Monday, June 19, 2006


I had a chance to watch a bit of the final round of the U.S. Open Championship yesterday. I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Phil Mickelson has been studying The Annals of Golf As Written By Greg Norman, the game’s perennial Mr. Also-Ran. His meltdown at the eighteenth hole - a disastrous Cluster-Fuck of a hole that ended up as a double bogey - handed the win to Australia’s own Geoff Ogilvy, who had nought to do but sit in the scorer’s tent and wait to see what happened.

The last time there was a spectacular Final Hole Meltdown of that sort, it was 1999 at The Open Championship, AKA The British Open. Jean Van de Velde was all set to win when on the eighteenth at Carnoustie, his attempt to put his second shot on the green went horribly awry. Wikipedia tells the tale:
He bounced that shot off the spectator seating. His shot drifted right and hit the grandstands on the side of the green. Had his ball landed in the grandstands he would have been given a free drop, but instead his ball bounced off of them - backwards fifty yards into knee deep rough. From here Van de Velde’s club tangled into the rough and his ball flew into the Barry Burn. He removed his shoes and socks and gingerly stepped through shin-deep water as he debated whether to try to hit his ball out of the Barry Burn, which guards the 18th green. Ultimately, he took a drop, then chunked a chip into a sand trap. Van de Velde wound up with a disastrous triple-bogey seven, which dropped him into a three-way playoff with Justin Leonard and Paul Lawrie. The Claret Jug went to Lawrie.
Holy crap. Here it was, a mere seven years later, and history was repeating itself.

But Mickelson brought high expectations into the mix. After so many years of being the Greatest Player Never To Have Won A Major, he finally nabbed his first Green Jacket in 2004, following it up with the PGA in 2005 and another Masters victory in 2006. Two consecutive majors! Twenty-nine PGA Tour victories! It was Phil’s time in the sun, and a possible third consecutive major loomed. Hell, why not a Phil Slam? If Tiger could have a Tiger Slam, why not, indeed? And a true Grand Slam was still a possibility...

...until Hole Eighteen.

As SWMBO and I watched Phil screw the pooch in manner royal, the same though struck us both, simultaneously.

When the hell did Phil grow those humongous Man-Boobs?

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