Mickelson a Man of Mystery On and Off the Course

By Associated PressSeptember 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
LEMONT, Ill. -- Phil Mickelson can be impulsive and unpredictable, reckless and rash, but always a topic of conversation. He is capable of making people turn their heads one minute and shake their heads the next.
 
He's like that on the golf course, too.
 
Mickelson left everyone scratching their heads during an 18-hour mystery tour in which he beat Tiger Woods in a riveting battle outside Boston; used a national television interview to air his complaints about PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem; showed up in Chicago for a corporate outing; and withdrew from the BMW Championship by saying he wasn't trying to send a message.
 
'This decision was not an easy one to make,' Mickelson said in a statement.
 
It was even tougher to interpret.
 
Mickelson had no intention of playing a third straight week in the PGA TOUR Playoffs even before he teed it up Friday at the Deutsche Bank Championship, with Woods and Vijay Singh at his side.
 
Perhaps one reason was his paltry record at Cog Hill, where he has never cracked the top 25 in 10 starts. Maybe he was starting to feel fatigued, knowing that a full schedule through the Presidents Cup would mean seven tournaments in nine weeks. Or he could have wanted to join Woods and Ernie Els by skipping one playoff event.
 
All of those reasons would have been acceptable.
 
Anyone who thinks this FedExCup finale isn't working because one player stays home hasn't been paying attention. These 'playoffs' are bringing together a great collection of players and producing exciting golf. Through two weeks, there is no denying that.
 
No one remembers that Woods skipped The Barclays. No one knew Els was missing last week at the Deutsche Bank. And the BMW Championship will get by just fine without Mickelson.
 
For some reason, though, Mickelson wanted to make it personal.
 
His two-shot victory while playing with Woods in the final round at the TPC Boston gave him a platform to celebrate his biggest victory this side of a major, and he elected to turn that into a soap box.
 
Jimmy Roberts of NBC Sports, aware of the rumors that Mickelson might miss Chicago, asked him if would play.
 
'I'm really torn, because I feel like there's an obligation for me to play,' Mickelson said. 'I'd be paired with Tiger again. I think it would be really great for the game and the tour and the FedExCup. Another part of me is really frustrated because for the past year, I've been asking the commissioner to do a couple of things, and I told him I would play the last four events, and he has not done that.
 
'So I'm kind of torn.'
 
On one hand, he was quick to finger Finchem as the villain. But after griping that Finchem didn't live up to his end of the bargain, Mickelson left everyone guessing what kind of deal they had -- if they had one at all.
 
When asked to elaborate, Mickelson went into 'Family Affair' mode by mentioning he has a lot going on, from taking the kids to their first day of school Wednesday to going to their soccer games. In subsequent interviews, the closest he came to explaining his beef was when he said his frustration stemmed from 'asking for a couple of things in the FedExCup that weren't done.'
 
Finchem did not respond. The TOUR released a statement Tuesday saying it was disappointed Mickelson would not be at Cog Hill, but it was looking forward to another exciting chapter in the playoffs.
 
Lefty once was known as the guy who was 0-for-42 in the majors until winning the Masters. In his eyes, he's probably 0-for-20 when he goes to Finchem with a suggestion. Maybe that makes him the greatest player to never get his way on the PGA TOUR.
 
The suggestions range from simple to complex.
 
Mickelson doesn't like that the $10 million payoff for the FedExCup champion is deferred -- and he's not alone on that point. He has argued that the TOUR should designate 20 tournaments a year in which the top players must compete, and he has never been a big fan of being required to play in pro-ams. He doesn't believe the TOUR should subsidize the purses at events opposite the World Golf Championships.
 
Which issue became the trigger, only Mickelson knows. The surprise was the shot across the bow, especially considering how guarded Mickelson is when the lights come on.
 
For a guy who fiercely protects a polished image, Mickelson risked that by taking a sucker punch at Finchem on national TV.
 
His statement Tuesday didn't help, particularly when he said that withdrawing from Chicago 'in no way is meant as disrespectful to the TOUR or 'sending a message' to anyone.'
 
Mickelson said he's looking for balance, and that his family has sacrificed a lot this year because it's been a very difficult schedule. But this is the same guy who said at the PGA Championship last month that he was excited for the FedExCup because of all the time he lost this summer with a wrist injury.
 
It probably didn't help that when Mickelson announced he was pulling out of the BMW Championship, he was a half-hour away at Medinah Country Club playing in a corporate outing. The outing was planned long ago, but it didn't look good.
 
Tournament director Jon Kaczkowski was asked how he felt about Mickelson being at Medinah and going home without stopping at Cog Hill. Although his answer was polite, it spoke volumes.
 
'It's hard for me to interpret some of his thoughts,' he said.
 
Related Links:
  • GOLF CHANNEL Airtimes
  • Full Coverage - BMW Championship
     
    Copyright 2007 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

    The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

    There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

    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

    Vandalism

    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

    Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses

    Finances


    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

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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

    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.