Every now and then,
something happens in golf that makes you wonder, what is wrong with this
picture?One of those things just
It hit home for me as I was
reading today’s story
by Doug Ferguson of the Associated Press about Phil Mickelson yearning to win this
week’s the Memorial Tournament,
where living legend Jack Nicklaus is
the host.Other than the U.S. Open, the Memorial is about the only significant title in golf on American
soil that Mickelson has yet to win.
Deep down in the story, we
are reminded that ever since Tiger Woods
arrived on the scene, Mickelson has
been relegated to the second most-dominant player on the PGA Tour, perhaps the
world.He has 39 PGA Tour titles
and four majors.Nobody else is
Yet,for all his accomplishments, Mickelson has never won a money title,
never been voted Player of the Year and never been the No. 1 player in the
world golf rankings.
We note this on the very
week when the new No. 1 player in the world is Luke Donald,
a nice man and fine player, but one who has never won a single major and won
only three times on the PGA Tour and three times on the European Tour, most
recently the BMW PGA Championship in
I note this not so much to
disrespect Donald or to criticize
the methodology of the world golf rankings; Donald has, in fact, been a hot and steady player in the past year.
My point is more the
absurdity of what has been denied Mickelson
over the course of his career.No
golfer has labored in the shadows of Tiger
more than Mickelson.If not for Tiger, no golfer could have won more tournaments, more majors, more
money and more respect than Mickelson.
At 41, Mickelson is entering a crucial stretch of his career.He’s still very competitive, but there
is no denying that the buzzer has sounded to commence the fourth quarter.And with distractions such as his own
health issues (arthritis) and his wife’s breast cancer, it’s hard to know how
much Mickelson has left in the tank.
It’s had not to notice that
even with Tiger missing-in-action
for the past 18 months, Mickelson
has been unable to take advantage and finally rise to No. 1 in the world.If he is ever going to do it, now is the
There is a chance I am reading too much into it
but the fact that IMG has
outTiger’s longtime agent, Mark Steinberg, would
seem to speak volumes: specifically that the international management company’s
sense is that the most famous golfer in the world is now irredeemably damaged
IMG, the 800-pound gorilla of
sports management companies, had to know that when Steinberg walked, there is a very good chance Tiger would be right
behind him.In fact, no one should
be surprised if Steinberg hangs his
own shingle starting next week, with Tiger
as his first client.
If you missed it, the news broke Tuesday that Steinberg, the head of IMG’s golf operations in North America,
could not come to terms on an agreement to extend his contract, which expires
in June.Steinberg has been a huge player at IMG for years, with a stable of clients that includes Tiger, Annika Sorenstam and Steve Stricker.Even more intriguing is that word leaked to a couple of well-connected writers
that IMG pretty much offered Steinberg a deal they knew he would
refuse.You know, they wanted
To appreciate the magnitude of Steinberg’s departure, it would help to
have seen him and Tiger interacting
at tournaments over the years.Tiger calls him "Steiny." All smart and smooth, Steiny was never
more than an arm’s length away at all times.
At press conferences, it was a slight nod from Steinberg that would give the okay to commence
the questioning.Another nod from Steinberg was the cue to bring down the
curtain.He advised Tiger on all things in golf and in
life, and his fingerprints are on every endorsement deal Tiger has done for the past 12-plus years.If Tiger
becomes the first billion-dollar athlete, Steinberg deserves his share of the credit. Not surprisingly, he
guarded Tiger like a mama guards her
cubs, controlling any and all access.More than a few golf writers thought of Steinberg as "Dr. No."
personal life went into a tailspin, it was Steinberg
who managed the damage control from behind the scenes – or at least he tried
to.If anything, it was what many
regard as Steinberg’s failure to
control any damage, his bungling of Tiger’s
sordid crisis, that might have made IMG
believe he had become expendable.
Even so, when keeping Tiger Woods as a client hangs in the balance, it’s hard to believe
that IMG wouldn’t have kept Steinberg on so long as Tiger’s career continued to throw off a
steady stream of huge commissions.IMG is not known for leaving money on
the table.However, with his
reputation in tatters and the future of his golf career uncertain because of
one injury and ailment after another, the days of Tiger gushing million-dollar commissions for IMG or any other agent might be entering a downward trend.
All of this is speculation, of course.But the fact is, Steinberg has been the golden boy – dare we say the Tiger Woods of IMG -- for the past decade.If nothing else, his departure is further proof that nothing about Tiger or his career is the same any
You’d have a hard time finding an organization
anywhere in the world that does more valuable or better work than the Red Cross.Buy a sponsorship, a spot or a foursome in the pro-am and you
can feel like you’ve done something worthwhile.If you haven’t played Makefield Highlands, you’re also in for
a treat of a round.
In these tough times, I don’t have to tell you
how charities have to struggle to maintain their levels of contributions.It is not easy for anybody or any
organization, including the Red Cross.
A bunch of area club pros are pitching in to do
their part, offering their time to play.The list of pros is
I hope to see you at Makefield Highlands on May 24.
I don’t have any great stories about Seve Ballesteros.I wish I did.
When I started covering golf full time for The Philadelphia Inquirer, in 1996, the
best years of Seve’s
remarkable career were already behind him.He won the last of his three British Open titles in 1988 and the
latter of his two Masters in 1983.
