Lefty Chucks the Monkey

That was quite a last round at the Masters today, wasn’t it? Phil Mickelson finally won his first major and needed five birdies in the last seven holes to do it. Unlike recent majors, this one was a fight between top players, with Mickelson beating Ernie Els, the #3 player in the world.
There was a lot of drama on the day, including back-to-back holes-in-one on 16 by Padraig Harrington and Kirk Triplett, but what I liked best of the coverage were two reaction shots of the leaders. First it was that shot of Phil smiling as he came up the 18th fairway. If the pressure was getting to him, as his reputation required you to believe, he wasn’t showing it at all. Actually, he smiled a lot on that back nine; he looked like a regular guy having a great round. The other cool image was the quick shot of Els waiting for Mickelson to finish – would he stay tied, would Mickelson choke or would he steal Ernie’s green jacket? What was Els doing? Calmly munching on an apple like he was having a picnic in the park. I loved that. Those two images said everything about the demeanors of the two guys and how similar they are. The funny thing is that because Els had already won a few majors, he’s known as a laid-back guy who doesn’t get rattled. Mickelson is known as a guy who just doesn’t take golf seriously enough and who chokes at the end.
So, now that Phil Mickelson has finally won a major, what will all the reporters write about? Don’t get me wrong, I like a good “Hefty” joke, especially when you work in a “man breasts” angle, but I was damn sick of all the smug comments about how Phil was basically a loser. I’m talking to you Jim Rome, you jock-sniffing wanna-be. I mean, Mickelson has had a great career, even without having won a major. He was an NCAA and US Amateur champ, he won a Tour event while still in college and had won 22 times on Tour before today. Just because the dice hadn’t rolled his way in the past didn’t make him a loser any more than winning the British Open or PGA made Ben Curtis or Shaun Micheel legendary players.
So, congratulations again to you, Phil Mickelson. You may never win another major, but you’ll never again need to answer questions about why you’ve never won one or when you will.

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