April 11, 2010

Kudos to Phil Mickelson for winning his third Masters championship. It was a great weekend of golf at Augusta National, with lots of fireworks on Saturday and Sunday, an ever-changing leaderboard, and a good mix of savvy veterans (Fred Couples) and up-and-comers (Anthony Kim and Nick Watney) to make it all quite entertaining.

If there was one thing that made this particular Masters memorable, it was the vast difference in the worlds (golf and otherwise) seemingly occupied by Mickelson and his chief rival, Tiger Woods, whose shot-making capabilities (particularly off the tee) and his on-course demeanor were equally erratic throughout the weekend.

On one hand you had Mickelson, the people’s choice, his “aw shucks” smile and demeanor readily accessible by a gallery who never failed to cheer him on, and in return, always receiving a smile, a tip of the cap, or a thumbs up in return for their appreciation.

On the other, you had Tiger, who, even while receiving lots of applause and welcome backs from the Augusta patrons, couldn’t keep up the happy, smiling persona past Thursday’s initial round. As the weekend went on, and his control over his game diminished, so did his control over his emotions. Poor shots resulted in one explosive outburst after another, and, from his surly responses to Peter Kostis’ post-round interview questions on Sunday, it seemed clear that Tiger still has some serious demons to deal with. So much for the so-called “new Tiger” his management team had been putting out for media consumption in the weeks leading up to his return to golf.

How could anyone not note the contrast between Tiger’s truly sad situation and Mickelson’s as we watched Phil and his wife Amy’s emotional embrace together, then with their children, to celebrate Phil’s victory. This being Amy’s first visit to a tournament since she was diagnosed with breast cancer over a year ago, only the most cold-hearted soul could not have been moved by the sight of a family finally being able to celebrate something together after a year of stress and anguish facing mortality straight in the face.

There’s such a thing as being a winner and someone who wins golf tournaments. In their own unique ways, and perhaps unknowingly, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods showed us the difference this weekend.

Filed in: Golf & Sports by The Great White Shank at 20:30 | Comments (4)
  1. Great for Phil. As evidenced by his approach on the 13th, he is always going to play on the edge. When he is off, it is incredibly frustrating. But when he is on, he is wonderfully entertaining. Also there is a nice story about him taking his daughter to the hospital Saturday night to check out an injured wrist, on the eve of a major. He obviously has life in perspective.

    And speaking of Tiger … Regardless of how many rehabs, press conferences and commercials he does, he is still the same brooding, self-absorbed Tiger. It would have been gracious, perhaps even Buddha-like for him to congratulate Phil on his victory, but all he could talk about was himself. It’s nice to have him back on the golf course, but let’s not kid ourselves that some kind of metamorphasis has occurred.

    Comment by Goose — April 12, 2010 @ 6:43 am

  2. Spot on target, Goose, better than any other commentary I’ve read thus far in the national media. Thank you for volunteering to perform a similar duty following the U.S Open in June. 🙂

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 12, 2010 @ 8:31 am

  3. …one final note: you’re right about Phil and his devil-may-care, I have this shot in my bag and I’m going to use it attitude. It makes for exciting and exasperating watching, but youcan’t say it isn’t entertaining. It’s why I love to watch Anthony Kim as well – the only way he knows how to play is to go for it. Barring any unforeseen injuries, that guy has a lot of majors in his future. Great belt buckle too, a little of Elvis there.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — April 12, 2010 @ 8:38 am

  4. Phil played great. Nice to see Fred Couples
    & Tom Watson in the competition. Seeing Tiger 3 put was like, well a typical hole for me with
    the Goodboys.

    Comment by Cubby — April 12, 2010 @ 5:50 pm

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