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Readers join Mickelson debate

Forget Donovan McNabb. The biggest disappointment in sports this year has to be Phil Mickelson, who has quietly fallen from golf's elite. At last month's Chrysler Championship, Lefty missed the cut with an 80-74, never contending after going 5-over through the first nine holes.

Mickelson will still be among the top 50 on the money list, but his best finish is third (at the Masters), and he's ending the year at a pedestrianpace. Despite the slump, he remains one of the most fan-friendly guys onTour. Inside the ropes, however, Mickelson appears too content with his performance. While Tiger Woods closes the year with another drive toward Player of the Year, Mickelson is trying out for the Toledo Mud Hens. Imagineif McNabb decided to try out for the PGA Tour during a bye week? Philly fans would never forgive him. Fortunately, golf fans are more forgiving. It'll be interesting to see if Mickelson rewards that loyalty next year with a more focused effort.

Feel free to add your comments on this topic, and we'll print a few selected responses below.

Focus, people

You suggest we "Imagine if McNabb decided to try out for the PGA Tour duringa bye week?" I suggest you imagine if Davis Love III went to watch hisdaughter in a horse show on an off weekend. Or if Tiger Woods went to thetables at Las Vegas. Both players have done those things this year. And yetyour position appears to be that Mickelson going to Toledo for two daysshows his contentment with a lackluster performance inside the ropes. Thatsomehow the Toledo trip would be all right if he had won two or three timesthis year. Or perhaps that if he were beating balls that weekend instead ofpitching them he would have won two or three of his remaining events.Interesting. Completely illogical, but interesting in a telling sort of way.

Since I have no intention of unsubscribing to what can be an informative andamusing newsletter, I'll be eager to see if you reward my loyalty next yearwith a more focused effort.

Ned Cooke, via email

Family values

I find your opinion of Phil very rude. He may be at a point of his life where he is content. Why bash a guy who may be happy where he is just because he isn't where YOU think he should be. Is success only monitored by the amount of our net worth? Will our children grow up thinking they are not successful if they are not rich, or famous? Is being a good father and good friend not being successful anymore?

Stan Knappenberger, Retired US Navy

Right on target

I think Doug's comments on Phil Mickleson are right on the money. Mickleson has proven time and again that he deserves to be recognized as one of the games most talented shot-makers. Why shouldn't we expect a major victory, or as of this year, a victory of any sort from Lefty? If Tiger Woodscan be put under a microscope for the entire year, win 5 times on the tour and still be considered in a "slump" or having an "off year," Phil deserves a little critisism. Calling him this year's "biggest disappointment" is quite accurate.

Michael P. Travis, via email

Lack of hunger

Phil is a great golfer and even better person. Fans are naturally disappointed the "big" rivalry never materialized between Tiger and him. Lee Trevino said, "Today's players aren't hungry enough." So I guess let Philbe and enjoy the droves of hopefully "hungry players."

Scotty, via email

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