Douglas Han July 26, 2013
Something is wrong with Phil Mickelson’s career.
A week of reflection after his Open Championship victory leaves one with a strange feeling. Objectively, his career record approaches and meets those of the all time greats. He is also the best interview in golf providing non-pat answers and showing intelligence, humor and appropriately timed frustration. But there is one thing the totals, statistics and sabermetricians cannot do: determine how we feel about a player and his career.
Mickelson does not feel like one of the greats. Numbers on a page and on the scorecard do not alone determine the greatness of a player. Although golf is an individual sport, the opposition counts.
The numbers are there. Phil Mickelson has established a career surpassed only by a handful of players in the history of golf. He is the last amateur to win a PGA Tour event back in 1991. He has an astounding forty-two PGA Tour victories and five major championships. Mickelson may ultimately win a career grand slam if he manages to finally win the U.S. Open, a tournament for which he has a record six second place finishes.
With his Open Championship victory, he even has a signature round finishing with an amazing four birdies in the last six holes – all while others wilted in the tough conditions. He grabbed the Open by the scruff of the neck and threw it in the trunk of his car. There are no asterisks: this victory was on historic Muirfield, a course that only permits players with Hall of Fame pedigree to tame its mane. Mickelson is now within the top 10 in career PGA Tour wins and from a modern standpoint (players born after World War I), behind only Nicklaus, Woods, Palmer, and Casper in career wins.
But something is missing.
Mickelson brings to mind another great athlete from an individual sport: Larry Holmes.
March 20, 2013
AN ANALYSIS OF RYDER CUP CAPTAIN'S PICKS OVER THE PAST 20 YEARS
Tom Watson announced today that he is reducing his 2014 Ryder Cup captain’s picks from 4 to 3. The numbers show he should be doing the opposite.
Over the last 20 years, the captain’s picks have greatly outperformed the players that get automatic spots on the U.S. Ryder Cup teams.
Watson’s decision seems to be based on fairness. He stated, “I think giving players the opportunity to earn a spot on merit is the right thing to do.” While this is a noble sentiment, the statistics suggests the captain’s intuition and subjective judgment may be the better approach. In a way, the numbers suggest the the U.S. should not want him to be fair, the U.S. should want him to be Tom Watson!
Two recent events and reactions have shown the PGA Tour is in need of some leadership.
The PGA Tour has completely bungled its recent responses to performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) and the proposed anchoring ban on putters. These two issues provided the PGA Tour with a golden opportunity to be decisive and take a leadership role, not only golf, but sports as a whole.
Instead, the PGA Tour punted.
If it seems like the PGA Tours responses on these issues were wishy-washy and weak, it is because they were. I don’t claim to be an expert in leadership, but like the Supreme Court once said about hard-core pornography, “I know it when I see it.” With the PGA Tour, I don’t see it.
Fortunately, all is not lost. There is a source in professional golf with the authority and power to show the necessary leadership.
Vijay Singh’s admission last week of using the deer antler spray has raised the question of the use of performance enhancing drugs (PEDs) in professional golf. Singh has vehemently denied that he knew that the deer antler spray contained any banned substance (the substance being Insulin Growth Factor known as IGF-1).
Fair or unfair for Singh, like any athlete that has been associated with PEDs, it raises the question whether Singh has used PEDs at any other point in his career. TheTeeSheet examines the arguments for and against.
In this article, the use of PEDs in golf is considered and examined. A career comparison between Singh PGA wins and Barry Bonds HRs is considered and examined in the context of their peers.
TheTeeSheet examines PED use and how do these comparisons measure against the other top home run hitters and PGA Tour winners.
After the initial thrill a couple years back of having golf included into the Olympic games, it took the self-proclaimed cranky old guy to set thing straight.
When asked about golf in the Olympics, Tom Watson said this:
“I don’t like to throw cold water on it but I don’t think it really ought to be in the Olympic games. We’ve got our most important championships. And then, y’know to me, I guess maybe adding one every four years is not that much more. But, I still kind of think Olympics is track and field and not golf to be honest with you. That’s the way I look at the Olympics. Throw swimming in there … [with] track and field. That’s the Olympics. All the other sports, they have their own tours.”
In the same press conference, Watson does joke about being the cranky old guy – but that doesn’t make him wrong. Let’s set aside the initial excitement of having Tiger and Rory et alfight it out for a gold medal. Is golf and Olympic sport? What really is an Olympic sport and the essence of what make the Olympics compelling?
Last Updated November 27, 2012
TheTeeSheet has been on the record for a long time as being against the long putter or basically anything that makes golf look like a sport that belongs in a retirement home or ocean cruise.
Let's take a look at where everyone else stand. We'll divide this up as follows
Check out TheTeeSheet's original call to ban the long putter!.
It is about time.