Phil is Family First
Phil Mickelson is as much a constant figure at the US Open as the tournament’s iconic long rough and tricky greens, so it will be truly bizarre to see the event at Erin Hills get underway without him in two weeks. Lefty announced on Saturday that he plans to skip this year’s US Open to attend the high school graduation of his first-born daughter, Amanda, which is scheduled to coincide with the first day of the tournament. Amanda, who has served as the student-body president and the captain of her school’s tennis, lacrosse, and basketball teams, will give the commencement speech for her graduating class. Clearly, Phil is not willing to miss that for anything — not even that elusive US Open victory that he has chased his entire career! “As I look back on my life, this is a moment I’ll always cherish and be glad I was present,” said Mickelson. Lefty, who will turn 47 on graduation day, has not missed a single US Open since 1993. To date, he has accrued six runners-up in 26 total appearances at the annual tournament and needs only a US Open victory to complete his career grand slam.
An Angry Bear
Dublin, OH — Prior to last week’s Memorial tournament, golf icon Jack Nicklaus took time to address the growing number of weekly player withdrawals that he has observed in recent years on the PGA Tour. The comments were undoubtedly in response to the late notice withdrawals of Rory McIlroy, Justin Rose, and Paul Casey from his tournament. All three players cited nagging injuries as the reasons for their absences and Nicklaus was clearly not impressed! “You think I had any injuries when I played?” asked the 77-year-old legend to reporters on Tuesday. “Do you think Arnold had any injuries when he played? Do you think Gary had any injuries when he played? … We played through it, but that’s the sort of norm today!” The Golden Bear was not done throwing shade just yet. He then turned his attention to the current crop of PGA Tour players, whom Nicklaus perceives as soft: “And the guys — I made my own decisions! I didn’t have an entourage; I didn’t have a nutritionist or whatever you all have. Somebody to cut my toenails in the morning — I didn’t have any of that. I did that myself!” Obviously, Nicklaus played in a different era, but his comments aren’t exactly unwarranted. Remember when Tiger Woods hobbled to a US Open victory at Torrey Pines through excruciating pain? That was nearly ten years ago! Only two months ago, Dustin Johnson walked off the first tee and withdrew from the Masters after injuring his back the day before. Johnson revealed after the round that even though he felt 80% on the range, he still didn’t want to potentially aggravate the injury. Sheesh!
Here’s to a Speedy Recovery!
Despite still retaining his card, Jeff Overton has only played in one PGA Tour event this season and that has led many golf fans and writers to wonder what has become of the former Hoosier. Last week, however, Overton’s wife, Christina, cleared the air by revealing via social media that her 34-year-old husband has been recovering from a life-threatening spinal infection that he sustained nearly 10 months ago. The post explained that Overton was infected after undergoing a minor procedure to fix a herniated disc. “After a month in the hospital and [an] acute rehab center, [and] many nights of excruciating pain and uncertainty, we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” Christina wrote. Overton has four runners-up in his PGA Tour career, but he is undoubtedly best known for his “Boom Baby!” reaction at the 2010 Ryder Cup after he holed this shot from the fairway for an eagle!
Take the Drop
Aaron Baddeley tried to pull off a miracle shot in his first round at the Memorial by hitting his ball out of a shallow creek. Unfortunately, the Australian got a little too steep on his downswing and caught mostly mud, sullying his spiffy white pants in the process.
Video of the Week
Aaron Baddeley’s water strike was pretty terrible, but it’s nowhere near as terrible or hilarious as this weekend warrior’s attempt. Not only does this guy miss the ball completely, but he also manages to lose his grip on his sand wedge, sending the club flying into the middle of the pond behind him. Luckily, Donald Duck was on hand to film the shot for us!
Swing of the Week
This is the exact helicopter swing that I try to teach anyone who asks me for swing advice during a round. Notice the multiple planes and beautiful hip clearance. I have no doubt that his ball went at least 300 yards.
Shot of the Week
It’s pretty tough to top Jason Dufner’s hole out for eagle on the 18th hole in Friday’s second round but Rickie Fowler was a magician with his short game last week at Muirfield Village too. Check out this birdie that he jarred from the bunker on 18 to cap his first round on Thursday:
And just in case you missed it, here’s Dufner’s eagle: