Mickelson The One Man Hot Topic

By Brian HewittJanuary 21, 2009, 5:00 pm
The Comebacker this week is mostly about reaction to the notion posited earlier that one more indifferent tournament from Phil Mickelson and the slump-mongers will come out of the woodwork in force.
We also throw in a little Michelle Wie for good measure.
Without further ado:
Art writes: As a long time Phil Mickelson fan I too am somewhat puzzled by his lack of sharpness so far. He didnt look like he was physically fit and his game looks like he decided to get ready by playing on the tour because he doesnt look like hes hit many shots during his break. However, maybe this is his rope-a dope season. Hell let all the others take their shots and then hell come out for the majors and gun down the field. Probably not. For whatever reason, he just doesnt look right this year YET. Personally I think he needs to go with one coach. Id go with Butchie and forget Pelz. Phil is too analytical as it is and with Pelz he gets worse. Hell remain my man as some of this is what makes PhilPhil. By the way, if I were his trainer I would tell him to work the waistline harder or lose the wide white belts.
THE COMEBACKER: Ah, yes, the belt. The Comebacker has a lot of heat to pass along about the belt. My take: If golf were only about fitness and style, Camilo Villegas would be No. 1 in the world. But its not and hes not.
Greg writes: I believe that Phil has a serious wardrobe malfunction that began at the end of last season with the terrible looking skin tight shirts that he began wearing, especially restrictive around the bicep area. Also, the white belt that he had on Sunday looked absolutely atrocious. The fact of the matter could be that he is in a midlife crisis or he needs a new wardrobe manager ASAP. Either that or he needs to let his wife do his clothes for the week; I guarantee if she mentioned anything about that belt on Sunday, we'll never see it again. The Phil that most fans really respect and admire was the most smartly dressed man on the course, did not worry about any fashion sense at all because the neatness of old never gets old. The Phil that I'm sure will show up in the next few weeks is the Phil that is refocused on the moment and lets his clubs do the talking, which we all know he will do sooner rather than later.
THE COMEBACKER: Greg, who died and appointed you the golf fashion czar? As for Phils game, he could have a bad year and win twice just on talent alone. Matter of fact, I think thats what he did last year.
David writes: I am not usually in agreement with Brian Hewitt, but this time he's right. I have been a huge fan of Mickelson for many years. I cried when he won his first Masters. But even I have had enough and am only giving him one more chance. I watched in horror the various mediocre exhibitions put on in 08. This year I am now feeling the tease from my golf partners as to 'whats up with your boy?' This is it Phil, get your @#$% together or I'm rooting for Camilo.
THE COMEBACKER: First of all, The Comebacker always agrees with Brian Hewitt. That would be because The Comebacker IS Brian Hewitt. Second of all, in case anybody isnt sure, Camilo is the guy with the better belts.
Rich writes: I guess what I want to know is.........who cares about rankings except you guys? The PGA tour is a job where you make money, not friends. I love golf and I enjoy watching the Tour, but, all of this silliness about rankings, and babies is nonsense. I know it is your job to put out such crap, but you have to start realizing the majority of viewers are golfers and we already know everything you all espouse day after day. It is boring and a non-event as they all are. Give us all a break and talk about something that has value.
THE COMEBACKER: Like it or not, the birth of Tiger Woods children is news. And believe me, there are 64 guys who care a lot about the world rankings. Those would be the guys getting into the WGC-Accenture Match Play off the rankings posted next Monday morning.
Gloria writes: I think Phil has a big head and a bigger ego. He has screwed up his head so much with equipment that he doesn't know which way his tee shots will go. You can drive the ball as far as you like, but if your short game is crap it doesn't matter how far you drive the ball. I am sick and tired of the sports announcers making excuses for Phil's bad course management and bad play. Let's tell it like it is. Thank you for letting me vent. I am just so sick and tired to Phil.
THE COMEBACKER: All right, you guys (and gals) are starting to wear me down with all this Phil-bashing. And, to be sure, the preponderance of the E-mails is anti-Phil. Does anybody care that this guy, even if he never makes a cut the rest of his career, is a first ballot Hall of Famer?
Todd writes: Your words: We don't want to sound like were picking on you (Phil), BUT that's exactly what youre doing. Phil says some things sometimes that make you wonder. So do you, thats how you make a living criticizing people. Maybe he'll have a better middle or later part of the season success, who knows....Seems to me youre jealous. Phil can't help he makes more money in his free time than you and your entire family combined....Its just amazing how the Golf Channel looks for the first opportunity to rip into Phil, even though he's without a doubt one of the best in his generation. Why didn't you rip John Rollins, when he clearly choked coming down the stretch at Torrey. Now if that were Phil you would throw it in his face every time he tees it up this year. Now at times criticizing him is right, but you guy's do it constantly.
THE COMEBACKER: Todd, youve said a mouthful. About the only thing I agree with is the John Rollins point. And, by the way, quit peeking at my pay stubs.
Steven writes: I believe that Phil is mentally and physically going down the wrong slope. With his teachers of Rick and Dave I really think they are playing with his head too much. With his white belt it really shows that Phil is really living the good life. If I was him, I would work on his game by stopping everyone telling him that he can produce miracle shots with a new driver. Go down to his basement and look himself in the mirror and say What do I wont to do with my golfing career? I really think Phil could sharpen his game and his mind set by himself. Take off a few pounds off and work on his body mass.
THE COMEBACKER: For starters, Phils teachers (last time I checked) were Butch and Dave. As for the weight thing, Phils never going to be svelte. Its a subcutaneous thing. Finally, most people I know dont need to go to the basement to look in the mirror.
Thomas writes: Unless you have been in this man's shoes, you do NOT know- I am a golf fan; At 50, I can go back to Jack's early days when he was not very popular for displacing Arnie as 'king'. I cannot think of another golfer (with three majors and more than 30 Tour wins) picked upon, micro-analyzed, etc --?? Tom Weiskopf? Independent of how he plays early this season, Phil will be welcomed to Bethpage by adoring N.Y. golf fans. Why? Because he shows his love for the game with an affinity for the fans and a respect to acknowledge them on the course- Have you seen him play and compared his 'on course likeability' to others? Very few beat him. Lighten up on Phil! He is not Tiger, but he truly aspires to be in a final pairing with Tiger.
THE COMEBACKER: Finally, somebody on Phils side. And to be clear, here: Phil is one of the most popular players of all time. He also happens to be an easy target for e-mailers who dont have to look him in the eye.
Jean writes: I am tired of hearing about spoiled brat Wie. She needs to grow up and learn she is not the only player on the (LPGA) Tour.
THE COMEBACKER: Spoiled? Maybe a couple of years ago. A brat? I never saw that side of Michelle Wie. You might be surprised at the 19-year-old version of Michelle Wie. Her life has calmed down quite about and, yes, shes growing up.

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

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

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

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.