Mickelson didnt need to pick wedge fight

By Associated PressFebruary 2, 2010, 8:48 am

Scott McCarron wants to set one thing straight. He never called PhilMickelson a cheater.

That should help keep the lawyers at bay, as if there was ever going to beany. Mickelson’s implied threat of having his legal team deal with the biggeststory in wedges since Gene Sarazen invented a club to get out of the sand wasalmost as laughable as his claims that he was slandered by his fellow golfer.

Besides, McCarron has a valid point. He never called Mickelson a cheater.

What he said was that Mickelson cheated.

The semantics of that can be argued all the way up the Pacific Coast as thePGA Tour gets underway in earnest in uncertain times made even more uncertain bythe absence of the game’s biggest star. The stop this week is at the storiedRiviera Country Club, where Lefty would be a big story no matter what he had inhis bag.

Mickelson is the two-time defending champion, and the only player who caneven attempt to fill the huge void the tour faces with Tiger Woods not around.McCarron is a journeyman who barely cracked the top 100 money winners last yearand is recognizable only because he wields a putter almost as tall as he is.

In more civil times they might have changed shoes on the same locker roombench without more than a cursory nod. Now they’re pitted against each other ina battle that neither can win.

At issue are some 20-year-old wedges that would still be gathering dust insomeone’s garage had the USGA not taken it upon itself to try and put some skillback in the game by making it harder for players to control the ball from placesthey shouldn’t be hitting it, notably the rough.

The bigger issue, though, may be the integrity of the sport itself. This is,after all, supposed to be a gentleman’s game filled with people of honor whowant only to do the right thing.

Mickelson, though, seems to want to do only what’s right for him.

To that end, Mickelson has declared he has every right to play Ping-Eye 2wedges which were grandfathered in by a lawsuit from new rules designed to limitspin off the clubface. He’s not alone, as a handful of players have scroungedaround to find the old wedges and stick them in their bags.

To McCarron and others, though, the black and white that Mickelson sees is avery gray area indeed. They believe anyone playing the old clubs is, at the veryleast, violating the spirit of the rules of golf by gaining an unfair advantageover those who don’t have the old wedges.

“I am still appalled by the fact that any player would make the choice toput this controversial wedge in play,” McCarron said Monday.

A lot of other people are probably appalled that McCarron plays with aputter as long as a broomstick, something that no one in golf would haveconsidered proper until it came into vogue in recent years. The big putter helpsa player control small muscle and calms nerves, which has probably allowedMcCarron to keep his spot on tour all these years.

And every player who has ever asked for a questionable drop has tried to usethe rules to his advantage. Woods himself once had spectators in Phoenix move ahuge boulder in front of his ball, saying it was a loose impediment.

But this is about grooves, and it’s more complicated than just that. Therewas speculation that Mickelson, who argued last year with the USGA over the newlimitations on grooves, was more concerned with sending a message to the USGAthan he was with spinning the ball at Torrey Pines.

Whatever the case, Mickelson clearly didn’t expect to be blasted by a fellowpro for doing so, and certainly didn’t expect to be labeled as a cheater.Predictably, the tour came out on behalf of its biggest remaining star bybasically saying it was a bad thing to say bad things about fellow players.

The big question now is to see how far Mickelson will take this. Was he justtrying to make a point to the USGA or does he really think better grooves willhelp him vault to No. 1 in the world in Woods’ absence?

His main sponsor, Callaway Golf, surely can’t be too happy Mickelson isplaying a competing company’s lob wedge, especially since Callaway is spending alot of money for an ad campaign featuring Mickelson on the Super Bowl pregametelecast. Hard to convince duffers to play their wedges when Mickelson himselfisn’t.

The irony is that Mickelson is one of the great wedge players ever. He canplay shots other players can only dream of, regardless of the size of hisgrooves.

He didn’t have to pick this fight, but for some reason he did.

Now he has to deal with the consequences.

Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Writeto him at tdahlberg(at)ap.org

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm