorsement alliances. So many came at once that my mailbox shut down for awhile.
As you probably know by now, Mickelson and Titleist mutually agreed last week to end his $4 million-per-year deal 16 months early after a reported renegotiation attempt failed. Early this week, Mickelson signed a greater-than-five-year deal with Callaway Golf, presumably for more than he was getting from Titleist. Mickelson has some of the Callaway gear in his new Callaway bag for this weeks Bell Canadian Open.
I get e-mails after almost every opinion column, some agreeing, others critical. But the volume of this mail, responding only to a couple of straightforward news stories, was off the charts. I stopped counting at 400.
Here are some samples (some were signed, others werent):
Do people really buy product based on what a pro says? Come on! He had a deal with one company he touted as the best, wanted a better deal even though he had signed a contract, walked away from that sponsor 16 months early, and now, a week later he says use this new product, its the best.honest!
There were plenty of others who disposed of the issue by doubting the real value of endorsements, but even more who hewed to the idea of the sanctity of a contract.
I guess Phil thinks he's a pro basketball or football player now. Titleist carried his sorry tail when he was playing up and down for three years, probably never missing a payment, and now that hes playing great and [just when] they can get a return on the $12 million they've already spent, he wants to renegotiate. Boy, what a truly class act Phil turned out to be. All he needs now is tattoos from head to toe to make the transition complete. ' Terry from Texas
Not everyone was as harsh as Terry. But there were a lot of echoes of the above.
The very least I would have expected from Phil would be to see his existing contract out; sportsmen are supposed to be role models. Demonstrations of honour, integrity and courage are what the world needs from its role models, not greed, greed and more greed. ' Justin Henzie
Just thought golf was maybe still above some of the contract shenanigans we see in other pro sports, with players holding out and wanting to renegotiate because of one good year. A contract is a contract. I wonder what Phil would have done if Titleist wanted to renegotiate his contract because of his poor play last year? Also, why change your equipment when playing so well? He's playing with fire.
Most fans of the sport are not impressed with athletes who demand renegotiation of their contracts on the basis of one good year. Did Titleist demand to renegotiate when Phil had a non-winning year in 2003? He should have seen his contract through. Also, Phil has played the best golf of his life with Titleist equipment. How many players have switched equipment, only to falter badly after doing so? Now, next year when Phil comes up short in a few events, everyone (including him) will be wondering if the equipment or balls had something to do with it. From the gallery, it just doesn't seem like this was the right time to do this. ' Dave Jarvis, Syracuse, N.Y.
Looks like somebody is being greedy. He didn't seem to mind getting his 4 million a year when he wasn't winning the Masters, but now in mid-stream he can just demand more money. I thought professional golfers had more class than the typical NFL, MLB, or NBA stars! ' Paul Abdullah, Jacksonville, Fla.
As for me I am going out and buying new Titleist clubs this week and will never put a Callaway product in my bag again. ' Tim Johnson Tampa, Florida

Some were worried about Leftys timing:
Well...why not? After all, he finally got his game to where he used common sense and started winning. Why not go to a different company 16 months before you need to and have to go through the process of starting all over again; isn't that the way Phil operates, outside the box of common sense? What will he do next, start hitting his driver on every par 4 again? It's like, 'Lookie, I can hit a ball 320 yards! Maybe out of play, but look what I can do!' I like Phil a lot but have we not come to expect this type of behavior from him? I can't believe he'd pull a stunt like this just before the Ryder Cup. Yes I can. ' Michael Dent
Others took a more economic view:
We must remember these golf guys are independent contractors. They are self-employed. No play no pay. Any kind of muscular/skeletal injury or illness can mean end of career. Professional sports is not a game. It is a business. So the professionals must look out for their best interests first. I don't see this as greed, but good business tactics. Any business person should be doing the same to protect their interests and further the opportunities of their company. ' Jack Viskil, San Diego
And some insisted that Titleist, not Phil, bungled the situation:
I really think Titleist has made a huge mistake! Phil is THE poster boy for a great brand.
Thought they learned their lesson the last time they let Sign Boy go.

Some were just disheartened:
I suppose the real reason I am sad is I don't like to have my fantasy bubble burst, particularly by one of the players in my fantasy. ' Sadly, Guy Howard
What does all this say about big-time golf? Perhaps only that even in an election year, in a country at war, with baseball heating up and football getting started, people still find time to make themselves heard about golf and golfers. And this website is a golf fan destination, so perhaps its not surprising that the response was so voluminous.
But what if it says something else? Many of these people held golf above other sports in a moral sense; the PGA Tour and other organizations have been capitalizing on that esteem with sponsors for years now. But how about the guy who wont buy Callaway now? Or the one for whom endorsements are meaningless because of the effect of players switching?
And how about the one who was such a Mickelson fan that hes downright sad? The intimations that Mickelsons behavior, or that of his handlers, was unworthy of an honorable game?
It doesnt matter whether the allegations contained in the questions above are true or not. The real issue is, what will be the effect of people thinking those allegations are true?
Golf may never be like Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, or the National Football League. But if people believe it can be, the damage, whatever it will be, is done.
Email your thoughts to Adam Barr

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.