When asked about Corey Pavin’s penalty in the U.S. Senior Open, Sobel appreciated how Pavin handled the situation but added that it is unfortunate that players who are on television get penalized for things that others do not simply because a TV replay is available. Sobel said that he would not be surprised if a couple of players did the same thing that Pavin did but did not get penalized simply due to the lack of a TV replay. The better players get scrutinized, criticized, and penalized much more often because they are on TV but at the same time, Sobel does not want every player to have a camera on them on every shot because golf will become nothing more than post-round instant replay.
Phil Mickelson has been saying for a while that he has been playing well but he has not been able to put everything together. The fact that he is playing well in the second round in Scotland does not surprise Sobel based on everything that Phil has been saying lately. Sobel added that he is surprised that a player as creative as Phil is has not had much success in The Open Championship or for that matter on links courses in the past although he has had some recent success. Phil finished runner-up at Royal St. George’s in 2011 and Sobel would not be surprised if Phil contended this year at Royal Lytham.
In his second visit to Friday’s edition of Morning Drive, Sobel began with how Steve Stricker got off to a slow start on Thursday before ending up with 65. Stricker always seems to play well at TPC Deere Run so what he did on Thursday was not only expected but also a bit boring to be honest. Sobel thinks that there is definitely some pressure on Stricker to win this week to keep the win streak at four years in a row but when asked if he would win, Sobel said maybe.
Heading into The Open Championship, we have had nine straight first-time Major winners and when it comes to picking a 10th straight first-timer, Sobel threw out the name of Francesco Molinari. Francesco Molinari is a very steady player who is playing great golf right now and interestingly, many thought that his brother Edoardo would be the better Molinari on the course but it is looking as though Francesco may the better player for the long term.
When you look at past Champions at Royal Lytham, you find that there are quality Champions whether it is Seve Ballesteros, Bobby Jones, Bob Charles, or Tom Lehman. There is not a “one-hit wonder” among those Champions in that their win at Lytham was not the only thing that he ever did in his career.
Tiger Woods finished T25 in the 2001 Open Championship at Royal Lytham and Sobel thinks that Tiger could definitely contend next week but for a different reason than in years past. In the past, it was thought that Tiger was most likely to contend if he took driver out of his hands off the tee. However, driving has been his strength this year so driving could end up being the reason that he contends this year.