It’s what we love about Phil Mickelson, and what drives us crazy. He’s “Phil the Thrill,” a man with the skills of Bobby Jones and the mind-set of Roy McAvoy. A million-dollar swing and a Tin Cup soul.
Laying up is as distasteful as laying down. So for every major Mickelson wins — and there will be more, you can bank on that — there is the corresponding major meltdown. Or two. Or six.
As McAvoy would tell you, “Greatness courts failure.” And as meltdowns go, Sunday’s unsightly, hideous, 18th-hole double bogey at the U.S. Open was sheer greatness.
Greg Norman at Augusta? Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie? All must bow before the stubbed toe at Winged Foot.
A par wins. A bogey ties. But Mickelson, undaunted, charged straight ahead into the brick wall — off the corporate tent, against the tree, into the bunker, into the rough. If there had been water anywhere near the hole, Phil would’ve found it. “I just can’t believe that I did that,” he said. “I’m such an idiot.” Yes, indeed. But you’re our idiot, Phil. Deep down, we know it had to be this way.
ANOTHER JUNE SWOON
Speaking of collapses, it’s time to start ignoring the Diamondbacks again. For the second year in a row, they flew under the radar with two months of winning baseball, leaving many in the organization grumbling about the lack of attention. And again, once the Suns were eliminated, Arizona has treated the attention of the local sports fan like a poison pill.
Playing in the mediocre NL West gives you a two-week mulligan of horrible baseball every year. But after losing 12 of the last 13 games, the comfort zone in gone. It’s time to stop blaming Jason Grimsley, Russ Ortiz and Ken Kendrick.
• Team USA has one goal in two World Cup games — a goal that was accidentally kicked in by an Italian opponent — but with one win against Ghana on Thursday and a little more help from Italy, the Yanks will advance to the second round. It is, as they say, the beautiful game.
• Welcome to the big leagues, Adam Loewen. The Baltimore Orioles rookie has now made four starts, facing Randy Johnson, Roy Halladay (twice) and Tom Glavine — to whom he lost on Sunday. Four games, four Cy Young opponents. Where’s Ortiz when you need him?
• If you only watch one hockey game this year — and if the ratings are any indication, many of you qualify — watch tonight’s Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Neither Edmonton nor Carolina are particularly good teams (thank you, salary cap), but Game 7s in the NHL are still an incredible rush.
• Here’s hoping fathers everywhere got in a game of catch, oneon-one basketball or a round of golf with their sons and daughters Sunday — or found a comfy couch to share the U.S. Open or NBA Finals.
Sports can be exciting, exhilarating and infuriating, but they are at their best when they provide the ties that bond.