Here Come the Slump Mongers
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.
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 do 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.
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.
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.
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, based 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.
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.
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.
Stephen 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 and work on his body mass.
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.
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 (Michelle) Wie. She needs to grow up and learn she is not the only player on the LPGA.
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 a bit and, yes, shes growing up.
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Koepka's game 'where it should be' even after injury
AVONDALE, La. – Brooks Koepka didn’t look rusty Thursday while making six birdies in the first round of the Zurich Classic.
Making his first start in four months because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, Koepka and partner Marc Turnesa shot a 5-under 67 in fourballs at TPC Louisiana.
“It felt good,” Koepka said afterward. “It was just nice to be out here. I played pretty solid.”
The reigning U.S. Open champion felt soreness in his wrist the week after he won the Dunlop Phoenix in the fall. He finished last at the Hero World Challenge in December and then the following month at the Tournament of Champions before shutting it down.
He only began practicing last week and decided to commit to the Zurich Classic after three solid days at Medalist. He decided to partner with one of his friends in South Florida, Marc Turnesa, a former PGA Tour winner who now works in real estate.
Koepka hasn’t lost any distance because of the injury – he nearly drove the green on the 355-yard 16th hole. He’s planning to play the next two weeks, at the Wells Fargo Championship and The Players.
“I feel like I’m playing good enough to be right where I should be in April,” he said. “I feel good, man. There’s nothing really wrong with my game right now.”
Like a tattoo: Ko shares early Mediheal lead
Lydia Ko put herself in early position Thursday to try to extend her birthday celebration through Sunday at the LPGA Mediheal Championship.
Ko, who turned 21 on Tuesday, is off to a strong start at Lake Merced Golf Club, where she has a lot of good memories to draw upon as she seeks to regain the winning form that made her the greatest teen phenom in the history of the women’s game.
With a 4-under-par 68, Ko moved into a four-way tie for the lead among the morning wave in the first round. I.K. Kim, Jessica Korda and Caroline Hedwall also opened with 68s.
All Ko has to do is look at her right wrist to feel good about returning to San Francisco. That’s where she tattooed the date April 27, 2014, in Roman numerals. That’s how she commemorated her Swinging Skirts victory at Lake Merced, her first title as an LPGA member. She won there again the following year.
“This is a golf course where I've played well,” Ko said. “The fans have been amazing. They’ve been super supportive every single time I've come here, even since I played the U.S. Juniors here.”
Ko made it to the semifinals of the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Lake Merced in 2012.
“It just brings back a lot of great memories,” she said.
Ko got this week off to a good start with friends from South Korea and New Zealand flying to California to surprise her on her birthday. She was born in South Korea and grew up in New Zealand.
“Turning 21 is a huge thing in the United States,” Ko cracked. “I’m legal now, and I can do some fun things.”
Ko is looking to claim her 15th LPGA title and end a 21-month winless spell. Her ball striking was sharp Thursday, as she continues to work on improvements under her swing coach, Ted Oh. She hit 11 of 14 fairways and 16 of 18 greens in regulation.
“My ball striking's been getting better these last few weeks, which has been really nice,” Ko said at week’s start. “But then I've been struggling with putting, which was the aspect of the game that was going really well. I feel like the pieces are there, and just, sometimes, the hardest thing is to kind of put all those pieces together. Just have to stay patient, I know there are a lot of good things happening.”
Watch: Rose drops trou despite gator danger
We all know how fashion-conscious pro golfers are, and sometimes that even trumps modesty.
Take Justin Rose, whose tee shot on the par-3 third hole in Thursday's opening round of the Zurich Classic found the water. But the ball was close enough to shore for Rose to try to play it. Not wanting to get his light-colored pants dirty - what is up with all the white pants on Tour these days, anyway? - he took them off to play the shot.
If there were any gators in the water hazard - and this being Louisiana, there almost certainly were - they showed no interest in the Englishman.
It was only appropriate that Rose should strip down for a shot, as his partner, Henrik Stenson, famously did the same thing (to an even greater degree) at Doral in 2009.
Finally, just to provide some closure, Rose failed to get up and down.
Like father like son: Bring Your Child to Work Day
ORLANDO, Fla. – Today is Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day at Golf Channel, where everything is fun and games until your child promptly says something that embarrasses you beyond belief. It’s only happened six times today. So far.
My daughter, 12, is in middle school and feels like she’s too big for this sort of shindig. But my son Brady, 11, was all in. The deal was that he could spend the day with me, I’d take him to McDonald’s for lunch, but he had to write a golf story of some sort for GolfChannel.com.
Here is his unedited work, in all its glory:
By BRADY COFFIN
My name is Brady Coffin and I play golf. I started at the age of 4 years old. My two favorite golfers are Jordan Spieth and Tiger Woods. They are really good golfers and every time I watch them they always give me tips.
My dad Jay Coffin is the best editor of Golf Channel and always gave me tips when I first put the golf club in my hand. I had my very first par in Hilton Head when I was 7 years old. I am on the Drive, Chip and Putt commercial and I was in a movie where I played a young Ben Hogan. My favorite golf course is Royal Blue in the Bahamas.
I have won many golf tournaments and I am going to play in another tournament next month. I have made a couple of birdies. I am going to play in the PGA Junior League this summer.
At the Golf Channel I get to meet new people and play many games. One of the amazing people I met was Mr. Damon Hack. He is on the Morning Drive show and was very nice to me. Damon has been playing golf for 25 years and his favorite golfer growing up was Tiger Woods.
He loves working at Golf Channel.
“It gives me the opportunity to talk and write about the sport that I love. It’s a sport that I can play with my boys. It’s a sport that I can watch on television. It’s a sport that teaches great life lessons. I couldn’t ask for a better job,” Damon said to me.
(P.S. I will be better than Jordan Spieth.)