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Phil Mickelson and the Masters

What hasn’t already been said about Phil Mickelson and the Masters over the past few days? A server crash that powers G4G has kept me from weighing in on this. But I’ve never been one to understand the concept of overkill, so here goes…

Interestingly, the fact Phil carried two drivers is one of the most discussed issues.

Apparently it isn’t a trend, at least according to MSN NBC columnist Jim Litke.

Litke points out that Phil still didn’t hit many fairways with the driver:

His accuracy wasnt nearly as impressive ” he hit 35 of 56 fairways, or 62.5 percent, a number that tied him for 36th. Even so, he launched even wayward drives far enough to take the heat off his approach shots. He tied for fourth in reaching the greens in regulation ” Mickelson hit 50 of 72, or 69.4 percent ” and tied for 16th in fewest putts needed.

Apparently Litke is right — there’s no trend to be found here.

Heres Litkes take:

So guess who picks up the tab when manufacturers hire rocket scientists to design them … metallurgists to stretch titanium across a clubface to the depth of a sheet of paper … engineers to add adjustable-weight screws on the bottom … pros to stitch the companys name and logo on the bag … and a pricey advertising agency to market them to our deepest-seated insecurities? Right.

And now you get the privilege of paying for two, which go for $400 or more at retail.

Each

I was out at the range today, whacking a few in preparation for a family vacation in Cuba, where I’ll get a chance to check out Les Furber’s work in the resort town of Veradero. I hit a bunch (and yes, I have two drivers in the bag, but that’s largely because I’m determining which I hit least worse at the moment) and then saddled over to ask some of the big hitters at the range whether they would carry two big dogs in their bags.

The answer was a resounding no.

“I can’t hit the one I’ve got,” seemed to be the most common answer.

Or

Why would I do something like that? I dont know where the ball is going now!

By the way, what’s with the hair Phil? As one of my good friends likes to say: “Business in front, party at the back.” You’ve got the cash. Find a barber. Apparently there’s one on site at Augusta, according to Ben Crenshaw.

Anyway, my conclusion on the 2006 Masters? A bit dull at the end. Fred Couples, at 46, cant putt, but neither can Sergio Garcia, and hes more than 20 years younger. Apparently Mike Weir can compete at a longer Augusta, but he cant putt there. Weirs take, posted on his website, Mikeweir.com, is a little different:

It wasnt that I was putting poorly, just that I couldnt convert any of those ones you need at majors, those 15 to 20 footers. Those were the ones I made when I won here in 2003, but they were rare for me this year. From five or six feet, I was deadly, but not the longer ones.

What else? Ben Crenshaw was wonderful. But on Saturday he seemed to realize he was 54. The 11th looks silly with all those pine trees down the right. And since it already played harder than par, why the need to toughen it further.

Lastly, I think Augustas changes might have worked out, but only if you arent interested in final round charges.

On Thursday, IMG and Telus will announce the contestants for its skins game. Expect to see Stephen Ames, the ever likeable Vijay Singh, as well as Sergio Garcia, who cant find the bottom of the cup with his putter. Oh “ and theres going to be five players all told. Id expect one will be Ernie Els. The other? John Daly anyone? Hell do anything for a pay day.

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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

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