Phil Mickelson will host his first PGA Tour event at the start of the next year. Here's our tongue-in-cheek five-point plan on how he can make it a success
The American Express tournament on January 16 doesn’t look anything out of the ordinary on the PGA Tour schedule but it will mark a notable first with Phil Mickelson hosting an event for the first time.
The hope, pardon the pun, is that it will represent a new dawn for the tournament that has now had four different names in the past six years. It’s best known though as ‘the Bob Hope’, going back to the days when the entertainer was the ringleader for one of the most popular tour stops of the year.
The event will feature 156 PGA Tour pros and 156 amateurs (CEOs) played over three courses in La Quinta and it will now have a $6.7 million purse, an increase of $800,000 from the 2019 tournament in which Adam Long beat our genial host. The winner will take home $1,206,000.
To help the tournament go with a swing we’ve compiled a five-point plan to make it a memorable week for all concerned…
1. Play a shot with the wrong hand
Some things are so obvious they can’t be ignored. In deference to the greatest left-hander, every player AND amateur will have to play a shot the wrong way round on Thursday. It can be a straightforward tap-in but you’ve got to get one shot on the card by using the wrong hand and IT must be followed by some form of hilarity, ideally a high five.
2. The quick rake
Following on from this, everyone is allowed to hit a moving ball to celebrate Mickelson awkwardly taking off after the ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock and hitting it on the run. This has to happen at some point over the first two days and, to help with the social media engagement with the fans, every playing member has to tweet/Insta/whateva a faux apology by way of an explanation of their actions.
Each one should begin: “I don’t mean disrespect by anybody.”
3. Bring a shirt to work day
Given Phil’s sponsor (Workday), the possibilities are endless here to help with full levels of engagement and, as the marketeers would say, getting ‘maximum eyeballs’ on the product. The concept is simple; on the Friday every player and amateur will play their round dressed in a work shirt. There’s nothing awkward or contrived about this, just 312 multi-millionaires saving themselves the bother of dressing up for dinner after the round. In the event that a woman is part of the amateur field then a blouse is acceptable.
4. Massage for all, includes candles
In a bid to slow the pace of play down, a little a halfway house on each of the three courses will be set up with a complimentary calf massage on offer for all competitors. In the background, instead of the usual sounds of the ocean background music there will be stories from Phil on a never-ending loop.
5. More loft = more fun
This one goes across the board for all four days. No matter where you are when within 50 yards of the pin, other than on the green, you have to use your most lofted club at all times. So even when you’re on the fringe everyone has to squat down, open up the face, swing well past parallel and attempt to flippety flop one up into the heavens and try and the ball by the hole side.