Monday, February 12, 2007

Mickelson shines at Pebble Beach

Thank you Phil Mickelson.

We missed you.

By winning at Pebble Beach Sunday afternoon, then getting the customary armful of kids on the 18th green, Mickelson finally took the focus away from Winged Foot last summer and brought it back to how good he can be.

The PGA Tour desperately needs Mickelson to win regularly. He is already a first-ballot Hall of Famer and, regardless of what the world rankings say, Mickelson is the player best suited to challenge Tiger Woods as ruler of the golf universe.

That’s not to say Mickelson is going to bump Tiger from his throne. Not happening.
But it would help if someone were there to push Woods and Mickelson is perfect for the job. Lefty is beloved, even if it’s never been entirely clear why he generates so much affection.
Like Tiger, Mickelson is capable of jaw-dropping displays, both good and not so good. Like Tiger, he makes you want to watch him.

Before this season began, Mickelson talked about dealing with the aftermath of his Winged Foot wipeout, of his new slimmed down, muscled-up body and his new emphasis on driving the ball in the short grass.

Nothing happened for a while but it all came together at Pebble Beach. Mickelson has won 30 times on tour, an extraordinary career already.

Mickelson returned last week at Pebble Beach. It’s nice to have him around again.