FanDuel - WFBC

February 18, 2007

Lefty lets another tournament slip away. Charles Howell III wins Nissan Open in a playoff.: This won't be nearly as memorable as Phil's collapse in the U.S. Open last year but he gave up another tournament again.

posted by danjel to golf at 08:44 PM - 21 comments

I didn't see it, but is it not a little harsh to say he let the tournament slip away when he shot 68 in the final round and Howell shot 65 to catch him? Is this an attempt to make a story where no story (other than "guy who kept finishing second wins tournament") exists?

posted by JJ at 03:16 AM on February 19

JJ, it's just too easy to pile on Phil, because he wore the scarlet "C" for "choker" for so long. It's just lazy journalism. You're absolutely right, he did everything he could to win except shoot a 64. It's not like he's Jean Van de Velde or Greg Norman, fer chrissake.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 05:16 AM on February 19

Check the highlights. Mickelson did indeed miss several chances to ice it. Plus, he shot a 3-under 68. When you figure they were tied at -16, then the average score per round would be -4. So, with all due respect to Howell, combine Mickelson's missed shots on the back nine and his completely average final-round score and I don't think it's much of a stretch to say he choked. It's not comparable to the US Open, but it's definitely something that's worth noting. And those missed shots do raise the question if Mickelson's doubting himself.

posted by SummersEve at 06:54 AM on February 19

You're absolutely right, he did everything he could to win except shoot a 64. A direct quote from Mickleson: "I had every chance on the back nine to create some separation and not give anyone a chance," said Mickelson, who twice missed putts inside 4 feet and closed with a 68. "I felt like I had the tournament in my grasp and let it go."

posted by danjel at 07:28 AM on February 19

You could see the demons crawling up Mickelson's back as he completed the back nine.... Faldo even said that Howell would now be favored after noting Mickelson's demeanor. He replayed the U. S. Open. C H O K E.

posted by Fly_Piscator at 08:09 AM on February 19

Mickleson's choking aside, you gotta give a lot of credit to Howell. When he jerked his tee shot left on the 314 yard par 4 (I think it was the second hole of the playoff) and had to hit his second shot off the cart path, he hit the trees and his ball got knocked straight down. He got up and down from there in a clutch situation, and extended the match one more hole, with the results that you saw.

posted by jm_mosier at 08:10 AM on February 19

1st last week, 2nd this week, that mickelson's ability to choke his way out of success is unbelievable.

posted by dfleming at 08:31 AM on February 19

If Tiger had come from behind and beat Phil, we'd all be saying Phil choked or collapsed. Charles Howell played a great final round and deserves the win. Phil just came up a little short but had more than his fair share of chances to win.

posted by dbt302 at 10:16 AM on February 19

Can't understand why one of the best chippers in the game, chose to use a putter from the fringe on the last playoff hole. Does his caddy ever make a damn suggestion. Another one of Mickelson's bad choices.

posted by central ram at 10:58 AM on February 19

According to his autobiography, Mickelson gives his caddy one veto on club selection per year. I remember hearing that before and thinking "what a tit!", which was maybe unfair... "what a pair of tits." Seriously though, moobs jokes aside (by the way, how do we all think big Phil is looking having "lost 25 pounds of fat and put on 20 pounds of muscle" over the winter?), if there was ever a player who needs a strong, opinionated caddy, it's Mickelson. The guy has talent to burn but is permanently desne when it comes to applying that talent.

posted by JJ at 11:18 AM on February 19

Amen, jm_mosier. Let's do give full credit to Howell. He made some very clutch pars. I thought he selected much too much loft when he hit off the cart path...but he could see the situation and I couldn't. But the recovery after he had missed that first shot was pure total control of his emotions. Major class to then get up and down for the par. Piscator

posted by Fly_Piscator at 11:40 AM on February 19

shooting a 68 in the final round doesn't constitute choke in my opinion. howell just played better and smarter down the stretch. I would like Phil a little more if he dropped the "what, me worry" look from his face and show a little intensity. maybe it's there on the inside, but to me it looks like he could give a damn about his play. just show a little more fire and give a damn and I think Phil would have a few more fans on his bandwagon. also, if I tore up the green like he did on that one chip off the green I would never be allowed back on my local course.

posted by erkno11 at 01:07 PM on February 19

I would like Phil a little more if he dropped the "what, me worry" look from his face and show a little intensity. Actually, this is one of the reasons I like Phil. In contrast, I have changed my tune considerably when it comes to formerly disliking Tiger - but the last lingering annoyance I have toward him his entirely based on his post-bad-shot antics of slapping the air, sighing at the heavens as though he's been conspired against, etc. Anyway, I think it's refreshing to see someone who clearly does care but seemingly has good enough perspective of things to keep his cool and carry an "ok, time to move on (remember, I really like this)" attitude. But, I agree with JJ. Phil definitely needs a caddy by his side to occasionally slap him into low-stupidity mode (and to make sure there IS something going on inside, like you brought up, erkno). But as far as being a fan is concerned, I'd be disappointed to see him suddenly scowling all over the course.

