Mickelson’s Latest Swipe At USGA Is All About Grandstanding.

For someone who just a few years ago was perilously proximate to a federal insider trading prosecution, Phil Mickelson has developed a commendable interest in regulatory processes.

This week he’s been in a Twitter snit about a new rule announced by the game’s governing bodies that would reduce the maximum length of a club from 48 inches to 46. That’s about 1.5 inches shorter than Mickelson’s typical gamer driver and shorter still than one he used to win a sixth major championship in May.

“Stupid is as stupid does,” he acerbically tweeted, echoing a well-worn adage from Forrest Gump’s momma. “Really though, are the amateurs trying their best to govern the professional game the stupid ones? Or the professionals for letting them?”

Who among us can’t empathize with an aging stag shorn of shaft length as he tries to keep up with the young bucks? But note how Mickelson repeatedly disparages the governing body’s staff as stupid people doing stupid things. You’d be forgiven for assuming it must have been the USGA’s CEO, Mike Whan, who was taken for $500,000 by a mobbed-up Michigan bookie, or that it was his secretary who hit a moving ball in a U.S. Open then tried to brazen it out as clever strategy.

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Ignore the talk about ‘family’—loyalty between PGA Tour players and caddies has its limits.

As job security goes, PGA Tour caddies enjoy about as much of it as Kim Jong Un’s inner circle, and often alongside an equally capricious man with absolute authority. Only in the manner of their dismissal do caddies have an edge on the Pyongyang cognoscenti.

The attributes Tour players seek in a wingman are as personal as fingerprints. Some require only punctuality and an accurate yardage. Others need more — help reading putts or pulling clubs or being talked off a ledge. There are players who want a friend on the bag, or a proxy psychologist or simply someone to blame. Good caddies know what the boss wants and mold accordingly. And if they’re successful, they’ll gain a solid enough reputation to get another bag when he fires them.

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Dodgy Decisions, Aging Stars And Poor Play Ensure Europe’s Ryder Cup Era Is Over.

A consequence of runaway victories in the Ryder Cup is that the post-mortem commences before the deceased has officially even hit the slab, and so it is with the European team that seems likely destined for defeat Sunday at Whistling Straits.

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Win Or Lose, Ryder Cup Captains Are Out Of A Job. It’s Time To Let Winners Stay.

For all of the uncertainties surrounding the 43rd Ryder Cup — Will Brooks and Bryson bond amid a bruising battle, à la Rocky and Apollo Creed? Will an aggrieved Mrs. Reed use her J-Anon Twitter account to strafe those who forsook her man? — there is one guarantee: regardless of the outcome, Steve Stricker and Padraig Harrington are both out of a job when the closing ceremony concludes.

For one of them, it will be the price of failure. For the other, a bum’s rush despite a job well done.

Two men who will be out of a job after the Ryder Cup.

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PGA Tour Protecting Its Players Shouldn’t Mean Babysitting Bryson DeChambeau.

Jay Monahan earns around $4 million a year, which easily qualifies him as America’s most well-compensated babysitter. Yet it might barely exceed the hourly minimum wage given all of the extra work the PGA Tour commissioner just created for himself.

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U.S. Needs Steve Stricker To Use Picks To Buck Buddy System That Made Him Captain.

By the time Steve Stricker makes his Ryder Cup captain’s picks after next week’s Tour Championship, the COVID-compromised qualification process to determine his troops will have lasted longer than the Siege of Leningrad—924 days to be exact. But Stricker will be announcing more than just six additional names on his roster. His choices will reveal whether the U.S. is investing in its future stars or remains hostage to a faded legend who isn’t eager to cede center stage.

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DeChambeau Maintains Stony Silence, Missing Chance To Hit Reset.

For those keeping count—admittedly a task less onerous than charting his 44 strokes on the final nine holes at the U.S. Open—Friday marked the sixth consecutive round after which Bryson DeChambeau has declined to speak with waiting media. His silent snit dates to the WGC FedEx St. Jude Invitational two weeks ago, when DeChambeau breezily told reporters that he didn’t need the COVID-19 vaccine because he’s healthy and wouldn’t take a shot from someone more needy, ignorance that suggested he reads the news with considerably less intensity than he does his yardage book.

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FedEx Cup Playoffs Protect Top Players And Stifle Cinderella Stories. One Easy Fix Could Change That.

In every other major sport, regular season performance matters about the same in the post-season, which is to say not at all. At best, it earns home field advantage but has no material impact on the remaining action. Only in the PGA Tour’s playoffs is weight still given to what a man accomplished during the last administration.

The FedEx Cup Playoffs began Thursday with The Northern Trust at Liberty National, which sits a 15-minute ferry ride across the Hudson from lower Manhattan. Now in it’s 15th year, the FedEx Cup has undergone more tweaks than a Wall Street trophy wife. And yet it remains a tweak shy of perfection.

