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Dorman: Callaway's Investigator Learned That The House Doesn't Always Win, At Least In Phil's Case

Buried deep in his analysis of Rory McIlroy's equipment switch and the initial criticism is this nugget from Larry Dorman, former Callaway SVP.

It involves the longtime rumors of Callaway paying off Phil Mickelson's purported gambling debts, and is preceded by an apology from Dorman for inserting himself into the story, who then explains what went into vetting Mickelson before his signing with Callaway in 2004.

If this doesn't put those rumors to rest...

Phil had won 15 tournaments, including the 2004 Masters, during his successful affiliations with Ping and then Titleist. He was ranked No. 4 in the world on the Official World Golf Ranking, his Titleist contract was expiring, and he was considering his options with other manufacturers. The month before the Ryder Cup was to be played at Oakland Hills, he signed with Callaway, swayed by the company’s new golf ball and driver combination. The surprise signing and the proximity of the Ryder Cup combined to cause quite an uproar in the media.

Baseless rumors arose in some quarters, questioning Mickelson’s motivation for signing. When I say baseless, I mean totally unfounded, manufactured rumors alleging gambling debts that had no basis in fact. Mickelson did like to gamble at the time, but he had zero outstanding debts and his betting patterns -- a stat that Vegas casinos keep -- had him even, to slightly up. All the information was checked out by Callaway’s head of investigations, a former head of counterintelligence for the U.S. Army, and no evidence was found to support the claims, either of gambling debt or any other charge.

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Reader Comments (24)

Does't Dorman mean Yonex?

As a potentially inflammatory yet irresistible aside, I would suspect many regular readers of this site are unwilling to accept as dispositive the findings of anyone in any way related to our government's intelligence community.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
Open season on Phil. Fire at will.
Ace - It was Yonex, then Titleist, then Callaway.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTighthead
That is good stuff! So much for that legendary story...

Phil's first tour win was in fact with Ping....but he was in college after all ;0)

Getty Images is amazing, they still have pics on the site from that event in 1991. There's a Jan 1992 pic that clearly shows him swinging the TaylorMade Pittsburgh Persimmon with the Flex-Twist shaft. I must admit that twice in my life I have tossed a club in a lake and one of them was that exact driver into the lake at 12 tee by Payne's playing partner said "damn dude, that was a good shaft, I'd have like to have had that".
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
My all-time most-throwable club was the TM Spoon (Bubble shaft ed.). That thing was at least three degrees shut sure as I'm arthritic and produced the most reliable left-to-left crop dusting snipes in the history of golf.

So apparently Callaway's S-2 offered no opinions as to the veracity of Phil's other alleged co-favorite extra-curricular activity?
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
I am also evan to slightly up in Vegas too ;)

In fact have you ever met anyone who hasn't lost in Vegas?
'' Callaway’s head of investigations, a former head of counterintelligence for the U.S. Army''

Wow, sounds like Callaway as more to hide than PM.

I have never been a club thrower. I had a LH T/M Spoon/TT S300, and hit it dead straight, and very low (I am a low baller to begin with) and always 30 yards shorter than I intended.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Tommy: You are spoiling us. Has anyone yet thanked for for another banner nonpareil? Thank you.

That "Ely Callaway paying off Vegas" story was always ridiculous.

It's not the intelligence gatherers, even when they miss the plot. It's their political bosses who use the intelligence to fill their preconceived/misconceived frames...

I once gently tossed a TaylorMade 200-Steel driver at my golf bag after hitting my default high push-slice into a creek. The club hit the bag at the perfect attitude and the head snapped off about 10 inches up. The jagged shaft then stuck itself right in the ground, vertically, with the head staring back at me. I think I heard it laughing; something was. I next heard one of the novices in the group whisper to another companion, "Did be just break his driver?" That member of the group, who worked at the Salk Institute for three years (3 am to 2 pm "shift") so he could spend every afternoon at Torrey Pines for about $6, just nodded "yes" to keep from losing it. Went the rest of the way around using a Titleist persimmon 4-wood off the tee. And the next day at work I was greeted by everyone as the golf club slayer. Funny, in more ways than one. I have the remnant and use it as a paper weight, 12 years later.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
Umm, Phil is going viral in places that golf has never even been mentioned before now:
Basic thrust of the comments is the same everywhere. LOL.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG
I needed air traffic control for my driver/ putter aerobatics
01.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterpat burke
Hey Ace. That bubble shaft was intended to decrease the torsional flex that allowed club faces to open on hard swings. If your swing/grip made allowance for the flex, and it was not there......well it will go left for sure. You needed to slow it down or throw it away, and you made the right choice. I still have one in the garage if you get lonely.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

I was a pretty low torque cat back then. I even dropped in an EI-70 Tour Stiff at one point to match my driver but to no avail. That thing was shut, shut, shut. Never should have upgraded from the old one with the dimples in the undercarriage.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
Hey PB, tell the "only throw them forward" story!

