Best Lefty Debate Heats Up

By Brian HewittFebruary 23, 2004, 5:00 pm
The Internet has spawned, among other things, The Poll Question. Seems everybody with a website needs a poll question. Sometimes they are stimulating. Sometimes they are silly. And often they are forced.
 
Golf, right now, has the perfect poll question: Whos the best lefthander in the world right now, Mike Weir or Phil Mickelson? The emphasis is on right now.
 
Weir, the Canadian, won the Nissan Open Sunday at Riviera for the second straight year. Mickelson, the Californian, has played in four events this season, won once and finished no worse than seventh.
 
Weir has ascended to No. 4 in the world rankings. Mickelson has moved up to No. 8 (after beginning the New Year outside the top 10.) Weir was born on the 12th of May in 1970. Mickelson was born on the 16th of June in the same year.
 
Weir needed six years to get onto the PGA Tour full time after college. Mickelson won a U.S. Amateur. Then, before turning professional, captured the 1991 Northern Telecom Open. It was the last time an amateur won a PGA Tour event.
 
Compelling arguments can be made for both players. Mickelson has won almost twice as much money as Weir. But Weir has one major, last years Masters, to none for Mickelson.
 
Mickelson is wildly popular among golf fans in the United States and very popular everywhere else. Weir is wildly popular among all Canadians and very popular among golf fans everywhere else.
 
Mickelson has 22 official PGA Tour victories. Weir has seven. Mickelson, the Weir camp argues, would gladly trade all 22 of those wins for Weirs one major. Weir, the Mickelson camp argues, will never produce the body of golfing work that Mickelson is compiling when the careers of both players are over.
 
Mickelson is 6-1 in playoffs in Tour events. Weir is 3-1.
 
All the above is mostly fact. Now for a few opinions guaranteed to upset the followers of one or both of these players. Fact is, its very difficult to have a pro-Mickelson opinion that doesnt provoke a Weir fan. Similarly, its hard to sell the Weir side of this argument without displeasing the Mickelson camp.
 
PUTTING: Mickelson used to be a better putter than Weir. Weir has caught up in that category. Phil misses too many four-footers.
 
DRIVING: Mickelson hits it longer and he is also hitting it straighter than usual for him this year. Weir hits it longer than it looks like he should (and thats meant as a compliment).
 
SHORT GAME: This depends on how short youre talking. For my money, Weir might be the best 100-yard wedge player among the top 30 players in the world. Closer in, around the greens, Mickelsons talent is wondrous. Occasionally, his own imagination takes him prisoner and convinces him to try shots that have too little margin for error.
 
OTHER FACTORS: Weir manages his game better than MickelsonMickelson is capable of reaching more par 5sMickelson, by the way, hits his long irons farther than almost anybody on Tour Weir does not rattle Both players have accomplished and professional caddies.
 
THE VERDICT: Thats why they have poll questions. My tally will be informal. But I will report back, in this space, the results of the E-mail feedback I receive.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open


Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.