Mickelson's "Intent" Revealed: To Drive Finchem Batty

Mauricio, this is Mr. Finchem's office calling, we would like to move up that color session scheduled for next week to this week.

Oh, Mr. Daly acting up again?


Mr. Woods?


Mr. Mickelson?

Yes Mauricio, you obviously saw the telecast. So how about Thursday, just be at the airport and the Falcon will take you up to Chicago and back, just like in May when you took care of him.

Oh I remember, the drug testing stress. Well tell Mr. Finchem I'll bring the nice light brown he prefers for the summer months.

I will tell him.

Steve Elling pieces together the details of Phil Mickelson pulling down his pants and turning a positively joyous, downright classic golf tournament into yet more millionaire bickering spilling out on national TV (I knew I should have left for the beach after NBC signed off!).

And you know the way Elling spells it out, as well as Chris Lewis (who transcribes the Jimmy Roberts interview) I think Phil's going to have people feeling sorry for the Commissioner. That's not easy to do!

If you want to read it straight from Mr. Family Man's mouth, here are the key excerpts, with the point misser and rally kill trimmed for your reading sanity. Well, except for that in-house, PGA Tour designed kill...

Q. Based on some comments on TV, is your rival now Tiger or Tim?

PHIL MICKELSON: Oh, no, no. I don't have a problem, it's just that I'm a little conflicted on some things because I'm trying to -- I want to have a balance in my life, and I certainly feel the obligation to play and support the FedExCup and to support the PGA TOUR, support the game of golf.

And I also want to have balance in my family life, and my family has sacrificed a lot this year because it's been a very difficult schedule. It's not the four FedExCup tournaments; it's the PGA, Akron right before that, only four days off after the British Open before we had to travel and playing two weeks before that, so it's been the last three months having no more than two days off at a time and working to do corporate outings in between.

Can we set this to Schubert? Maybe string quartet No. 14 to really capture the totality of this terrible man making you play so much golf for all that money in between your corporate outtings!
So our time together has struggled, and I want to have a balance there. They start school next week, so I have that conflict -- or obligation and desire to be there.
My frustration from this past year came from asking for a couple of things in the FedExCup that weren't done and not really feeling all that bad now if I happen to miss. So I'm not really sure how it's going to play out.

Like I said, he's making you feel for the Commissioner isn't he?

Q. You said a couple discussion points with Tim that you were looking for vis-á-vis the design of the Playoff structure.

PHIL MICKELSON: I don't want to go into it. Just I want to support it and I certainly feel the obligation to, but I also have to have a balance both ways.

Q. Did you talk about it this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: Every time I see him this year I bring it up.

And this would be what? Oh right, that's confidential.

Here's a nice endorsement for the playoffs, again, after a thrilling finish that has done wonders for his season, brought great attention to his sponsors, wonderful vibes for Boston fans and in general, boosted the FedEx Cup's profile....

Q. Were you more excited about the FedExCup or more excited about 2008?

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm excited about the way this week went. I loved this finish, I loved being able to play three rounds with the best player of arguably all time and certainly the best player in the world today, and to be able to come out on top feels great, and that just leads to excitement for the coming here, as well as I guess the finish of the year. But '08 is when our next major is, so that's kind of what I'm looking forward to.

Q. Are you going to play next week?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was just saying, I don't know.

Q. But you'll be in Chicago --
PHIL MICKELSON: I'm not sure. I don't know.

Q. You'll be there tomorrow, though?
PHIL MICKELSON: I'll be there tomorrow. I had already scheduled an outing I was planning on playing, but I'm not sure.

Q. If you were to skip next week, would that mean skipping the last one, too?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, I would end up going to Atlanta.
STEWART MOORE: I believe we've touched on 12 and 18. Can you briefly take us through the rest of your birdies?

Are rally kills by the in-house PGA Tour staff eligible for Rally Killer of the Year? Hmmm...

"Evidently didn't want to go in."

