Blog Entry

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

Posted on: August 25, 2010 3:47 pm
Edited on: August 25, 2010 3:48 pm

PARAMUS, N.J. – Phil Mickelson is sticking to his vegetarian diet.

Which doesn’t mean he won’t sink his teeth into meaty affairs relating to the PGA Tour.

Hours after he felt compatriot Jim Furyk was unreasonably disqualified from this week's event for missing his pro-am tee time on Wednesday morning, Mickelson launched into an thorough criticism of the rule on the eve of The Barclays at Ridgewood County Club.

Mickelson, whose objections about the rule prompted some off-season modifications, thought he had succeeded in getting the DQ provision rescinded for those who miss their times.

He learned when Furyk was benched that he was mistaken. A total of 54 players in what was originally a 125-man field were in the pro-am field, which stands at the crux of Mickelson’s beef.

“The rule itself applies to only half the field,” he said. “So if you're going to have a rule that does not apply to everybody, because not everybody played the pro-am, you cannot have it affect the competition.

“It's got to be a different penalty. It can't be disqualification if it only applies to half the field. So this rule, it's not protecting the players, it's not protecting the sponsors. It applies to only half the field and yet it affects the integrity of the competition.

“I cannot disagree with it more. I have no idea how the commissioner let this rule go through. It's ridiculous.”

It’s hard to dispute his points.

Players such as John Daly at Bay Hill and Retief Goosen at Riviera have been disqualified in the past for missing their appointed pro-am time slot.

The pro-am rule is six years old and Mickelson has been trying to force a revision ever since. Over lunch after his pro-am round Wednesday, he gave dining partner Tim Finchem, the tour commissioner, another earful on the topic.

“I made my viewpoint very clear to him, yes,” he said.

Mickelson cracked that he is 1-for-22 in the policy proposals he has pitched to Finchem for consideration. Ironically, his lone “win” related to the pro-am DQ policy. This year, with certain restrictions, players have been allowed to make appearances at golf clinics, sponsor dinners or meet-and-greet sessions in lieu of playing the pro-ams.

“I went 1-for-22 recently with what I thought was the pro-am modification this year where we're able to opt out of one or two pro-ams, but change it with a dinner or a stop by the hospitality tent,” he said. “I thought that that also included if you missed your tee time you were able to make it up by going to the hospitality tent Thursday or Friday.

“Which is why I was so shocked that he [Furyk] ended up being DQd because I thought that was included in that rule change.”

So maybe it’s 0-for-22?

“That was my one,” he said.

Mickelson said he would support a player fine in the event of a missed tee time and that Furyk should have been allowed to join his group on the second or third hole after he arrived. The battery on Furyk’s cell phone, which he uses as an alarm clock, went dead overnight.

“But either way, the penalty, whether it's fine him or what have you, it cannot affect the competition,” he said. “This is not a competitive round. It's the pro-am and only half the players are playing it. So whatever penalty you have, it cannot affect the tournament when it only applies to half the field. That's just wrong.

“And again, how the commissioner let that slide or get through is ridiculous.”

Since he was on the bully pulpit, Mickelson was asked for his views on the proposed designated tournaments rule, wherein top players will be forced to add an event from a group of preselected, third-tier events with weak fields. He made his position clear even without fessing up. He's not a fan of the proposal.

“Do I support it? I don't know,” he said. “I mean, we'll see what happens. It will be kind of interesting to see how it plays out. But I'm not really a part of the discussion.”

Well, unless you count the ones he’s already had with Finchem.

“No, I have lot to say, but just not publicly yet,” Mickelson added. “I've made sure that he knows my feelings on some of that stuff, yeah.  I don't know if it matters, but I know that he knows at least how I feel.”


Since: Aug 28, 2010
Posted on: August 28, 2010 5:58 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

I watched 2 swing analysis by Peter Kostis on today's Barclays Tournament telecast. First he critiqued Tiger's swing today compared to a swing from a past time. I didn't see any difference in the 2 swings after Tiger reached the terminus of his backswing contrary to Kostis's analysis. Later he critiqued Martin  Laird's swing saying Laird's clubface was closed causing him to need to over rotate to compensate. On the contrary Laird was perfectly square and on plane at the top of his swing and made a perfect downswing without undue rotation. All good swings require rotation to a balanced position on the back foot with rotation in the downswing to a balanced position to the forward foot. It appears that Kostis isn't looking at the slow mo replay when he is making his analysis or else he wants to make a point using an inconsistent example (or maybe he just is over rated as a golf swing analyst.  (Just the way I see it and I have been playing really good golf for 50 years.

