Recently a Golf Digest article came out where Phil Mickelson indicated he might not play in this year’s PLAYERS Championship. Being one of the leaders on the world stage, should he skip a tournament of this stature? It would be disappointing not having him participate but Phil doesn’t feel he’s a “horse on this course” as he sprays the ball a little too much, and even though he’s won here, it doesn’t set up well for him. I say, “skip it.”
Professional golf is unique because players get to choose where and when they compete. You are measured in two categories; total wins and victories in the majors. Phil is 9th all-time with 44 wins and five major titles. The better you are, the more selective you can be. More importantly, he’s in the 20-win club and has earned a lifetime exemption to play whenever he wants.
Other players before him have set the bar on selective participation. Rory McIlroy skipped the Olympics in Rio. Sergio Garcia skipped a recent FedEx playoff event because he was too tired. Several American pros have been known to skip the British Open because of the travel burden. Back in 1987, Greg Norman expressed a vehement displeasure with the 9th green at TPC of Avenel and didn’t play the Kemper Open for several years afterwards.
I will miss Phil’s participation if he elects not to play because I get a perverse pleasure of watching pros struggle with courses they are not suited for. Isn’t it fun watching Rory battle his internal demons at Augusta? Or watching Phil’s never-ending quest for the US Open with his cache of painful second-place finishes? Occasionally, someone breaks through like Sergio at The Masters. He had always underwhelmed at Augusta and had a horrible final round choking reputation. Bam! All gone in a flash. Very cool.
So, if Phil skips The PLAYERS, I’ll be fine. What about you?