Punch Shot: How many career majors will Phil win?

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 23, 2013, 12:30 pm

In light of Phil Mickelson's recent triumph at the 142nd Open Championship giving him his fifth major, our writers debate how many he will finish with in his career.


Phil Mickelson will end his career with six major championships.

Hope I’m wrong. Hope he wins more.

Lefty will win another Masters before his career is complete and it’ll give him as many green jackets as Tiger Woods. In an era dominated by these two men it’d only be fitting for Mickelson to end his career even with Woods in at least one category.

A U.S. Open victory is a toss up. I wrote this last month following Mickelson’s loss at Merion: If the golf gods had a heart, they’d allow Phil Mickelson to win the U.S. Open next year at Pinehurst, the place where he first finished second (1999) in the epic finish against Payne Stewart. Then again, if the golf gods had a heart, Mickelson would already have collected at least one Open crown.

Still feel the same way. It’d be great for Mickelson to win the career Grand Slam, something nine years ago seemed impossible because he had won precisely zero majors. But Lefty has come a long way in a short time, and is playing some of the best golf in his career. Almost nothing he does from now until the end of his PGA Tour career would surprise me.

He could win the PGA Championship in three weeks.


Phil Mickelson will win six majors because he’s motivated, but it doesn’t seem likely he will add to his Grand Slam collection after that. It won’t be a lack of talent that strands him at a half dozen, it will be missing inspiration.

Lefty will hit a wall when he finally wins the U.S. Open – quite likely next June when the national championship returns to Pinehurst, site of his first heartbreak. The victory, when and wherever it happens, will move Mickelson into rare air, making him the sixth player to claim the career Grand Slam.

It’s hard to imagine Mickelson, whose focus has been known to waiver, summiting the ultimate major mountain only to start a trip up the next peak.

“If I’m able to win the U.S. Open and complete the career Grand Slam, I think that that’s a sign of the complete, great player,” he said on Sunday following his victory at the Open Championship, the one major that had a “round peg in a square hole” feel to it for Lefty.

Over time Mickelson learned to play links golf, just as it stands to reason that after six runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open he’d be prepared to secure the last piece to his major puzzle. Beyond that, however, all bets are off.



Two more? Why not? If he bags Nos. 6 and 7, it would mean only six golfers in history would have more major hardware than Lefty. But hey, in the wake of his game-changing victory at Muirfield, the possibilities are limitless.

In coming years, his flexibility will decrease, and so will his distance. But at 43 – an age when most pros’ strokes begin to betray them – Phil is putting better than he ever has, eliminating what had appeared to be an early onset of the yips. That alone means he’ll be a factor in every major he enters, provided he’s fit and healthy.

But his best chances to win another major (and complete the career grand slam) are at next year’s U.S. Open at Pinehurst, where all of his national-championship heartbreak began in ’99. Light rough and sloping greens? You can bet Lefty will be a factor there. Same at the Masters, his favorite tournament of the year, where he shows up each April believing he can win. That won’t change deep into his late 40s, and his record there – only one finish outside the top 30 since 1997 – suggests that even a slightly diminished long game could still produce a fourth green jacket. And, yes, even more majors.


I’ll say Phil Mickelson finishes his career with six major titles, but all I really know is that the final number will be at least five and less than 18. At least, I’m pretty sure about that last part.

Trying to predict anything about Mickelson’s career has always been an exercise in futility. As if we needed further evidence, let’s see a show of hands for which of you had ever predicted he’d win an Open Championship. OK, now put your hands down and extinguish the flames on your pants.

At 43, he isn’t showing any signs of breaking down anytime soon, so it’s hard to believe that he won’t be seriously in the mix for at least another half-decade, giving him 21 more major starts, including the upcoming PGA Championship.

I’m already on record in a Punch Shot from last month saying that I didn’t think he would ever win a U.S. Open, a tournament at which he’s been snakebitten to the tune of a half-dozen runner-up results. I’d gladly be wrong about that one if it means watching history unfold – and it would: Mickelson would become the sixth player to achieve the career Grand Slam if he finally breaks through at the year’s second major.

