Phil Mickelson Makes It Three-For-Four On Champions Tour - Dog Leg News

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Tom Edrington

Tom Edrington spent the first 10 years of his misguided youth as a sports writer for the Tampa Tribune. His career brought him face to face with many of sports greatest stars -- Arnold Palmer, Jack Nicklaus, Muhammad Ali, Don Shula, countless Hall of Fame NFL stars, more PGA Tour players than he can count. In 1980 he was honored by the Golf Writers Association of America for writing the best news story that year, his coverage of Jack Nicklaus' U.S. Open victory at Baltusrol. Today, 36 years later, golf is still a great part of his life, thanks to competitive playing days and the wonderful people he has met on this fabulous journey.

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    baxter cepeda

    Between Langer inching closer to Irwin and Phil already showing signs of some day passing both those great men; the champions tour is getting really fun to watch.

    Also the most interesting man in golf was really impressive; his short game; his short putting is a thing of beauty.

    If it wasn’t for MAJ not getting away with that one sloppy chip And Lefty getting away with that sloppy pine tree cleanup, the Spaniard should and could have won.

    The coverage touted everything was handled well by Phil and the officials but I’m not 100 on how all that transpired. Phil’s needling around very likely led to the ball eventually moving. Lefty moved cones a foot or so away but he also picked at smaller things that were basically touching the ball. He took the cleanup a bit too far IMO.

    I would have LOVED to see Phil call one stroke on himself and show awareness to place the ball back so as not to get 2 strokes. If he did that it would have been a great story; and if Phil still went on to win it would have been legendary.

    But instead he did what happens more often these days: he argued smartly and thanks to today’s head scratching, gray area riddled rules of golf; the super star got what he wanted; exactly what gray rules are bound to do.

    Not taking anything away from Phil; but just because all these people whom are very tied to each other (players, officials, media) say ‘nothing to see here’ does not mean this isn’t an issue to take a closer look at.

    1. 1.1

      Tom Edrington

      Head official for Champions Tour is Brian Claar, a University of Tampa guy who played the Tour for quite a while; Great guy; They reviewed the entire thing on television monitor from time Phil got to the ball and Brian told him on the walk from 16 green to 17 tee that everything was fine; That’s after careful review……the ball didn’t move until well after Phil had removed a pine cone that was at least a foot away from the ball, simply standing on pine straw near the ball can cause it to move….Phil didn’t cause the ball to move, I’m pretty sure of what I saw and the Tour officials concurred after looking at it themselves….not sure how much Senior golf Phil will play, I think Irwin’s number is 44….that’s a lot, this has three, he’d have to go out there full-time….I don’t think Lefty’s gonna do that….

      1. 1.1.1

        baxter cepeda

        I know what I saw.

        I know many of Phil’s contemporaries would not accept anything but penalizing themselves in that situation.

        I know rules officials are nice and competent people no matter where they are from.

        I know there is something in the new rules that made the interpretation of Leftys ruling justified.

        I know the pga tour has a pretty soft backbone enforcing penalties on its stars. You can literally count the number of rules infractions that have been called in the history of all the tours combined in ONE hand.

        I know the new rules leave a lot of room for interpretation; and it’s only natural some players will get favorable interpretations (Phil) and other won’t (Patrick).

        Again, I encourage you to review the video again because phil did not just touch pine cones a foot away; he clearly touched things that were touching the ball itself.

        I don’t know How to interpret that delay between moving things and the ball moving. It’s confusing these days; but in the old days it was clearly a penalty every time.

        In fact The tv guys immediately called it a penalty. They clearly didn’t want to question the ruling after. The TV guys didn’t even try to justify the ruling too much either, they just seemed to kind of move on while quietly scratching their heads.


        Phil regularly discusses how much he loves competing. I expect him to play the regular tour as long as he can, and the senior tour more and more. I expect Lefty to enjoy the champions tour long after he is done competing regularly on the regular tour; similar to Mr Palmer.

        I know Irwin’s record is one of the best in golf. And I know Phil has the ability to beat it.


          Tom Edrington

          I’m going with what Brian Claar said, I know him personally; I still believe Phil doesn’t want to spend that much time on the senior tour…..not enough time to win 44 or more times….I think at some point Lefty finds a spot in the broadcast booth…


            baxter cepeda

            I’m with your boo too Tom.

            I’m disputing the new rules —fittingly on the day the usga cut 2 inches off some golfers shafts— which allow this to be correctly deemed not a penalty.

            Phil diddles around and his ball shifted. It is what it is.

            In the end No one did anything wrong —same as Patrick Reed — but Like I said before many pro golfers would call a penalty on themselves there and not accept any different.

            This reminds me of the final hole of “legend of Bagger Vance” when good people were trying to give MattDamon justification for not calling a penalty when his ball moved but he insisted it was.

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