Monday At The 2022 U.S. Open
Phil's pensive presser, tee times, the perilous 9th fairway, Quotable, Reads and the latest weather forecast.
Mondays at the U.S. Open used to be so quaint. Wide-eyed players would get their bearings before experiencing enough USGA-inflicted headaches to have them plotting rogue courtesy car abandonments. Eager volunteers were just beginning to learn how to raise “Quiet Please” signs at the worst possible moment. And a sprinkling of media with little to write about would be find ways to reference their shuttle driver getting lost. Stock Monday’s. In happier times. Ah, the memories!
LIVing in these dark times we had Phil in his goombah getup wheeling out canned answers. At the same time we also received first and second round groupings, with immediate searches for profound meaning. And it all went down with few noticing that this stately old place has never looked better.
Mickelson admirably turned up at 1 p.m. and wheeled out a mellow acoustic set of new material. Sure, he tried to play a few hits but the good times aren’t rolling when you’re having to reiterate pain for 9/11 victims, get easily irritated at multi-part questions, and use your wife to shield from even more awkwardness.
Today’s Quad features the tough reviews for Phil’s jam-packed session that even saw NBC’s Paul Azinger lobbing a question his way. You know, one major winner to another. Then it’s off to tee times, some thoughts on the 9th’s awkward tee shot, quotes, reads and the latest weather forecast for you degenerates trying to find a draw bias. Dateline, Brookline…
Instead of storming out with a spirited Jumping Jack Flash, Phil Mickelson played a regret-tinged ballad named Amy, Amy, Amy. His opening remarks are probably most of what you need to know from Monday’s packed interview area.
Well, I wanted to say that it's nice to be back, nice to see you guys.
It's been four months. It's been a necessary time and an opportunity for me to step away a little bit and put a little bit of thought and reflection into going forward and how to best prioritize things.
PR crisis manager somewhere saying, dang he actually listened to me.
It's given me an opportunity to spend time with Amy, to spend time with loved ones, and continue some of the work therapy-wise on some of the deficiencies that I have certainly as well as focus on best path forward.
BINGO! No? Continue.
It's been a positive time in that regard. I know that many of you have strong -- well, many people have strong opinions, emotions about my choice to go forward with LIV Golf. I understand, and I respect that.
But I won’t be unblocking any of you.
I'm incredibly grateful for the PGA Tour and the many opportunities it has provided me through the years, but I am excited about this new opportunity as well.
I'm excited about being here in Boston at The Country Club. It's one of the five founding members of the USGA. It's got incredible rich history going back to Francis Ouimet.
It has provided me one of the most memorable moments of my career, in the '99 Ryder Cup and the comeback that we had, and the fans here are some of the best in the world, and they provide an atmosphere that is second to none for all sports.
So please don’t boo the crap out of me.
Golf is fortunate to be back, and I'm excited to be back here and participate in this incredible championship that has eluded me for my whole career.
Good to see he’s not dwelling on the six runner-ups.
As for reviews, the theme didn’t waiver much in suggesting Mickelson finally played it safe for once in his life. Not necessary the worst thing, but also hardly a ringing endorsement of his thrilling grown the game opportunity.
Phil Mickelson -- one of the most decorated champions and greatest characters in the modern sports era and someone who has always treated pride and competitiveness as a currency in which he deals -- appeared ashamed of himself.
It is truly jarring to see a golfer who has famously embraced the brazen be reduced to anything but.
For someone with a reputation as a gambler, on and off the golf course, Phil Mickelson played it as straight as a Ben Hogan 1-iron on Monday.
Monday was the first time he did so as an employee of the ruthless Saudi Arabian government. That is what he is. He can duck it, soften it, or change the topic, but that is what he is.
The smartest guy in the room, the swashbuckler who never saw a shot he couldn’t take on, Mickelson on Monday wasn’t about to take on any unnecessary risks in this setting, the TV cameras rolling. He finally played it safe – and said nothing at all.
The stilted proceedings did at least yield this gem for those of a certain vintage. Looks like Phil picked the wrong week to give up shaving.
Tee Times Are Out!
The USGA announced groupings Monday afternoon.
You can view them here and search for profound links or sadistic meaning. Sadly, the days of &^%$% pairings are supposedly over, so the natural inclination this week is to search for LIV groupings. I spotted a couple of maybes though, but that’s what happens when you go right to Billy Horschel’s name.
The traditional grouping of the reigning Open (Colin Morikawa), U.S. Amateur (James Piot) and U.S. Open champion (Jon Rahm) is again in place, with Piot expected to be sporting spoils of his new endorsement arrangement with LIV Golf.
Tellingly, Francis Ouimet did not turn up at the 1914 U.S. Open in the gear of a rogue tour bankrolled by sleazebags, sources say.