Phil Mickelson must win the Players Championship today or he's done in 2007
The Players Championship is as much the “fifth major” as cupcakes are the fifth food group. In fact, the only people even still wondering about the Players at all are our own Tim McDonald - who rarely moves past 1967 - and Sports Illustrated, which inexplicably decided The Players deserved its own special preview issue this year like the other actual four majors (wonder how big the ad buy was for Tim Finchem).
With that said, Phil Mickelson’s entire 2007 season depends on him pulling it together to win the Players today. Not because the Players Championship itself means anything (there are some Scrabble tournaments that could hold more cachet).
Because Mickelson needs to win to have any chance to do anything that does matter this season.
No win and Mickelson can forget the U.S. Open, the British (though he usually has no shot there anyways) and even The PGA. It’s seems almost absurd to peg an entire year on one round of golf. But that’s the situation Mickelson put himself into.
When it comes to golf though, it’s win the Players or move on to 2008 for Mickelson. And who knows what will be in Phil’s mind by 2008.
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We saw evidence yesterday that the swing changes aren't fully ingrained.
Way too early in the season to make such a prediction.
And how many times has Phil come back off the mat after taking a beating? A bunch.
I'm sure Mickelson isn't too worried about Baldwins opinion of his 2007 season.
When Tiger experienced his train wreck at the Bay Hill about two months ago, you accused him of not giving a GD, losing interest, and generally "bagging it."
You further said that when Tiger felt he could no longer win, he didn't care where he finished, and that the thought that he always gives it his best regardless of where he is in the tournament was a myth , the creation of IMG.
But yesterday, after four holes of the final round, Woods was seven over par, obviously out of any contention, and destined not to finish in even in the top thirty.
If he had any propensity to lose interest and to just play out the string, that would have been the time and place to do it. His play had been mediocre at best all week, so nobody expected anything great from him.
We both no what he did then, five birdies and an eagle in his final fourteen holes to finish on a positive note.
Sure he didn't win, no one wins them all. He didn't even put his name on the first three pages of the leaderboard.
But one thing he did prove: He NEVER bags it , and he always gives it his best effort. A lot of fans were out early to see Woods play even if he was going nowhere. He gave them a late-round exhibition of the way a real pro plays the game whether in contention or not.
Completely different situation than Bay Hill. At Bay Hill he had a chance to win on Sunday until he didn't birdie the par 5 and 3 jacked the next hole. At the Players he was just trying to have a decent last round.
It is pointless to carry on a discussion that has no parameters
But I'll ask you these questions: Do you believe that a consummate professional like Woods would become disinterested and just go through the motions after falling behind in the latter part of Sunday's round?And, do you believe that Tiger tries harder when he is out of contention and just is going for a decent final round? And finally, do you think it is possible for a man like Woods to have the record he has if either or both of the preceding premeses were true?
OK, the discussion is ended.
Incidentally, there have been several "Woods is in a slump" blogs on these threads already this year.
Tiger is not my favorite golfer or person by any means. Most of the time he comes off as cocky and even arrogant.
Also, particularly galling are the sycophantic golf announcers who can't help themselves when he is playing or even not playing from singing his praises. At the Players', Kelly actually said that she gave Woods an excellent chance of winning the tournament when he was nine shots back going ito the weekend.
Still, like him or not, his play so far this year has been on the same level as the rest of his career on most occasions. I'll agree that his driving has been erratic at times.
But his fairway ironsand putting are among the best on tour, that cannot be denied.
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