By the time I began traveling the tournament
wasn’t officially retired but his appearances were few and far between.As a former Masters champion, however, he did enjoy returning to Augusta to
play each year, even if he had become something of a ceremonial golfer.It was there, at one of his final Masters, that I had my only Seve "enocounter," if you want call it that.
I don’t recall the story I was working on that
day; all I remember is that I was trying to get a quote from every big-name
player I could as they made their way from the Augusta National clubhouse to the first tee or the practice putting
green, a distance of about 50 yards.
Getting quotes from players can be a dicey
business, depending on the player (jerk or not a jerk?), the question (can you
tell me about that triple-bogey?), whether they are late and so on and so
forth.Getting blown off by a guy
who never breaks stride or pretends not to hear your question is not uncommon.
What I remember about that particular day is
that I was not having much luck.I
had a few weak quotes in my notebook and a deadline that was looming.I was starting to get a little
Suddenly, there was Seve coming out of the locker
room, headed in my general direction.As always, Seve
had that air about him, that dignity, that look of purpose and he oozed that charisma
that made him popular with other players and especially with the ladies.
I made my move. "Seve," I said, practically blocking his
path."Got a second?"
He stopped, looked me in the eye and listened
as I asked my question.For a
moment, he said nothing, just looked at me.I thought to myself, oh, great, he’s about
to blow me off.But Seve surprised
"Walk with me," he said."I’m going to putt."
We walked together from the locker room, across
the back lawn of the Augusta National
clubhouse, through the thicket of patrons, all the way to the putting green,
talking every step of the way.When
we reached the practice putting green, Seve paused again, speaking for another minute or two,
completing his thoughts and filling my notebook in the process.
When he was finished, I thanked him. He smiled
and nodded and ducked under the ropes to go putt.
I had what I needed.Elated, I hustled off to the media
center.I remember thinking, What a
gentleman, what a class act.
With the demise of two
publications that used to list charity golf events in the region, MyPhillyGolf is trying to do what we
can to fill that void.If you look
down the left rail of our home page, you will see a link called Charity Event
Nothing would make us feel
more valuable and useful than to fill that page with a long list events from
around the region.All you need is
a charity event and a webpage we can link to.It’s free, no charge.
If you are running a charity
golf event, or you know a friend or a colleague with a charity event to
promote, please alert to our Charity Event
I am sick of calling up the weekly forecast on
my computer and seeing this:
with afternoon showers likely
Don’t even think about it
Sunday:You might get in nine holes before
No kidding, this is the rainiest spring I can
remember in years.I don’t know
that to be an absolute prove-able fact because none of the eight
superintendents (they keep charts and graphs) I’ve called in the past 30
minutes answered their cell phones.My guess is, they couldn’t hear their cell phones over the pumps they
were running to try to get their courses in playable for the weekend.
I suppose I shouldn’t be complaining when half
the South got flattened by tornadoes in the past few days.And, hey, the forecast for tomorrow
(Saturday) looks good.I’ll believe
it when I see it.Heck, at this
point, I’d take Cloudy with a Chance of
Even if I don’t have the actual rain stats at
my fingertips, I know I am not imaging this.Last week I played a round at the GC at Glen Mills with the general
manager, Paul Stuhlmiller.(Naturally, it was spritzing).At one point, I asked Paul if this spring had been as bad
weather-wise as I thought.He
winced like I had touched a nerve and said, "Yes, awful."
Thing is, a tee time is a perishable commodity,
like fruit or an airplane that takes off full of empty seats.Courses will never get that revenue
back.Golf courses are used to
getting iffy weather in March but not so much in mid- to late April.We are getting into the meat of their
Of course, most golf course owners, managers
and superintendents are as optimistic (na•ve?) as farmers.It doesn’t matter if rain or drought or
a swarm of locusts killed last year’s crop, they are farmers to the bone and
they are going to plant again next year.
Now that we are finally
getting some decent golf weather, it seems like a good time to once again draw
your attention to one of the most valuable assets this website has to offer
– The Bausch Collection.
The Bausch Collection, if you haven’t checked it out before, is a
remarkable assemblage of photos of golf courses in the region, both public and
private.There is a link to The Bausch Collection on
the green left rail of the MyPhillyGolf
home page, under Photos.Want to
check out a golf course before you make a tee time?Take a tour via The Bausch Collection.If it’s not there, it might be coming
The Bausch Collection isn’t the official name of the galleries.I dubbed the photos that a year ago,
when the golf addict who shoots them, Villanova chemistry profession Joe Bausch, offered to left us house
them on MyPhillyGolf.I jumped at the chance, recognizing a
good thing when I see one.
I wrote a blog
introducing The Bausch Collection last September, when we had only uploaded
a fraction of the courses Joe has
photographed.Now, we’ve uploaded
them all, except that Joe keeps
adding to the collection.
It is hard to believe that
he shoots these photos with a small point-and-shoot camera, not some $4,000
single lens reflex number like a professional photographer would use.I’ve also played with Joe as he is shooting a course.He does it quickly and discreetly,
without holding up the group.
Anyway, if you haven’t
looked over TheBausch Collection, I recommend you
do so.And if you know of a course that
would be a good addition to the collection, send me an email
and I’ll pass it along to Joe.