Why Phil Mickelson Will Be A Complete Non-Factor At the British Open This Week, Despite the Media’s Love Fest #SuckerBetCity

During Tuesday’s news conferences of British Open week (ahem, The Open) at Muirfield, Phil Mickelson declared his “hate-love” of his relationship with golf’s oldest major championship.  Phil admitted that he used to hate it, but now has found a way to finally embrace the challenge of the championship amidst its unique elements.  Much like I predicted after Phil was the 1st round leader at Merion that he would never win a U.S. Open, here’s why Phil will never even sniff winning a Claret Jug.

First, let’s reiterate that Phil is one of the most talented individuals in the past three decades of the game, and surely will go down in the top 15 players to ever tee it up on the professional level (possibly higher if he can snag another green jacket or two, which I predict he will).  In fact I think that Phil is the most exciting player to watch in all of golf, both on the course and in the interview room.  But, to every Superman exists his kryptonite and in the case of Phil, it’s Open Championship golf.

I find myself continually amused at how “experts” are so baffled at how Phil and his fantastic wedge game can continually struggle with links golf.  I mean with that much talent with the short sticks, he has a shot for nearly every lie and situation, right?  Oh grasshopper, how Seve Ballesteros and Open champions past would laugh at that statement.

The Open is not an aerial show.  It’s not a flopparanimous, everything through the air stop-and-drop highlight reel, but rather a ground-is-your-friend-use-it-wisely type of feel game that Phil just is innately allergic to.  Bump and run 6-irons, putting from 60 feet off the green, knockdown 7-irons from 120 yards and hitting fairways.  It’s what’s required to win British Opens, but all things that Phil Mickelson lacks in his repertoire.

Regardless of how much skill a player has with his wedges, how perfectly ground the lie and sole of his wedges are or how sharp his grooves, there are shots in links golf that must be played along the turf, and Phil simply lacks the desire and vision to play these types of shots, as he practices everything just two ways- with loft and even more loft.

On Monday of this week, Phil was caught on camera practicing a backwards flop shot during a practice round.  You can hear playing partner Scott Piercy laughing in the background in amusement as the shot is just plain ridiculously crazy.  Now, even Phil likely wouldn’t try such a wild shot during actual competition, but the idea of the shot itself is such a perfect microcosm of everything that is square-peg-in-a-round-hole about Phil and the Open it’s worth taking note.

In addition to the short game, British Opens are not a bomber’s paradise (ok, St Andrews may be trending in that direction), but rather a fairways-are-a-must-keep-it-out-of-the-fescue-or-die test on the highest level.  Despite the fact that Phil is again going driver-less this week (carrying his Callaway 3 Deep fairway wood as his big stick in the bag), he simply swings from the heels too often and just doesn’t put enough of a premium on hitting fairways.  And if it’s windy?  Yikes, goodnight.

As much as Phil tells us otherwise, as big of a love fest as the media is having with Phil this week, he’s not suddenly a good links player after winning the Scottish Open last week.  I mean hey, the man fumbled the trophy onto the ground during the awards ceremony, which was just all too fitting.

Expect Phil to either miss the cut or be a non-factor this week at Muirfield. #SuckerBetCity

Joel Harrington
@joel4deepgolf

Comments

  1. I like him and think he will win on his 7th attempt for sure!!:) pulling for him but respect your great article!!!!!!!!

  2. :/

Speak Your Mind

*