posted by littleLebowski at 01:43 PM on February 19

"I have changed my tune considerably when it comes to formerly disliking Tiger - but the last lingering annoyance I have toward him his entirely based on his post-bad-shot antics of slapping the air, sighing at the heavens as though he's been conspired against, etc." Count the wins in Majors and other tournaments of significance. Maybe giving a shit does in fact make a difference. It that means not liking a bad shot, so be it. People look at Jack Nicholas as an Icon, and rightly so, but during his prime competing years, he was also a feared and emotional competitor who cared about every single shot that he struck.

posted by Cave_Man at 02:28 PM on February 19

You are drawing a conclusion of : winning ("important matches") = result of intensity That might be accurate; regardless I'm not arguing that. The problem is that you're drawing several other conclusions, which are all false: - Winning = the sole criteria that determines my fanhood All I said is that I don't knock Phil for having the perceived lax attitude. - Tiger winning tournaments = I should accept all of his shenanigans Although I like and appreciate Tiger much more than I previously did, I still don't care for this part of him. And, from here on, his number or quality of wins will have absolute Zero impact on increasing how much I like him nor will I be any less annoyed by his antics. - Phil not winning (presumably in your mind because he doesn't care) = I shouldn't like him Pretty sure I get to make my mind on that. I just mentioned one of the reasons I choose to like Phil, regardless of his trophy case. Him losing a tournament isn't going to reduce how I feel about him - now, if he acted like a jackass after losing, that could be a different story.

posted by littleLebowski at 02:49 PM on February 19

Not only was Jack intense, Arnold Palmer was intense. Nick Faldo was intense. And they all had their opportunities missed as well. I think I would like intense Tiger a bit more if he controlled his response to a bad shot. Phil just looks like someone hit him in the face with a frying pan. ... don't know what he is thinking. In his quiet way, I also thought Howell was intense yesterday. But he certainly set a standard of control when he hit the tree limb on that pitch shot that then fell well short of the green. The got up and down to continue.

posted by Fly_Piscator at 02:59 PM on February 19

Watching Phil yesterday I got the distinct impression that he tired. I say this because he began coming up short on his chips. He is probably the master of the flop shot and he had several opportunities to use it on the back nine. Every time he did it was short. He just wasn't able to use the short game to his advantage, like when he put that divot in the green.He seemed to get anxious with those shots also. Again, on the divot in the green, his head appeared to come up way early. His putter went south on him also. I mean the commentators mentioned that last year he missed 5 putts 3 feet or closer all year out of something like 900. He missed that many yesteday when any one of them would have won him the tournament. Maybe that staying in San Diego and flying in every day kind of left him a little bit drained.

posted by brbcca at 12:19 AM on February 20

This is the way Phil will always play, so nobody should be surprised. He'll win his share, finish close in many, and lose some he should win (often due to falling to pieces either off the tee, missing some short putts, or both). He is what he is, and that's the second-best golfer on tour, around a billion miles behind Tiger. It's like the old question: What do you call a guy who finishes last in his class in medical school? Doctor. In this case, what do you call a guy who finishes either first, second, or in the running in almost every tour event? Rich. Phil did blow this one, but he played well, overall, the entire weekend. It was a pretty tough field, so what are some of the other "pretenders" currently doing with their game?

posted by dyams at 06:33 AM on February 20

"You are drawing a conclusion of : winning ("important matches") = result of intensity That might be accurate; regardless I'm not arguing that. The problem is that you're drawing several other conclusions, which are all false: - Winning = the sole criteria that determines my fanhood All I said is that I don't knock Phil for having the perceived lax attitude. - Tiger winning tournaments = I should accept all of his shenanigans Although I like and appreciate Tiger much more than I previously did, I still don't care for this part of him. And, from here on, his number or quality of wins will have absolute Zero impact on increasing how much I like him nor will I be any less annoyed by his antics. - Phil not winning (presumably in your mind because he doesn't care) = I shouldn't like him Pretty sure I get to make my mind on that. I just mentioned one of the reasons I choose to like Phil, regardless of his trophy case. Him losing a tournament isn't going to reduce how I feel about him - now, if he acted like a jackass after losing, that could be a different story. posted by littleLebowski at 2:49 PM CST on February 19" You are the one drawing conclusions. I did not say anything about liking Tiger, but I do like when a player in any sport obviously gives a shit when something is on the line. Like it or not, professional sports is about winning, that is why we pay to watch. Tiger is a fierce competitor and I have never seen him violate any rules of play - I hate matching up against that type in amateur sports that I play, but once things are done, I respect them. Sorry, but I do not respect people that do not give everything they have for every second that they compete. Maybe that is just the way I am.

posted by Cave_Man at 08:03 PM on February 20

Professional sport isn't about winning, it's about money. Amateur sport is about winning. And beer. Lots of beer.

posted by JJ at 09:09 AM on February 21

Hit the nail Right on the head there JJ!! If more people were as dedicated and able to focus intently on a game as their profession there might be more professional golfers and bowlers and a helluva decline in beer sales!!!

posted by brbcca at 03:55 PM on February 21

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