And they said that the golf season would be boring without Tiger Woods. Why, just this week, at Tiger's first tournament, we have controversy and quitting with two of the bigger names on Tour.
First Up, John Daly
John Daly retires in the parking lot after shooting 79-71 to miss the cut by a mile.
Of course, 12 hours later, John's already backing off the comments with phrases like "I never said 'retirement'." Okay, John. If you say so. He's also saying he may not have enough money to continue to play on the PGA Tour.
The few sponsors that I have are great, but it's not getting me through these times. Maybe my mind may change down the road, but right now I don't have the money to be on the TOUR. My game has never been the same since my rib injury during The Honda Classic in 2007.John Daly
His rib injury from 2007? Earlier in the week, John told Golf Channel he was hitting the ball great, but just needed to make some more putts. He said something like "my game is as good as it's ever been, just my putting needs fixing."
My advice to John: go away. For your own good. You're right - you are embarrassing yourself. Go away, work on your game. Do your corporate outings (you'll earn more doing that than MCing every week) to earn some money to pay your cadre of ex-wives, and if you actually return to a level that can compete, come back. The few fans you have left will likely welcome you back with open arms.
Phil Mickelson, Cheater
He's not. And I think once you get into arguments about "the spirit of the rules" you've already lost the argument, so I don't really care about that. The rules are what they are, and Phil is following them.
That said, I do find it funny that two guys (Scott McCarron, Rocco Mediate) who use long putters - a piece of equipment others have long said violate these mythical "spirit" of the rules - are leading the charge against Phil. It's not technically ironic, but it is… more than a bit silly.
But what's sillier is Phil Mickelson doing this to begin with. At the end of last year, Phil was near the top of the "pros this rule change helps" lists. The tougher you make golf, the more skill rises to the top, and nobody would deny that Phil has a lot of short-game skill.
What's dumber is that Phil - right now the de facto best player in the world - is getting involved with the grooves rule at all. WHY? What does Phil possibly stand to gain by "taking a stand" against the "ridiculous" rules change? By all accounts, Phil's still supremely pissed about the "conforming, but not approved" grooves he and Callaway submitted last year.
The golfing public has always been split on Phil Mickelson. Some percentage see him as fantastic and another percentage as a phony. The "phony" guys aren't being won over by this, and a good portion of the "fantastic" guys are now seriously considering their allegiance to a possible "cheater." How can "the people's champion" and the "fan favorite" care more about the millions of dollars Callaway spent researching the new grooves?
Phil had a great opportunity here to work hard on his game, win some tournaments, take a run at #1, and become the King. Instead, he's turning into the court jester.
Read over this summary of the PING Eye2 settlement and answer this for me: why is PING escaping blame? It seems to me that they understood the rules, intentionally circumvented them without alerting the USGA, and then sued when the USGA found that the clubs violated the Rules of Golf after PING had already sold thousands of sets of irons.
PING pointed out that the USGA used a different means of measurement - measuring from the edge of the radius instead of the center of the groove - in ruling the Eye2 grooves illegal. But I still side with the USGA here: no previous clubs had required a different form of measurement, including the clubs PING had approved by the USGA before they rounded the corner radius to stop shredding golf balls.
As part of the settlement PING released conforming grooves in their Ping Eye2+ irons, and that reads like an admission of guilt. Now look, it was 20 years ago, so I really don't care about assigning blame, but let's not assign blame to the USGA and completely excuse PING. That doesn't make any sense to me.
As for whether the Eye2 grooves actually provide more spin than current conforming grooves, the jury's still out. I've read quotes from TaylorMade researchers and vice presidents that say they do not. The USGA was forced to say "it's not about performance" in the settlement. Phil's only carrying one wedge, and it's his 64° model because those sharp edges "catch" the ball in ways "new" grooves can't, he says. Very few people play high-lofted wedges. And let's not forget the wedges are 20 years old. It's not like PING kept hundreds of thousands of Eye2 irons in a hermetically sealed, climate-controlled vault.
It's much ado about nothing. And they clearly haven't helped John Daly.