Phil Not Being Phil - Last week when Phil Mickelson was walking away with a wire-to-wire win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open I caught an interesting exchange between the broadcasters during Saturday's third round.
Mickelson had a chip shot from the edge of the green and he used a low-lofted club to simply get the ball on the green so it could roll the rest of the way to the cup.
Someone noted that in the past, Mickelson might have used a high-degree wedge to try to fly the ball to the cup when that type of shot wasn't needed.
''He's learned that's not the high-percentage shot,'' noted Johnny Miller.
Gary Koch added, ''Sometimes he did it just because he could.''
Then it was mentioned that at those times Mickelson was simply showing off.
And it influenced a lot of golfers.
I recall a few years ago at the NJCAA Division III National Golf Tournament at Chautauqua Golf Club watching one of the golfers practicing chips beside the putting green. He had placed balls on the fringe and then was hitting highs chip shots with a lob wedge to a cup that was only about 5 feet away.
I couldn't believe it. To me the obvious shot was to use a 6- or 7-iron to simply loft the ball a foot or two onto the green and let it roll to the cup.
I asked a couple of coaches about why they do it and the main response I got was a shake of the head and/or a roll of the eyes. One said he wanted to take one of his golfer's lob wedges and break it over his knee.
''They all want to be Phil Mickelson,'' one coach said.
I believe it was Curtis Strange who always noted the quicker you can get the ball rolling, the better. And that's a tip from the last golfer to win back-to-back U.S. Opens.
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Real Golf Begins In June - Mickelson's win was a walk in the park as he shot a 28-under-par 258, the second-lowest 72-hole total in PGA Tour history.
There will be quite a few more tournaments in which the winner is shooting in the 20-or-more under par range. Then things return to reality when the U.S. Open rolls around in June. Other than some outstanding performances, such as Rory McIlroy's record 16-under 268 in 2001, the winning 72-hole score at the U.S. Open is usually even par or close to it.
Oakmont Country Club near Pittsburgh has hosted the most U.S. Opens - eight. And a ninth will be held there in 2016.
That's why watching Mickelson and most of the field rip apart TPC Scottsdale last week, Miller pointed out, ''This isn't Oakmont folks.''
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Awkward - Televising college football national signing day has become a bit overblown and a bit embarrassing.
Putting high school football players on display on national TV to announce what college scholarship they have accepted can make you squirm. In addition to putting on the hat of the school he chose, one signee decided to jump up to show off his belt which also featured the college's logos. But when he jumped up, he also unplugged his earpiece and almost missed out on a live interview.
I found very interesting the shot of an entire college coaching staff celebrating like a NASA flight crew after a successful launch when a recruit chose their school.
I then thought ahead to the team's early practices when this recruit, who the coaching staff was treating like a rock star in February, is getting yelled at for making a mistake just like any regular freshman player.
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The Battle For Dallas - American Football League fans have another book that should be a must on their reading list. It is Ten-Gallon War: The NFL's Cowboys, the AFL's Texans, and the Feud for Dallas's Pro Football Future by John Eisenberg (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $27).
The reason the AFL came about was because Dallas oilman Lamar Hunt, who was also the son of one of the richest men in the world, had tried numerous times to purchase an existing NFL team to move to his hometown. When that failed, he inquired about an expansion team, but the NFL, and mainly Chicago Bears owner and coach George Halas, said the league had no immediate plans for expansion and, for sure, not in Dallas.
Dallas had an NFL team in 1952 that was a total flop and completed its home season playing in Hershey, Pa. In 1953 it moved to Baltimore and became the Colts, so the NFL had no plans to Dallas.
After being shut out of the NFL, Hunt, with money to burn, decided to start his own league in 1960, the AFL. And his team in the new league was the Dallas Texans.
When word of the new league was announced, suddenly the NFL decided to add to expansion teams in Minneapolis, where the AFL planned to have a team, and also in Dallas. That expansion was supposed to be in 1961, but it was decided to bring Dallas into the NFL in 1960 to take on the Texans.
When the NFL' Dallas team was announced in 1959, it was called the Rangers and was continued to be called that until the change was made Cowboys in 1960. The name change was made because Rangers was also the name of the minor league baseball team in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Then the war began between the two leagues, and also the Dallas teams, to sign players. One early Cowboys' signee was going to get $7,500 if he made the team.
''We can't afford that,'' Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm told personnel director Gil Brandt. ''Gosh, we'll go broke if you keep signing guys for that much!''
On the opposite side of the coin (excuse the pun), after it was reported that Hunt had lost about one million dollars following the Texans' first season, his father, H.L. Hunt said, ''Well at that rate, he can only make it for another hundred and fifty years.''
In 1960, the Texans were the most successful and popular of the two Dallas teams that both played their home games in the Cotton Bowl. That was because a lot of fans had bad feelings about their last experience with the NFL and didn't like the way the older league decided to return only after the AFL announced it would have a team in Dallas. And they also wanted to support one of their own, Hunt.
A week before the Cowboys' final home game in 1960, owner Clint Murchison asked how many tickets had been sold and he was told seven.
The Texans were more successful on the field. The Cowboys were winless in 1960 and won only four games in 1961 and five in 1962, the third season of co-existence. In 1962, the Texans had their best season and reached the AFL championship game, but winning wasn't attracting fans. Hunt knew Dallas couldn't support two teams and the Cowboys weren't leaving, so even before his Texans played in and won the AFL championship game, Hunt was seeking cities were he could move his team, such as New Orleans, Miami, Atlanta and Kansas City. Kansas City offered the best deal.
The official announcement of the move to Kansas City was made on May 22, 1963.
Texans coach Hank Stram, a long-time Dallas resident, cried as he drove to Kansas City. Eisenberg wrote, ''Damn, he thought, we won the battle, but we still lost.''
Ten-Gallon War is great reading and a must for AFL followers. Another excellent book by Eisenberg that includes plenty about the Cowboys-Texans battle is Cotton Bowl Days.