Deconstructing Phils 11

By Brian HewittFebruary 15, 2008, 5:00 pm
Ever since I wrote a column earlier this week defending the gambles Phil Mickelson took en route to making an 11 on the 14th hole at Pebble Beach last Saturday, The Comebackers m-mailbox has been bulging.
Without further ado:
Tom writes: Like you, Im weary of the blood sport known as vilifying Phil, wherein he is ridiculed for every golf course gaffe that he has ever committed. On the other hand, Phils 11 on 14 cant be justified by some burning desire he has to win and only win. Since you evoked Tiger, I believe Tiger has said (often) that you cant win a golf tournament on Saturday, but you sure can lose one. Seems to me that Phil proved the veracity of that philosophy. By going for broke with 23 holes to play, Phil effectively lost the tournament. If he wants to win, he might want to re-think some of his strategic decision-making.
The Comebacker Phil is a lightning rod who cant resist looking for lightning in a bottle at every opportunity. Still, I dont fault him for thinking win even when it might not be the prudent play.
Doug writes: What a beautiful scorecard with two 1s'unfortunately they were in the same square!!
The Comebacker Two aces on the same hole. Hey, The Comebacker has done that.

Ken writes: In the last two weeks, Phil collapsed in the FBR and Vijay collapsed in the AT&T. Both were playing respectable but hardly superstar players. If either one had been going head-to-head with Tiger, and had collapsed in exactly the same way, all the talk on Golf Channel post-game shows would have been about the psychological edge Tiger has over these guys, how he completely unnerves them. I think these cases prove that those assertions are overblown and overplayed. The pressure of competing to win in any golf tournament, whether against Mr. Woods or not, is sufficient to make the almost-best in the world collapse on their own.
The Comebacker Its very easy to be snarky and take potshots at e-mails. And The Comebacker wont resist the opportunity when presented with it. But Kens points are well-taken.

Danny writes: Phil is Phil, Lanny Wadkins is Lanny Wadkins, Greg Norman is Greg Norman, they all look back and say they did it their way while also reflecting how many tournaments they threw away due to poor course management under the guise of going for it.
The Comebacker
Yikes. Phil Mickelson makes an 11 and Lanny gets ripped.

Jon writes:There was a movie with Alec Baldwin and Anthony Hopkins a few years ago in which Baldwins character has a great quote..Never feel sorry for someone who has his own jet...
The Comebacker
Or his own yacht.

Walsh writes:You people in the media will do anything to suck up to these guys, even overlook some other important issues. He (Phil) should have been blasted by you folks for being the idiot that he is. He threw away the potential for world ranking points and he threw away FedEx points. Now you tell me, wasnt that just stupid. It was also disrespectful to the thousands of fans who bought tickets for Sunday to see Phil..
The Comebacker Never feel sorry for somebody who has Sunday tickets at Pebble Beach. Seriously, though, well be talking about an 11 at 14 a lot longer than well be talking about a T33.
Craig writes:Loved your explanation of Phils 14th hole fiasco'up to a point. I can admire him for going for it on his first tee shot. It goes in the water, oh well, he tried and you pointed out, thats apparently more than a lot of the Tour would do. But who does he think he is, Kevin Costner!? His second attempt was just as foolhardy, just as mind boggling, just as amateurish as his follow-up at Winged Foot.
The Comebacker
Roy McAvoy would have been proud.

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What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 10:37 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:

Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft

Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts

Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red

Ball: TaylorMade TP5x

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Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 9:45 pm

Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.

While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.

The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.

So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.

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Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over

By Randall MellJanuary 22, 2018, 9:36 pm

The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.

As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.

Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.

And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.

And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.

McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.

The Ryder Cup topped his list.

Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.

When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.

“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.

Or similar assertions from TV analysts.

“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”

European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.

And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.

The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.

Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.

And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.

Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.

The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.

The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.

More bulletin board material, too.

Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.

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Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions

By Rex HoggardJanuary 22, 2018, 9:14 pm

Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.

The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.

It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.

The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.

“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”

Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.