Idiot Plea a Cop Out

By Brian HewittJune 19, 2006, 4:00 pm
U.S. OpenActually, hes not.
 
An idiot, that is.
 
Phil Mickelson is not an idiot.
 
Thats what he called himself moments after gift-wrapping the U.S. Open and handing it to Australias Geoff Ogilvy late Sunday at the teeming, steaming cauldron that was Winged Foot.
 
But Phil Mickelson is not an idiot.
 
Write it on the blackboard 500 times, Lefty.
 
I am not an idiot.
 
Mondays New York Post screamed that Mickelson was, AW-PHIL!
 
The rival Daily News called his failure a meltdown.
 
Indeed, it was a Mickel-shame. A Mickel-sham. Zinged Foot. A New York state of loss of mind. A Phlop.
 
But idiots arent smart enough to call themselves idiots. Mickelson is a lot of things. Smart is one of them. Idiot is not. He is still the best player in the world at the moment. But there is a difference between idiocy and temporary golfing insanity.
 
The latter is what happened to Lefty Sunday. He needed par on the 72nd hole to win the championship he coveted so much. What he made was a double bogey when his driver let him down yet again, followed by an egregious error in course management, followed by a tree getting the way of his second, followed by a fried egg lie in a greenside bunker in three, followed by a failure to produce the miracle up and down that would have produced a playoff.
 
I am such an idiot, Mickelson said after finishing second in the U.S. Open for the fourth time in eight years.
 
It is a quote that will live in infamy in golf lore right next to Roberto DiVicenzos sad declaration moments after handing the 1968 Masters to Bob Goalby because he signed an incorrect scorecard.
 
What a stupid I am, DiVicenzo said.
 
Mickelson will live to fight another day. But, as he said, this one will sting. A par on the 72nd hole would have given him three victories in his last three majors. It would have left him half way to a calendar grand slam and three quarters of the way to the so-called Mickel-Slam.
 
It would have galvanized the entire sports world that, soon enough, will be without the NBA finals and the World Cup.
 
Odd, isnt it that prior to his 1968 buffoonery at the Masters DiVicenzo had won the 1967 British Open at Royal Liverpool in England. Royal Liverpool is the same golf course that will host the Open Championship next month.
 
The Beatles came to us from Liverpool. And the mania of Mickelsons streak would have inspired paperback writers eight days a week.
 
Instead we are left to ponder yesterday and cry for help--help to figure out how the thinking mans player seized up with a brain cramp at the worst possible time. Or, for that matter, how Colin Montgomerie also doubled the 72nd when par would have won him his first major championship.
 
The winner, Ogilvy, chipped in on 17 Sunday and got up and down for par on 18. He won the U.S. Open just as much as Lefty and Monty lost it.
 
Im just not buying Mickelsons idiocy plea. Hes savvier than that. Just when the golf world was beginning to wonder what Tiger was going to do next, we are forced again to ponder what Phil did last.
 
Agree with him. Call him an idiot if you must. But idiots dont get to the tee box on the last hole of the U.S. Open needing par to win.
 
Phil Mickelson is smart and good. And, for the moment in his own mind, he is worse than an idiot.
 
Hes the guy who should have won the U.S. Open and didnt.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
 
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    Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x