Highlights from Tiger's subdued (he explains) post-63 press conference:

KELLY ELBIN: Tiger Woods, ladies and gentlemen, in with a round of 7-under par 63 in the second round of the 89th PGA Championship. With this round of 63, Tiger becomes the 21st individual to shoot 63 in major golf championship history. The score also equals the course record set by Raymond Floyd in the opening round of the 1982 PGA Championship.

Here's the list of 20 who have done it prior to Tiger.

Q. Tiger, amid all the allegations that Southern Hills was a Tiger tamer, how did it feel to put that to rest and also how did that last ball not go in?

TIGER WOODS: As far as the first part, I finished 12th in the U.S. Open. It's really not that bad. And my dad had a heart attack, was placed in the hospital in '96. So those are my two appearances. I really can't say it's really that bad.

But as far as that last putt, I was trying to make it. And I hit it a little bit firm and I thought I made it, because it was breaking at the end. I knew it broke a lot more at the end than at the beginning. Started diving.

Evidently didn't want to go in.

Tigerphiles, refresh my memory, has he talked much about that with his father in 1996? A follow up is in order, either way.
Q. Digression a little bit.

Ah, at least the rally killer is preparing us...

There was a memorial service for Bill Walsh today at Candlestick/Monster Park. They read a telegram from you during the ceremonies, and ...

Okay back to the 22nd 63 in major championship history:

Q. After a personal best round in a major, you don't seem brimming with satisfaction. How satisfied are you?

TIGER WOODS: I'm very satisfied, Tom. I'm just really hungry (smiling). I just want to go home and go eat. That's the only reason why I'm pretty mellow right now. I ate a banana on the way in here and that wasn't enough.

Q. After a round like this, what do you do preparation-wise where it appears you're doing everything correctly? Are you afraid to touch a club, you might screw it up in preparation for tomorrow's round?


TIGER WOODS: No, I'm not going to go out there and practice. I didn't practice at all last week after my rounds because it was hot and humid. Conserve my energy and make sure I'm fired up and ready to go for the next round for tomorrow.

Check this out...

Q. When you're going over your birdies, it was 2-iron off the tee, 3-iron, 4-iron, how much is the dog legs, how much is it the ball carrying in the heat, and how much does that fit into your confidence when you can hit those clubs off the tee?

TIGER WOODS: I've been hitting 4, it goes 240, 230. 5-iron, between a 5-iron and 6-iron off of 10. The ball is going a long way. 3-under 2-irons because it's so hot and you get the right wind. You have to have the right wind to hit these that far.

And it's just the way the golf course is playing. And I just play it to my spots just like I did in '01, just I'm hitting it a little bit better than I did in 2001.

The Rally Kill: An In-Depth Study

It's embarrassing for me to have missed such a brilliant rally killer, but frankly, I can only read so many "Tiger, now that you are a father..." questions before moving into skim mode.

Well, Chris Lewis not only caught one incredible rally kill effort during Tiger's Tuesday press conference at the AT&T National, but he dissects it with entertaining precision. 

"ARNOLD PALMER: Who gives a shit? (Laughter). If you can't win, it doesn't matter. That's s-h-i-t."

Palmer's session was by far the most fun...

Q. Gary Player is going to tie your record this week for most Masters played. He's talking about breaking it next year. What are your thoughts just about that?

ARNOLD PALMER: Well, if he isn't embarrassed, I won't be embarrassed for him. (Laughter).

Q. Just your thoughts about the rivalry.

ARNOLD PALMER: No, we're good friends. He just wants to do one better, and that's fine. I'm for him. But he can't touch my record. He hasn't even come close to it. And you don't know why, though, do you? He missed a year. So that's the end of that. (Laughter).

Q. He's in pretty good shape.

ARNOLD PALMER: What does that mean? Are you saying I'm not in pretty good shape?

Q. Maybe he has like 30 more years left or so.

ARNOLD PALMER: Who gives a shit? (Laughter). If you can't win, it doesn't matter. That's s-h-i-t. (Laughter). Hey, he's my friend and I love him. I can also have fun with him, too.