I’ll sort of compromise – with myself, if not anyone else – and say that Mickelson wins one more major to tie Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo. But the truth is none of us ever know what to expect from him. That won’t change anytime soon.


Phil Mickelson is predictable only in his unpredictability.

What will Phil do next? How about win another Masters and complete the career Grand Slam with a U.S. Open breakthrough? With seven major championship titles, he would equal the totals Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Gene Sarazen ended their careers with.

It’s total guesswork, but there would be something fitting about Mickelson equaling Palmer’s major championship work. The go-for-broke mentality that marked so much of Mickelson’s career is an echo from Palmer’s day. So is the way Mickelson goes out of his way to connect with his fans.

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Davies leads Inkster after Day 1 of Senior LPGA Champ.

By Associated PressOctober 16, 2018, 1:10 am

FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Laura Davies opened with a 4-under 68 despite finishing with two bogeys Monday, giving her a one-shot lead over Juli Inkster after Round 1 of the Senior LPGA Championship.

Davies, who earlier this year won the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, had a lost ball on the par-5 18th hole on The Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort. She still salvaged a bogey in chilly, windy weather that had the 55-year-old from England bundled up in a blanket between shots.

Inkster, runner-up to Davies at the Senior Women's Open, made eagle on the closing hole for a 69.

Jane Crafter was at 70. Defending champion Trish Johnson opened with a 73.

Temperatures were in the high 40s, but the damp air and wind made it feel even colder.

Inkster made a bogey on the 17th hole by missing the green with a 9-iron.

''As old as I am, I still get made and I crushed that drive on 18,'' said Inkster, who followed with a 3-wood to 15 feet to set up her eagle.

The 54-hole event concludes Wednesday.

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Miller to retire from broadcast booth in 2019

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 15, 2018, 9:14 pm

After nearly 30 years in the broadcast booth, Johnny Miller is ready to hang up his microphone.

Following a Hall of Fame playing career that included a pair of major titles, Miller has become one of the most outspoken voices in the game as lead golf analyst for NBC Sports. But at age 71 he has decided to retire from broadcasting following the 2019 Waste Management Phoenix Open.

“The call of being there for my grandkids, to teach them how to fish. I felt it was a higher calling,” Miller told GolfChannel.com. “The parents are trying to make a living, and grandparents can be there like my father was with my four boys. He was there every day for them. I'm a big believer that there is a time and a season for everything.”

Miller was named lead analyst for NBC in 1990, making his broadcast debut at what was then known as the Bob Hope Desert Classic. He still remained competitive, notably winning the 1994 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at age 46, but made an indelible mark on the next generation of Tour pros with his frank and candid assessment of the action from some of golf’s biggest events.

Miller’s broadcasting career has included 20 U.S. Opens, 14 Ryder Cups, nine Presidents Cups, three Open Championships and the 2016 Olympics. While he has teamed in the booth with Dan Hicks for the past 20 years, Miller’s previous on-air partners included Bryant Gumbel, Charlie Jones, Jim Lampley and Dick Enberg.

His farewell event will be in Phoenix Jan. 31-Feb. 3, at a tournament he won in back-to-back years in 1974-75.

“When it comes to serving golf fans with sharp insight on what is happening inside the ropes, Johnny Miller is the gold standard,” said NBC lead golf producer Tommy Roy. “It has been an honor working with him, and while it might not be Johnny’s personal style, it will be fun to send him off at one of the PGA Tour’s best parties at TPC Scottsdale.”

Miller was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 1998 after a playing career that included wins at the 1973 U.S. Open at Oakmont and The Open in 1976 at Royal Birkdale. Before turning pro, he won the 1964 U.S. Junior Amateur and was low amateur at the 1966 U.S. Open at Olympic, where he tied for eighth at age 19.

Born and raised in San Francisco, Miller now lives in Utah with his wife, Linda, and annually serves as tournament host of the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, Calif.

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Randall's Rant: Tiger vs. Phil feels like a ripoff

By Randall MellOctober 15, 2018, 7:45 pm

Usually, you have to buy something before you feel like you were ripped off.

