Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mickelson Feels Slandered

Poor Phil Mickelson. Now he’s complaining about being “publicly slandered” by fellow pros who called him a “cheater” for using an approved, but nonconforming 20-year-old Ping Eye 2 wedge with square grooves. Hello, Phil. You could have avoided the whole mess by not playing with the club. Some people thing Phil is just making a point to poke his finger in the eyes of the PGA Tour and the USGA because a newly designed Callaway wedge was ruled nonconforming. Whatever. The only thing Phil has gotten right in this whole controversy is the need for PGA Tour Commission Tim Finchem to sort it out, which he may do when he meets with players in Los Angeles next week. Let’s see if Mickelson, the face of the PGA Tour now that tiger Woods is in self-imposed exile, has the guts to sue McCarron, a member of the Tour’s Players Advisory Council. By the way, wasn’t that nice of CBS broadcasters Jim Nantz and Nick Faldo to take Phil’s side and criticize Scott McCarron for being “over the top” on his comments about Mickelson? Wonder why they might be in the tank for the PGA Tour?

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Paul Stankowski.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Phil: I'm Not Cheating

Things are heating in the PGA Tour locker rooms. Scott McCarron accused Phil Mickelson of cheating because the left-handed fan darling is using an ancient Ping Eye 2 wedge with square grooves that has been grandfathered in for use in tour events. Mickelson isn’t the first player to find a loophole in the PGA and USGA rules that ban square grooves in tournament play but he’s the most prominent. McCarron called him out at his hometown tournament. “It’s cheating, and I’m appalled Phil has put it into play,” McCarron said. “All of these guys should be ashamed of themselves for doing that.” Good for McCarron. The Ping wedges, which are no longer in production, were given a pass as the result of a lawsuit by the manufacturer against the PGA Tour and the USGA in the early 1990s. Reports indicated that as many as eight players in the field at San Diego were using the old Ping wedges, apparently scrounging them from their garages or off E-Bay. They contend that rules allow the use of the wedges and while they are technically correct, McCarron and other critics contend using the wedges violates the spirit of the game. “I understand that guys are upset about the rule,” Mickelson said. “I’m upset about this rule. I think we need to take it out on the governing bodies, the ones who are making these rules or carrying out these rules. That’s where we need to focus our discontent. To call out a player, I don’t think is correct; we’re just abiding by the rules.” C’mon Phil, do the right thing and put the wedges back in the garage. Unless he does, any victory will be tainted.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Brad Elder.

Adios John Daly

John Daly might be thinking of that old country-western song “You’re Gonna to Miss Me When I’m Gone” when he announce he is “retiring” after missing the cut in San Diego. Message to Big John: Not so much. Daly, the PGA Tour’s perpetual train wreck, said he is done with golf after shooting rounds of 79-71 to miss the cut by eight shots. While it’s commendable that Daly underwent lap band surgery and lost a stunning 115 pounds, he started the 2010 season complaining that he didn’t receive a sponsor’s exemption from the Bop Hope Classic. This from the guy who was suspended by commissioner Tim Finchem for a variety of antics not to mention his habit of WD’ing after bad rounds. As far as I’m concerned, he can take his clown pants and go back to Arkansas and sign autographs at the local Hooters. The Golf Channel deserves blame for being a JD enabler by launching a new reality show “Being John Daly.” You can stick a fork in Daly because he’s done. He hasn’t won a tournament since 2004 and hasn’t finished higher than 188 on the official money list. His official World Golf ranking is No. 416. It’s time for the golf world to forget about John Daly.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Bob Verwey.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Stories to Watch in 2010

Happy New Year! Here are the stories that Mr. Fairway will be watching in 2010.

1. How will Tiger’s off-course adventures affect his golf game? He’s already taken a severe personal hit and lost a number of sponsors. It will be interesting to see if he can put those distractions aside when he returns from his self-imposed hiatus from the game.

2. Players on the professional tours will be using clubs with the new USGA-mandated grooves. Most experts believe the new grooves will impart less spin, especially on wedges and especially on shots from the rough.

3. How will the LPGA fare with a new commissioner, lost sponsors and fewer tournaments? One thing the ladies have going for them is Michelle Wie’s late season victory. If she can sustain a high level of play, golf fans may actually pay attention.

4. Which of the young guns will emerge as the next threat? Irishman Rory McIlroy and Rickie Fowler may be poised to have big years. Will Anthony Kim and Camilo Villegas regain their 2008 form?

5. Can Phil Mickelson, who finished the 2009 season with a flurry, step into the void left by Tiger? Mickelson, who played a limited number of tournaments last year because of his wife’s breast cancer, appears to have recharged his putter and could be poised a huge year.

Hitting range balls while wondering whatever happened to Dewitt Weaver.