Steve Elling on Phil's wrist injury, with an interesting take on the support device he's wearing:
Mickelson received a cortisone shot last week, has been trying muscle massage, rehab therapy and various forms of stimulation to increase blood flow to the affected area, and is traveling with a shaman of sorts, former Green Beret Jim Weathers, whose business card lists him as "motivational speaker, shiatsu master and reflexologist."
The wrist is so iffy that doctors ordered Mickelson not to practice, sign autographs or participate in any "strenuous workouts." (Note to Tiger Woods fans: Insert punchline here).
Facts are, the Open isn't a place you come when you are nursing a hand injury -- it's a place you leave with one. Witness Woods at Shinnecock in 1995, when he hit a ball into the high rough, tweaked a wrist while hacking out of the hay, and had to withdraw.
Mickelson might face another uncomfortable hurdle, as in whether the wrist wrap is copacetic in the eyes of the golf rulebook. USGA rules official John Morrissett said Tuesday that he had not inspected the wrap Lefty is wearing, but said it appeared to be made of an "Ace bandage material with no rigid parts." Players are prohibited from using swing-aids and devices designed to restrict wrist movement.
The bandage covers part of Mickelson's left thumb, the back of his hand and encircles his entire wrist. Clearly, taping the wrist is intended to keep Mickelson from further straining the injury and any swing benefit would not be his directed intent. Mickelson joked there could be a crossover effect.
"I would say this will help me keep it one shot at a time, and this brace will help me alleviate any extra wrist break at the top of the swing that I may have," he said.
Then Mickelson turned to a nearby USGA media official and cracked, "Is it OK if I use this (bandage) now that I said that?"
Let's not dismiss it with a flip of the wrist. Morrissett said the bandage "doesn't appear to inhibit movement in the wrist," though it will likely restrict and support it to some degree. Otherwise, why wear it at all? Mickelson even indicated he would tighten the bandage before hitting shots.
"There's a chance somebody with the USGA will take a look at it," Morrissett said.
Okay rules aficionados, what do you think?