The wonder in the marketing of Tiger vs. Phil and “The Match” is how it is making so many people feel as if they are getting ripped off before they’ve shelled out a single penny for the product.

Phil Mickelson gets credit for this miscue.

Apparently, the smartest guy in the room isn’t the smartest marketing guy.

He was a little bit like that telemarketer who teases you into thinking you’ve won a free weekend getaway, only to lead you into the discovery that there’s a shady catch, with fine print and a price tag.

There was something as slippery as snake oil in the original pitch.

In Mickelson’s eagerness to create some excitement, he hinted back during The Players in May about the possibility of a big-money, head-to-head match with Woods. A couple months later, he leaked more details, before it was ready to be fully announced.

So while there was an initial buzz over news of the Thanksgiving weekend matchup, the original pitch set up a real buzzkill when it was later announced that you were only going to get to see it live on pay-per-view.

The news landed with a thud but no price tag. We’re still waiting to see what it’s going to cost when these two meet at Shadow Creek in Las Vegas, but anything that feels even slightly inflated now is going to further dampen the original enthusiasm Mickelson created.

Without Woods or Mickelson putting up their own money, this $9 million winner-take-all event was always going to feel more like a money grab than real competition.

When we were expecting to see it on network or cable TV, we didn’t care so much. Tiger's and Phil’s hands would have felt as if they were reaching into corporate America’s pockets. Now, it feels as if they’re digging into ours.

Last week, there was more disappointing news, with the Las Vegas Review-Journal reporting that tickets won’t be sold to the public, that the match at Shadow Creek will only be open to select sponsors and VIPs.

Now there’s a larger insult to the common fan, who can’t help but feel he isn’t worthy or important enough to gain admittance.

Sorry, but that’s how news of a closed gate landed on the heels of the pay-per-view news.

“The Match” was never going to be meaningful golf in any historical sense.

This matchup was never going to rekindle the magic Tiger vs. Phil brought in their epic Duel at Doral in ’05.

The $9 million was never going to buy the legitimacy a major championship or PGA Tour Sunday clash could bring.

It was never going to be more than an exhibition, with no lingering historical significance, but that was OK as quasi silly-season fare on TV on Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 23), the traditional weekend of the old Skins Game.

“The Match” still has a chance to be meaningful, but first and foremost as entertainment, not real competition. That’s what this was always going to be about, but now the bar is raised.

Pay per view does that.

“You get what you pay for” is an adage that doesn’t apply to free (or already-paid for) TV. It does to pay per view. Expectations go way up when you aren’t just channel surfing to a telecast. So the higher the price tag they end up putting on this showdown, the more entertaining this has to be.

If Phil brings his “A-Game” to his trash talking, and if Tiger can bring some clever repartee, this can still be fun. If the prerecorded segments wedged between shots are insightful, even meaningful in their ability to make us understand these players in ways we didn’t before, this will be worthwhile.

Ultimately, “The Match” is a success if it leaves folks who paid to see it feeling as if they weren’t as ripped off as the people who refused to pay for it. That’s the handicap a history of free golf on TV brings. Welcome to pay-per-view, Tiger and Phil.

Celia Barquin Arozamena Iowa State University athletics

Trial date set for drifter charged with killing Barquin Arozamena

By Associated PressOctober 15, 2018, 7:28 pm

AMES, Iowa – A judge has scheduled a January trial for a 22-year-old Iowa drifter charged with killing a top amateur golfer from Spain.

District Judge Bethany Currie ruled Monday that Collin Richards will stand trial Jan. 15 for first-degree murder in the death of Iowa State University student Celia Barquin Arozamena.

Richards entered a written not guilty plea Monday morning and waived his right to a speedy trial. The filing canceled an in-person arraignment hearing that had been scheduled for later Monday.

Investigators say Richards attacked Barquin on Sept. 17 while she was playing a round at a public course in Ames, near the university campus. Her body was found in a pond on the course riddled with stab wounds.

Richards faces life in prison without the possibility of parole if convicted.