Wie Mickelson and Other Thoughts

By Kraig KannJanuary 23, 2004, 5:00 pm
On Tuesday nights Sprint Pre-Game the conversation centered around a 14-year old whos taking a week off, and a 33-year old whos taking more on than just this week.
 
Michelle Wie stomped around the Sony Open like shed been playing the game forever and playing most of that forever with the guys.
 
My take on Michelle is quite simple. The props are most-deserved and well-earned. And whats all the negative fuss about? Since when do we need to waste space or oxygen talking negatively about the opportunity she was given or the possibilities that might come because of her fantastic display? The circus talk is just a bit overboard.
 
Are we, as a collective group of golf fanatics, not in favor of growth in our sport? If Michelle brought more folks to the course to watch the tournament - was that bad? If more youngsters pick up the game because of what the 14-year old accomplished ' is that not a good thing?
 
If either of my young daughters finds inspiration in watching Wies explosive athletic ability and electric smile while playing against the best players in the world (albeit men) then I say, Where next! Remember the PGA Tour slogan Anythings Possible? Michelle proved it. Isnt that what we want our kids to believe?
 
My take on Phil Mickelson is more optimistic than some. Ive talked with a few players on the PGA Tour who feel as though his climb back to status among the legitimate threats to Tiger will cause some serious leg pain. The theory centered on his love for length and his disdain for conformity. Look at his stats from a year ago. They were un-lefty-like to say the least. I believe Mickelson himself called his play from 130 yards and in pathetic. His world ranking took a tumble from second to 16th. Need any more of a wake-up call? Not when youre talented enough to reach the top.
 
Truth be told, and Phil told it Tuesday in his press conference from the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Mickelson and his wife Amy survived more than just bad stats a year ago. The birth of their child nearly cost Lefty his wife and his newborn. So tell me that wouldnt cause you to lose some focus. Losing your golf ball off the tee is one thing. Losing your every day world is another. Golf is just a game. Remember?
 
And because of that, I say Phil has something more to play for. If Tiger finds motivation in the smallest of things, Phil can certainly find some extra fight for something big like his family. Mickelson should win at least twice every year. And this year, I think hell do just that. By the way, Wednesday Mickelson took the 3-wood out of his bag in favor of a 1-iron, and geared down his golf ball as well. In the hope of finding more control, he might just leave the Hope with a win.
 
Here are a few other things.. 2004 from where I sit:
 
1. Geoff Ogilvy and Pat Perez will have breakthrough years.
 
2. Paul Stankowski and Tommy Tolles will have comeback years.
 
3. Chad Campbell will have a Ryder Cup year.
 
4. Zach Johnson may actually surpass lofty expectations.
 
5. Fellow Nationwide grads Bo Van Pelt and Ryan Palmer are more than capable.
 
6. Hal Sutton becomes a television star at ABC.
 
7. Steve Flesch is doing the same here at The Golf Channel.
 
8. Last year was no fluke for Kenny Perry.
 
9. Is there a tougher hombre than Jerry Kelly?
 
10. Is there a quieter budding star than Briny Baird?
 
Is there anything better than speculation? Thats whats so great about this game. We never know er make that, Wie never know, now do Wie? See ya late Sunday on the Sprint Pre-Game after TGCs coverage of the Champions Tours Mastercard Championship.
 
Email your thoughts to Kraig Kann
 
Related links:
  • Sprint Pre Game Home
  • Full Coverage - Bob Hope Chrysler Classic
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.