Golf is Not Life

By Mercer BaggsMay 25, 2009, 4:00 pm
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GOOD PEOPLE, A BAD THING: Amy Mickelson has been diagnosed with breast cancer, it was revealed in a news release last Wednesday. Phil Mickelson withdrew from the HP Byron Nelson Championship and pulled out of this week's Crowne Plaza Invitational, which he won in 2008, to be with his family.
Backspin For those who thought Amy Mickelson was a bubbly, blond trophy wife, just read this or this or this. As for her husband, it's likely he doesn't even know when he will play again. And it's a definite that he doesn't care. No one puts family before golf more so than does he.


THINK PINK: To show support for the Mickelson family, players and caddies at the Nelson wore pink ribbons on their hats Sunday, symbolizing the fight against breast cancer. Champion Rory Sabbatini wore a pink shirt, while John Daly, competing on the European Tour, wore pink pants.
Backspin You could pull an M. Emmett Walsh (see: 'The Jerk') and randomly pick a name out of a phone book, and it's likely cancer has affected them on some level. Support is good, like the kind the Mickelsons have also gotten from Darren Clarke, who lost his wife to breast cancer in 2006, and Tiger Woods. Prayer, however, is better.


FULL NELSON: As mentioned, Sabbatini won the Byron Nelson Championship, setting a tournament 72-hole scoring record (19 under) in the process. The win was the fifth of his PGA Tour career, which also includes the 2007 Colonial event.
Backspin The fact that his last two wins have come in Texas shouldn't come as a surprise. He has a Don't-Mess-With-Me attitude and lives in the Lone Star State. Of course, if it was so obvious that he was going to perform well this week then why did I pick David Toms (MC) to win? Because I'm not a gypsy. I have no idea what's going to happen in the future.


TSENG A FINAL SONG: Yani Tseng prevailed in a shoot-out at the LPGA Corning Classic. Her 62-67 weekend was good enough for a one-shot victory over Paula Creamer and Soo Yun Kang.
Backspin Tseng will not get a chance to defend her title next year as this was the 31st and final edition of the Corning. It's a shame to see this one go. Corning, N.Y. is a great little town and an enjoyable place to contest a tournament. But in an economy that is crushing the big guys, the little ones have little chance.


'ABOUT FRIGGIN TIME': Michael Allen, competing in his first Champions Tour event, won the Senior PGA Championship at Canterbury Golf Club. Needing par on the final hole to secure victory, Allen made birdie for a two-stroke triumph over 1987 Masters champion Larry Mize.
Backspin Allen has played 271 times on the regular tour and never won. He's played once as a senior and has a perfect record. The math equals him playing with people his own age. Pride says otherwise. Allen is exempt on the PGA Tour (No. 106 on the 2008 money list) and has made nine of 12 cuts this year. With the kind of confidence that only winning can breed, you have to believe that he believes that he can still win against the younger set.


SEALED WITH A KISS: Paul Casey birdied his final two holes Sunday to earn a one-stroke victory at the BMW PGA Championship, the European Tour's most prestigious non-major event. Fellow Brit Ross Fischer closed in 64, but came up just short of a playoff.
Backspin The win was Casey's third of the season. He also moves to third on the Official World Golf Ranking, behind Woods and Mickelson. That's a pretty legit 3, at the moment. Casey has victories in Dubai, Houston and now at Wentworth. He's the third best player in the world ' at the moment. For once, the OWGR is properly reflecting a player's current performance.


WELCOME TO THEIR WORLD: Jose Maria Olazabal was elected, via the international ballot, to the World Golf Hall of Fame. The 43-year-old Spaniard has claimed two Masters titles among his 23 world-wide victories. He also has an 18-8-5 Ryder Cup record in seven appearances.
Backspin If I allowed it to, the World Golf Hall of Fame would drive me crazier than Colonel Kurtz. There are so many things wrong with the election process, Ross Perot makes more sense. That being said, Olazabal is definite Hall-of-Fame material and deserves to be enshrined ' in seven years.


DON'T CALL IT A COMEBACK: Nancy Lopez announced that she plans on playing around 10 events on the LPGA in 2010. Lopez, 52, last played on tour in '07, last made a cut in '02, and last won an event in '97.
Backspin Lopez admitted that this is a case of empty-nest syndrome, as her youngest daughter is headed off to college next year. Will she win? Of course not. Will she make a cut? Maybe not. Does it matter? Yes, actually. Her presence alone will be great for the tour. However, the LPGA is only playing 29 events this year ' not all full-field ' and will probably contest fewer next season (we know the Corning won't be there). That's a limited amount of opportunities ' much more so than what we see on the PGA Tour ' for players to earn/keep their cards. Lopez didn't break 76 in 20 rounds, from 2005-08. If she plays like that, then she's taking up a valuable spot.


IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Briny Baird won lettuce wraps (with purchase of an entre, of course), courtesy his sponsor P.F. Chang's, for everyone in America when he hit eight of 10 balls off the roof of the San Diego Omni Hotel, 375 feet in the air, into a bulls-eye target 230 yards away in Petco Park. ... Last Saturday was 'Steve Stricker Day' in Edgerton, Wis. ... Less than one week after winning his country's National Open, 22-year-old Irishman Shane Lowry turned professional. ... A judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by Rudy Guiliani's son, Andrew, against Duke University after he was kicked off the golf team.
Backspin This was the perfect date opportunity: Take her to P.F. Chang's; be romantic and say that you'll order for her; tell the server you'll have the sweet-and-sour chicken and she'll have the lettuce wraps. And you'll both have water. Winner! ... Stricker is the most famous person from the town with a current population of 5,312, beating out a guy who wrote a book about a boy and his raccoon (not a joke). ... He will make his pro debut this week at the European Open in Kent, England. ... The judge not only dismissed it, but made jokes while doing so. I'm sure a simple 'no' would have sufficed.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' EDS Byron Nelson Championship
  • Full Coverage ' LPGA Corning Classic
  • Full Coverage ' Senior PGA Championship
  • Full Coverage ' BMW PGA Championship
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