The only other time I ever threw a club in a lake was at World Woods. I had a Ping putter that acted up unlike any other putter before, or since....just horrible. After a couple of really glaring transgressions I dragged it down the cart path some....which only prompted it to act up even more. Upon completion of the round a couple of my playing partners swore the loft had been adjusted, but I'm just not so sure, those stainless Pings were very tough to bend, very tough. As we were leaving the club calmly asked the driver to stop the car, I got the putter out of the trunk, and tossed it in the lake....I mean WAY into the lake ;) We then went down the road and got a huge tub of boiled peanuts and at least a few Budweiser's and headed back toward Orlando, all was well...

It occurs to me there are only 2 lakes on the entire Bethpage property, neither of which offer much of a of them really hardly even qualifies as a pond....
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterDTF
When I lived in Houston, I Paul Bunyan-ed my bag while it was strapped to the cart after a loose approach out at The Woodlands. Sheared the head of the aggressor club, broke two shafts in the bag and cracked the face of my watch. My temper didn't get any better for some years, but I did become hyper-rational about club throwing, swinging, beating, etc.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
The ''Air-Burke'' thread made me recall a playing member of our group who tossed his putter up, and it hung up in a tree--- and yes he then threw an iron up to knock it down, and the iron got caught in the tree--- sadly there were only a couple of trees to run interference, and he caught one...behind the 16th at Jimmy Clay in Austin. He was a single or one of a 2some we were paired with, so I don't know what happened to those clubs.
01.22.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
And I thought I was bad for teaching a local junior who has become quite a good player on his way to a Division I program to mutter "dumbass" to himself when he hits a loose shot or misses a makeable putt...
01.22.2013 | Unregistered CommenterKLG

Personally, that's one of the reasons I preferred Kizer; far fewer impediments to aerial operations.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAce
I stopped chucking clubs when the 76 yr. old in our group sauntered over and said "Son, you're not good enough to be throwing clubs".
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterAG
My best club throwing incident occurred at Pinehurst #8 a few years ago. I was three yards short of a green, and had a collection of clubs with me. I knew the play was to roll it with my hybrid, but I had the 64 degree Pelz wedge in my hand. I kept telling myself to pick up the hybrid. . . as I chunked the chip short. Somehow the wedge slipped out of my hand, backwards over my head, and got stuck in a tree. Way up in a tree.

I then threw another Pelz wedge up there to try to knock it down, while my playing partners/"friends" were on the ground laughing. I at one point had 4 wedges in the tree. I tried standing on top of a cart, using a ball retriever, to knock them down. I eventually got two back, and left two up there (always wondered if anyone had been injured when those wedges finally fell out of the tree -- those things were pretty heavy, and fell from quite a height).
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterSmolmania
My favorite club throwing incident was when I went to a 3 day school in Florida. We were practicing chip shots and I had one of those "diamond face" wedges to get more spin (about a 30 handicap at the time). After I chunked about 5-6 times my instructor grabbed the club to hit the shot. She promptly chunked the shot. Looked at the head briefly and then threw it about 40 yards helicoptering through the air. I stood there with my mouth open. We borrowed a club from another player (the thrown club sat there until the chipping session was done), and she gave me specs to go buy a new wedge.

Ever since then I have not totally bought into the it's not the club argument. Sometimes it is the club.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterMattS
Yesterday my oldest and I went to the park to enjoy the day, and walked down to the river, where one guy was drowning worms- we marveled at the fishing gear hanging in the trees, about a dozen rigs!
01.23.2013 | Unregistered Commenterdigsouth
Best club throw I ever saw was at the Eagles, Forest course, in Tampa. There is a par three to a semi-island green and the tee box is back in a chute so you can't actually see it from where you park the carts. Our foursome teed off and one guy put four balls in the water. Well, we all walk back to the carts and I was thinking that the guy would just drop somewhere or write-off the hole. Instead, he grabs a bunch of balls from his bag, tells the rest of us to just wait in our carts and he heads back to the tee. So we proceed to sit there and watch ball after ball come flying out of the chute and find the water, each followed by a disembodied curse or three. Finally, instead of a ball, we see a 7 iron arcing out of the chute. Sure enough, he found the water with that too.
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTampaGolfer
me thinks its wise not to post anything negative about PM or I'll get a letter from his lawyer.

All my friends who frequent Vegas are break even too ;)

The most alarming discovery of this is that Callaway has a head of investigations department
Thanks KLG! ;)
01.23.2013 | Unregistered CommenterTommy Naccarato

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