Yesterday Phil Mickelson (Lefty) shot a 79 at the Memorial. I watched his round and it was quite odd to see him so “off” his game. He was not even thinking about shots. He’d hit one and then walk up to the ball and hit it again. Even Bones his caddy would walk up, see him addressing the ball, and have to back off.
After the round was completed Lefty withdrew from the tournament citing mental fatigue. During the round Phil was paired with Bubba Watson and Rickie Fowler and there were huge galleries following them. At one point Phil had to stop his swing because of cell phone noises from the crowd. Remember, the PGA Tour recently made cell phones legal to posses in the gallery so long as they are set to silent mode. When you get that many people together someone is bound to forget to silence the phone or worse yet, will try to sneak photos.
“I can’t focus. I have to start again, every frickin’ shot.” ~Phil Mickelson on the 8th hole yesterday after some cell phone noises caused him to back off his shot and start his pre-shot routine again.
Bubba Watson was not immune to the distractions either, firing a first round 75. Today Bubba missed the cut.
“It was really tough today, the worst I’ve ever seen. Ever since they made the rule to let cellphones in it has been terrible. It takes your mind off the game.” ~Bubba Watson
No mention of the distractions of obnoxious and idiotic gallery members yelling “you da man!” and “get in the hole” after every shot. Personally I think that one is worse.
Debate #1, which is all over the media and social networks, is whether or not the PGA Tour should have allowed cell phones. They obviously did it because if they didn’t they’d lose a ton in ticket sales.
Part B of this debate is whether or not the Tour is policing the cell phone rules well enough, and whether or not the rules are clear to the volunteers and staff at each venue. Venues seem to enforce the rules differently.
Debate #2 regards Mickelson’s withdrawal itself. Players can’t cite mental fatigue for withdrawing from a tournament during play, but can use just about any reason following a round of play.
And some are making light of the withdrawal as Phil’s reasons for being mentally fatigued included a trip to Europe for his wife Amy’s 40th birthday.
What are your takes on these subjects? Chime in.
Take the cell phones away from the gallery, it is a distraction. Let’s face it, some people have no common sense.
Golfers are independent. They don’t play, they don’t get paid. Because of endorsement deals, and more than 20 years on the tour Phil knows that taking some time off won’t kill him. He has plenty of Fed Ex cup points and is more interested in having a great US Open. He doesn’t even need to give any reason for his withdrawl but was nice enough to explain it to the press…Tiger wouldn’t. Phil and Amy both have earned a little time away from golf if needed. He could have lied and claimed a pulled whatsit muscle!
Thanks for the comments Duckhook. Unfortunately I agree with you. Too bad fans can’t control themselves. But how to deal with idiots who yell?
we don’t need to ban cell phones. but it is about time agencies started installing cell phone “descramblers”. such that in certain zones (ie: theater, library….golf course), one cannot get a signal.
let the pro’s concentrate.
I love Phil, but just imagine the firestorm we’d get it Tiger withdrew!
Maybe if normal crowd noises were allowed 1. the players would get used to them and tune them out, as in most any other sport, and 2. the camera clicks would obviously be drowned out.
Allow the crowd noise to be somewhere between the 16th hole at Scottdale and a funeral and the problem is solved.
Have any pros ever tried to use earplugs or earbuds w/ iPods to fight the distractions?
As for cell scramblers, I am sure that would cause tons of headaches for TV production.
And frankly, this weekend when I go to the PGA event here, even if cell phones aren’t allowed, I am going to have mine on me, won’t use it, but it will be with me. Can’t leave an iPhone in a car anywhere below the Mason Dixon line in the summer and not damage it.