Mickelson's Hall-of-Fame career more than just numbers

By Randall MellNovember 10, 2011, 4:52 pm

If I’m running the World Golf Hall of Fame, I know right where to place Phil Mickelson’s exhibit when it’s unveiled next May.

I rearrange the place so I can put him between Arnold Palmer and Seve Ballesteros.

Thursday’s news that Mickelson was elected into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot leaves us trying to assess where his legacy belongs even though he’s only 41 years old and still driven to build on his record.

Listen to Phil Mickelson on Thursday's 'Morning Drive'

Mickelson has won 39 PGA Tour titles in his career, more than anyone except Sam Snead (82), Jack Nicklaus (73), Tiger Woods (71), Ben Hogan (64), Palmer (62), Byron Nelson (52), Billy Casper (51) and Walter Hagen (45). Mickelson has won three Masters (2004, ’06, ’10), the PGA Championship (2005) and a U.S. Amateur (1990).

And yet Mickelson’s career will be measured in how he won prizes more meaningful than titles and trophies. He won a legion of hearts and minds. He won them with a real knack for mesmerizing us with the spectacular, both spectacular success and spectacular failure. He also won them patiently standing along gallery ropes and signing more autographs than probably anybody but Palmer. He has won them looking so many fans in the eyes, connecting with a smile and a tip of the cap.

“The image of the players and the image of the game is the biggest asset we have,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said sitting with Mickelson at the Hall of Fame announcement Thursday at the Barclays Singapore Open. “Phil has contributed to that in a very positive way.”

As a player, Mickelson will be remembered for playing with a fearless, attacking style.

In that respect, he’s golf’s version of a theme-park ride.

His history of thrills and spills is dizzying.

Mickelson will be remembered as the daredevil who threaded the needle with his impossible shot between the trees from the pine straw at Augusta National's 13th hole on his way to his third Masters’ title last year. It wasn’t the high-percentage shot. It wasn’t even the smart shot. But it was a great shot. He’ll also be remembered as the bedeviled player who knocked his chances of winning the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006 off a hospitality tent at the 72nd hole.

“God, I’m such an idiot,” Mickelson famously said in the aftermath.

Having the nerve to risk making himself look like a fool is part of his appeal.

Like Ballesteros, Mickelson plays with a creative flair seen in few players, with a relish for creating great escapes.

While Mickelson might not be the greatest player of his generation, he may be its most exciting.

There’s a quirky cleverness about his game that also sets him apart, though sometimes he seems to be too clever for his own good. He won the Masters with two drivers in his bag. He lost a U.S. Open with no driver in his bag. Master of the short game, he once played Colonial with five wedges in his bag.

While Mickelson’s critics wonder if he just likes showing off, if there’s too much calculation in everything he does, there’s no denying the signature brilliance he’s brought the game.

When it’s all said and done, the image of Mickelson that may endure more than any other was his hug of his wife, Amy, after winning last year’s Masters. The couple has three children. Almost a year removed from being diagnosed with breast cancer, Amy embraced her husband that day with tears streaming down her face. Mickelson’s mother, Mary, was diagnosed with breast cancer about the same time as Amy.

Through the illnesses of loved ones, through his own diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, Mickelson endures with some big dreams still unfulfilled.

When it’s all said and done, he hopes he’ll have added more memories to his Hall of Fame exhibit.

“To be called a Hall of Famer, that does sound like I’m a little old,” Mickelson said. “Fortunately, I don’t feel old, and hopefully I’ll be able to play quite a bit longer.

“I still want to win a number of golf tournaments. I would like to get to that magic number of 50 wins that few players have done. But, also, finally getting that U.S. Open win would mean a lot to me, as well as would a British Open win, which would conclude the grand slam.

“I came close at the British Open last year at Royal St. George’s. I’ve had five seconds at the U.S. Open. I am going to try to take the knowledge I’ve gained over the years that led to those good performances and see if I can get over the hump.”

And along the way, there’s bound to be more hearts and minds to win.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen:

Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

“Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

“When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

“Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

“Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

“The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

“Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

Christina Kim:

LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

LPGA pro Jennie Lee: