Mickelson and Woods' charity overpraised compared to regular rich-guy golfers
Phil Mickelson did a wonderful thing for retired NFL lineman Conrad Dobler and his family. But if you listen to the media coverage about Mickelson paying the Dobler daughter's college tuition, you'd have to assume it's the only selfless thing any golfer's ever done.
It's hard to tell if Mickelson is going to be given the Nobel Peace Prize, a Purple Heart or a pin from Tiger Woods.
Only one thing's certain: Lefty's being given way too much credit for flipping open his checkbook. Just like Tiger is getting crazily unproportional mad love for hosting a tournament that will "pay tribute to the military" (whatever that means).
It's not necessarily Tiger or Phil's fault. But that doesn't make it any more right. Our obsession with celebrity culture - and our desire to find something socially redeeming in our top athletes - turns any act of charity from them into the greatest gift in the known universe.
It's easy to give when you're Phil or Tiger, when there's no way you could blow it all even if you made Carrot Top your financial guru, when a team full of advisers is suggesting who you should assist. Things are much more unclear for regular rich-guy golfers.
That's why I have much more respect for a story like the one I heard out at Frenchman's Creek in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. Frenchman's is one of those private luxury communities where retired CEOs frolic.
Kathy O'Brien is a regular lady who works in the Frenchman's office. Like most of us, she works hard to make ends meet. Then the unimaginable happened. Her grown daughter died of cancer, leaving two little girls without a mom and a college-tuition breadwinner. Within little time, the Frenchman's members set up a college fund, put $80,000 in it, with more to come.
Ask O'Brien about it and her eyes well up with tears of gratitude.
You can have your Phil and Tiger tales of charity PR. I'll take a story like Frenchman's, or that of an institution like San Diego Golf Academy, which is giving a 20-percent tuition break to U.S. military personnel.
Over the past few years, Kauai has been building its profile as one of the best islands for golf in Hawaii. Kauai has three golf resorts in Golf Digest's ranking of the top 75 in North America and new developments are solidifying its status as a golf destination. And though it's too early for Kauai to change its nickname from the Garden Isle to the Golf Isle, the island is quickly rising in the ranks of high-end American golf hot spots.
The Old Course at St. Andrews may be golf's most hallowed ground but the average duffer will feel more comfortable here than at most courses in high-end U.S. golf destinations such as Scottsdale, Ariz. There's no ego or corporate attitude here, the Old Course is always available to the people of St. Andrews, regardless of status or wealth. From the public locker rooms to the welcoming starters and rangers, this classic track remains very much the people's course.
Frenchman's Creek in Palm Beach County, Fla. is an ultra-exclusive golf club, the domain of tycoons, CEOs and other millionaire types. Outsiders have little access, but TravelGolf.com was able to find a way in, becoming the first publication granted a round at Frenchman's Creek's North course since it was revamped two years ago. And trust us: Play the new North and you can see why the club wants to peel back the curtain and show it off a little.