Since: Mar 16, 2008
Posted on: August 26, 2010 5:18 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

Someone just needs to tell Phil to calm down and give him a Snicker's bar so he can go back to being "good 'ol" Phil Snickerson.

Since: Sep 27, 2006
Posted on: August 26, 2010 3:24 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

Actually, I believe it is more like 5k-10k... which makes your point even stronger, though I believe most or all of the participants wouldn't miss the money...

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: August 26, 2010 1:49 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

Before I get blasted...I meant..Furyk has a POSITIVE track record...of attending pro-am's, so with a new rule they should be given some amount of "forgiveness".  But the Tour should come up with a policy to provide forgivenees coupled with eliminating abuse.

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: August 26, 2010 1:49 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

Before I get blasted...I meant..Furyk has a POSITIVE track record...of attending pro-am's, so with a new rule they should be given some amount of "forgiveness".  But the Tour should come up with a policy to provide forgivenees coupled with eliminating abuse.

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: August 26, 2010 1:37 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

Of course the rule has NOTHING to do with the's ONLY about keeping the major sponsors happy (I assume)....which is the golden goose.  Assume the decision company's make on whether or not to sponsor the event certainly relates to the on-air advertising...but don't doubt that the perks the Exec's get (playing in the Pro-Am...with hopefully a top flight guy) doesn't factor into the cost/benefit analysis/decision.   
; Not trying to be argumentative...but taking your logic....if given flexiblity on the rule, it means to the event sponsors (the largest corporations in the US) and significant contributors, "we are having a Pro-Am and a gala the night before (Pairings Party) to select your Pro...but oh by the way, it's always possible that the pro you have been paired with may choose to cancel or sleep in, but not to worry, we'll have a substitute who is also a really good player".. and all 72(?) guys may opt for that since they make so much money and can afford the "fine", but trust us, you'll get someone who is playing on Thursday...and you'll find out who that is on the tee Wed. morning.  Where do you draw the line? 

All that said...I would agree that there should be exceptions...Furyk has a track record...we have all missed a key appointment.  Maybe they have a "3 strikes you're out" rule or something like that.  But appreciate both sides.

Since: Oct 23, 2006
Posted on: August 26, 2010 1:14 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

Never played a pro-am, but know a few folks who have played in the Byron Nelson pro-am here in Dallas.  I don't think you get to choose the pro you get paired with.  Some chaity gigs may have a auction or something, but I believe for most PGA tour events the assignment is random, excpet in a few cases where Tiger played with MJ or Peyton Manning in Charlotte or wherever it was.  Those are media and security driven no doubt.  

Also, the guys who Furyk was paired with for the pro-am did play with a pro.  It was Marc Leishmann I believe, who has the ROY last year.  I can understand being excited if you draw a top name and then disappointed if he no-shows, but the $2K also could have gotten you a local pro you have never heard of who is there on a sponsors' exemption or is the fifth alternate.  Not this week obviously since it is FedEx Cup playoffs, but for sure during some of the lesser events.

Overall, I agree with Phil that if the rule doesn't apply to all and it has nothing to do with the competition, it needs to change.   

Since: Aug 25, 2010
Posted on: August 26, 2010 12:45 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

I wasn't saying I dropped $2K+....I'm an average Joe.  I was only trying to add a different perspecitve on why I assume the PGA commish is taking a hard line on the Pro-Am participation (and the Sponsors have multiple Pro-Am groups involved).  Phil has valid points, but take a look at both sides of the argument...they need to keep the Sponsors and the key financial contributors happy, or they could choose to close their wallets.  While very different on the popularity scale, witness how the LPGA events have declined significantly over the past couple years with the economic downturn.  i.e. you need to keep selling the product. 

Since: Jun 26, 2008
Posted on: August 26, 2010 12:40 pm

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

Nothing against Furyk, but anyone other than the most ardent golf fan wouldn't recognize him if he walked past them on the street. The only two golfers that casual golf fans in America will actually pay money to watch play are Tiger and Lefty.
But to DQ Furyk because he overslept for what is basically a practice round? That is ridiculous. But then again, even the local Motel 6 has wake-up calls, and I doubt these guys stay at the local Motel 6.

Since: Mar 31, 2008
Posted on: August 26, 2010 9:14 am

Phil bares teeth over "ridiculous" pro-am regs

I am not a Phil fan either, but he is right on with his remarks.

Attendance at the Pro-AMs are good for the sport, and done right, the penalty for a no-show, should be punitive in other ways than a DQ from competition.

Tim Finchem, WAKE-UP and do what is right!!!!

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