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As The Brooks-Bryson Beef Returns To Its Birthplace, It’s Time To Let It Die.

The PGA Tour returns this week to the birthplace of its most engaging tussle in recent memory, even if the most attentive fan would struggle to recall a single shot ever struck at Liberty National Golf Club.

On the morning of the final round of the Northern Trust two years ago—August 11, 2019 — I was standing by the practice putting green with Ricky Elliott and Claude Harmon III, respectively the caddie and (now former) coach of Brooks Koepka, when a clearly vexed Bryson DeChambeau approached and instructed Elliott to tell his boss to make any comments about slow play “to my face.”

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There Are Many Criticisms Of Golf In The Olympics. None Are Medal-Worthy.

Ricky Gervais had a biting comedic commentary that summed up the naysaying and negativity fueling social media. He likened Twitter to a man walking through the town square and seeing a flyer offering guitar lessons. “But I don’t (expletive) want guitar lessons!” the man rages, before dialing the advertised phone number to profanely scream as much at the guitar teacher.

He perfectly captured the essence of social media’s many mediocrities: the narcissistic belief that if it doesn’t matter to them, then it doesn’t matter, period. Hence they respond to tweets or stories with “Who cares?”, demonstrating the degree to which irony escapes the obtuse.

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Grayson Murray’s Alcoholism Raises Question: How Involved Should PGA Tour Be In Personal Problems?

It’s unsurprising that some golf fans with long memories would find it difficult to muster sympathy for Grayson Murray.

He’s an abrasive and ignorant social media presence who once told Black people they wouldn’t be shot by police if they just obeyed the law, and whose infamous Twitter exchange with a high school girl could be generously described as creepy.

Still, it was disheartening to see how frequently respondents to his most recent social media post evidenced the very same lack of empathy that Murray himself has often been accused of.

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Bryson DeChambeau Keeps Losing His Cool. Who Will Be The Adult In the Room?

Back in 2015, a college coach told Golf Channel reporter Ryan Lavner that within five years Bryson DeChambeau, who had just won the U.S. Amateur, would either be No. 1 in the world or in a straitjacket. That DeChambeau currently occupies neither position isn’t to say that both are now beyond the realm of possibility. It simply varies by the week which outcome he seems to advance toward.

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European Tour ‘security’ Around Rory McIlroy A Joke, But No Laughing Matter.

To the extent that we think at all about security issues at golf tournaments, it’s typically in the context of spectators being ejected—justifiably so in instances of unruly behavior, questionably so if it’s because a rabbit-eared player heard a comment he didn’t like.

Security is conspicuous at most PGA Tour events, whether local police departments or companies hired to manage crowds. There’s another layer of security that passes largely unnoticed. High-profile players are assigned a uniformed police officer who does not stray from his side throughout the day. The Tour’s own security personnel also moves between groups.

Compare those protocols to what we witnessed Friday at Scottish Open, when a fan strode onto the 10th tee, snatched a club from Rory McIlroy’s bag, then proceeded to waggle it around for a time as though preparing to hit a shot as McIlroy, Jon Rahm and their caddies stared in disbelief. Eventually an official (one well-stricken in years, based on the video) approached and ushered the trespasser aside. Then two laggardly security officers showed up and frogmarched the man away, making a game attempt at appearing to do a job they had manifestly failed at.

Rory McIlroy’s caddie, Harry Diamond, retrieves a club from the unwelcome visitor.
Continue reading “European Tour ‘security’ Around Rory McIlroy A Joke, But No Laughing Matter.”

Missteps by Mickelson and DeChambeau Expose Attitude That Media Exists To Flatter.

The relationship between professional athletes and the press is fraught by its very nature, moreso in the wake of Naomi Osaka suggesting that media questioning is injurious to her mental health. However, at this week’s Rocket Mortgage Classic, two of golf’s biggest stars seemed more concerned about damage to their pride and ego.

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Complaints About COVID19 Rules Make Players Look Like Whiny One Per Cent.

The Open Championship has long been a bonanza for bellyaching by professional golfers, regardless of where the game’s oldest major is contested. British weather is too fickle (accepted as fact by all but disputatious Scots). British food is too lardaceous (“Do you have any vegetables that aren’t fried?” a former editor once asked a waiter. Answer: “No.”). British water pressure makes showering feel like being peed upon (if only the water were that warm). And that’s all before the capricious linksland bounces that short-circuit the minds of those accustomed to hitting a golf ball through the air and seeing it stop in proximity to where it landed.

This year’s Open at Royal St. George’s should have been this year’s Open at St. Andrews, but because last year’s Open at Royal St. George’s didn’t happen, this year’s Open at St. Andrews has become next year’s Open at St. Andrews, while last year’s Open at Royal St. George’s becomes this year’s. One thing hasn’t changed: the griping. What has changed is that it has commenced much earlier than usual.

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