TODAY'S PAPER
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When does Phil's season start?

 

             You'd think Phil Mickelson would have made a ripple if not a splash by now. But so far he has just waded into the season; just put his toe in the water.

            Yes, he had a nice final round at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. Not good enough. Golf could have used him to step up and contend in one of the Western swing tournaments that are basically home games for him. Granted, he is no replacement for Tiger Woods, but he could have given the season a shot in the arm.

            Tour insiders believe Phil's legendary short game, revamped in sessions with Dave Stockton after he left Dave Pelz, has failed him. That's a good point.

             But the bigger point is that Mickelson basically has a four-week season--or maybe five or six if you add The Players and the Ryder or Presidents Cup. Everything else is just spring training for the majors. You have to wonder, though, how much he gets out of his scientific preparation for the big four--going to the venues ahead of time, tailoring his game and his club selection to the various courses. He doesn't need to study every nuance of Augusta. He has won there twice.

            And what has his NASA-caliber exploration of the other sites done for him? A total of one major win, ever. I think it's time that Mickelson totally embraces the entire PGA Tour season. Just go out and play the year, the way Arnie and Jack did. Raise your game for the majors, yes, but don't exclude everything else. No more ambling into the golf year. He would be better off for that, and so would his sport; a sport that has treated him quite well.

New York Sports