with Robert Bicknell
Before I start this week’s column, the funniest line I ever
heard to describe Jim Furyk’s golf swing is... "it resembles an octopus
falling out of a tree." I believe that was coined by David Feherty, but I’m
not sure. Still... a very funny line.
What a difference a week makes could become the rallying cry for
Phil Mickelson, but in truth, it should be "what a difference a change of
Mickelson suffered a literal meltdown the week before at the
Barclay’s tournament in Singapore due to the heat and humidity, then rallied
to pick up a "hard-fought" win in China the following week.
The difference was the weather.
I would be the first one to agree that some players simply
perform better under different conditions than others. Personally speaking, this
time of year in Ha Noi is my peak playing condition. Other times of the year it
is either too hot or too cold for me to play well.
When it gets to the point where I have to trade in the sweater
for a jacket, its time to put the clubs into the closet for the year.
This was not the case when I was younger as I loved all seasons,
hot, cold and muddy... especially muddy. Yet as you get older, your body changes
a bit and cannot handle extreme temperatures as easily as it used to.
Carrying extra poundage doesn’t exactly help matters either.
I think another difference is the transition season because in
New England, we have a few months of spring and autumn, whereas in Ha Noi the
transition is about six hours... so you really never have time to slowly adapt.
Now, I put the words "hard-fought" in quotes earlier
because the only person Mickelson was fighting against was himself after
dropping five shots over the last seven holes, including one into the lake off
the tee on 18, before finishing with a bogey and a 76.
Mickelson also got a little help from the official, who was too
busy taking a pee to notice how slow their group was. They already got a warning
at the 5th hole and could’ve easily received another one on the 13th when
Mickelson took his sweet time hacking his way to a double bogey.
But he really should’ve gotten nailed after taking almost five
minutes to decide what to do on the 15th green. After looking at the putt from
every angle, Mickelson finally opted to hit a flop-shot from the green’s
surface to the flagstick, which was way down at the bottom slope.
When watching it, all I could think of was some of our slower
players here using it as a justification for their own slow play on the greens.
"Hey, Mickelson took five minutes to hit that shot in the
tournament in China, so why are you in my face for taking three minutes to play
I really hesitate to say "the fix was in" because we
all know that’s not the case, but rather a poor choice of decisions by some of
Such as when Vijay Singh, who finished tied fifth, was allowed
to take what many believe was an incorrect penalty drop on the 18th hole during
the third round.
His second shot landed in water some 30 yards right of the green
but at no time did it cross the fairway, yet the officials allowed him to take a
drop 90 yards from the flag but more than 150 yards from a spot further down the
hole from where he should have played the penalty shot.
Sweden’s Niclas Fasth was so pissed off about it that he made
the point during his last round of going over to study the position where Singh
had been on the 18th a day earlier.
Such is life. Officials are human too...
Jeff Puchalski reminded me that "dropping shots and then
battling back is what makes a champion" and I would normally agree, except
when it involves Mickelson. There’s just something about this guy that
If you want to talk about "championship spirit, Westwood’s
final-round 67 included six inward-nine birdies and four in succession from the
I’d like to see what Mickelson could do at the Gannon Viet Nam
Open Championship in Phan Thiet...
He’d melt. — VNS