Talking Point: Lefty misses out againFebruary, 2016
Almost three years since his last 'W', will Phil Mickelson win again?..
When you see Phil Mickelson about to putt from five-feet, you very rarely expect to see him miss. On Sunday though, he did just that, a putt that would have forced a playoff and kept him in with a chance of getting that elusive ‘W’ that he hasn’t had for almost three years… lipped out.
If this is happening in your typical PGA Tour events, does Lefty have any chance of winning another Major?
Dan Murphy: Believe it or not, it’s coming round to three years since Phil last won. The small matter of the Open Championship at Muirfield. So it’s significant that he couldn’t finish the job off at Pebble. It took a pretty amazing round from Vaughn Taylor to deny him, granted, but his play on Sunday was sketchy at best. He was rarely in position and spent much of the day scrambling. Given this is a tournament and a course that he owns, it is surprising to say the least that he couldn’t finish the job off.
James Savage: First thing I’d say is it’s good to see Mickelson in contention. He’s been working on a new swing and the signs look positive. But he’s 46 this year and people say that those five footers, like the one he missed at Pebble to make the play-off, don’t get any easier.
I’d still say he’s a contender for Majors this year.
Mark Townsend: Pebble Beach was his 50th event since that win at Muirfield. I think he will win another Major and has been pretty impressive this year – T3-MC-11-2. He’s a freak so why not and whatever he and his new coach are working on it’s working.
The last two holes summed up what he’s all about. Make a 20-footer at pace to keep the tournament going and then miss from five feet. Whoever put the graphic up of 23/23 of putts from five feet must have had money on Taylor.
His putting was ordinary last year so maybe that putt on 17 will add a small layer of confidence,
not that he’s struggling in that part of his mind. I think he can contend at Augusta for another five years and it would be very apt, with the sun setting, for his embarrassed half smile to get at least one last run-out in the Majors.
DM: I remember watching Vaughn Taylor at the 2006 Ryder Cup. He was one of an undistinguished group of rookies that year that also included JJ Henry and Brett Wetterich. And, to be fair, Zach Johnson. He played once before the singles, on Saturday afternoon, by which time Captain Lehman was dazed and confused and struggling to write eight names down for the next session.
I’ve always looked out for his name ever since. I didn’t think I’d find it on the first page of a leaderboard on Sunday evening anymore.
MT: I tried to get in touch with him before Christmas, via his wife on Facebook as his details weren’t listed on the PGA Tour contacts, for a ‘Where Are They Now?’ piece. We didn’t ‘connect’ but at least we all know where he is now.
Craig Middleton: I mean there’s no doubt about the magic Mickelson can produce. But do you not think the longer he goes without a win, the harder it will be for him to ‘get over the line’. To me it seems very much like he could do a ‘Jim Furyk’ and not win for five years, but regularly be in contention. I don’t think the emergence of so many young, talented players is helping his cause either…
JS: I don’t think Mickelson will lose sleep about not winning on the PGA Tour.
He’ll be more bothered about what shape his game is in heading into the season and I think he’ll be fairly happy with how things are going.
To start working with a new coach and see positive results this quickly must give him confidence things are moving in the right direction.
Steve Carroll: If there’s one place where you can rely on Phil to make a strong Major challenge, it’s Augusta. Three victories, and one missed cut since 1997, testify to his love for the Masters. Even in the midst of this near three year run without a win, he was still tied second last year. While his usually rock-solid chipping provided some cause for concern in the heat of Sunday night battle, and that’s about nerves rather than technique, it will be hard not to get involved on Phil grabbing a fourth green jacket if odds of 20/1 are still available on Lefty come April.
MT: Like I say he’s an oddity. He wins when you’d never think of backing him and throws it away when he looks a shoo-in. He loves Augusta, he loves the US Open, he’s won an Open in the
last three years and he’s won a PGA, all of which is a good start.
DM: Just looking at some early Masters bets. Anyone fancy a bit of Charl Schwartzel at 40s? Past champion, in form, loves Augusta… With the Big Three so short, it does mean there is some great value a little further out.
MT: I did some ante-post bets last week and, for whatever reason, forgot to place the
bet on Mickelson despite being one of my ‘5 To Follow’.
The four who did make it through were DeChambeau, Koepka, Casey and Leishman.
JS: There’s always “value” in the field. That’s why we lose lots of money. Although I won about £14 for backing Spieth last year so will probably just lump that on Angel Cabrera at 150/1.
CM: Shane Lowry at 80/1… I like the sound of that. Anyone going to waste money on Tiger at 25/1… do we know if he’s even picked up a club yet?
SC: It’s remarkable to think Tiger’s 25/1 in the betting when Brandt Snedeker, who has won this year and lost a play-off, and has two Masters top tens, is nearly double that price. It goes to show just how much the golf world remains infatuated.
DM: I think Tiger will play. Beyond that I don’t think we have any real idea on his state of mind or physical wellbeing.
MT: He’s been seen with a glove and a wedge and helping Michelle Wie’s chipping.
Who would have thought 20 years ago Tiger would be seemingly permanently
injured and Phil (and his evergreen paunch) would still be a Masters threat.
JS: Bookies are saying 1-4 that he will play. If he makes the cut that will very impressive as I doubt we’ll see him play anywhere before Augusta.