And for your rally killer of the year consideration:

 Q. Mr. Palmer, the course has changed quite a bit in the last ten years, and everyone is crediting it to Tiger, and the game has changed. Do you believe that one person could change the game so much?


Greetings From L.A., Volume 5

greetingsfromLAA hot and sunny Saturday at Riviera where the course seemed vulnerable, producing a bunch of 68s and 69s but no killer low round (well except Rich Beem's hole-in-one aided 65).

Phil Mickelson summed it up in his post round gathering with the scribblers (where I'm typing this literature): "it's hard to make a lot of birdies and hard to make a lot of bogies."

His sitdown included a beautiful rally killler:

Q.    I'm running a story about your old college roommate PerUlrik Johansson, he has lost all of his playing rights here in the States, and in Europe, can you give me a comment about that?

It's rather startling to see Padraig Harrington at 12 under considering how often he's short-siding himself, and also how many times he tried to play a pitch and run through the kikuyu. The most starting show, however, came at the 6th where he missed left of the green but had a nice bank behind the hole to throw his chip and have it go up a slope, then roll back down within five feet. He instead tried a spinning shot close to the hole that had no chance, and naturally he faced an 15-footer for par.

Here's what he said after.

6, I hit a 4- or 5iron left of the green.  And then chipped it by  it was short.  I chipped it well by the hole and missed the putt.  Seemingly I could have chipped it up the side of the green and it would have come back down.   I didn't happen to notice that.  My playing partner told me that as I was going up the next hole. 

Q.    Are you saying that was Phil that showed that to you and not Charles?


Nice of Phil to give him some help!

Media center affairs were rather dull other than the brief power outage and Marty Hackel's green-pant-pink-shirt-yellow belt ensemble. He declined to be photographed. I will try again tomorrow though, so look out Marty!

Rally Killer Of The Year: "What is your favorite color?"

There were so many fine candidates for the rally killer of the year, an award of no distinction given to some anonymous scribbler who witnessed a player in the midst of an interesting, thought-provoking answer and decided that there was no better time than that moment to blurt out a totally worthless question.

I narrowed the finalists down to a few of my favorites. The selection process was made difficult by these finalists. First, here was Tiger, revealing that he was joining the team flight to Ireland for a little pre-Ryder Cup practice.

Q. Are you going to the K Club?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm going. We're all going together. I had to reschedule a couple things.

Q. When are you coming back?

TIGER WOODS: Wednesday morning. I get back Wednesday morning here.

Q. What's the puppy's name?

TIGER WOODS: Yogi, like Yogi Bear. He looks more like Yogi Bear.

Q. What kind?

TIGER WOODS: It's a Labradoodle.

Back to golf (laughter).

Nice attempt to kill the rally, but ultimately not quite as serious a topic as this example of Fred Funk ending a great rant on the state of the game or this one of Geoff Ogilvy elaborating on the genius of Winged Foot:

The greens here are so well designed, you've just got to play the hole backwards before you start. You've got to know if you're going to miss the tee shots you're going to miss the shots because they're narrow, extremely narrow. So if you're going to miss it, you've got to miss it on the correct side so you can run it up near the green to a spot where you're going to have a chance of getting it up and down.

On a good golf course you have to think backwards like that. Augusta National you have to think backwards. I like a golf course that makes you think that way. St. Andrews makes you do that.

I enjoy that aspect of golf, you know, just really plotting my way around there and thinking about it.

Q. You're going to be the first Australian since '95 to win a major.

Yep, super, so glad we are on that subject than hearing more about that stuff about looking at the course backwards and thinking and...ugh.

Here's a David Toms rally kill that nearly took the crown. He's talking about the changes to Augusta and really letting loose. So what better time than now to interrupt him!

Q.   So were guys right in saying it feels more like a U.S. Open, the guys that said that?

DAVID TOMS:   Oh, sure, if you brought in the fairways another five yards on both sides and grew that rough up to where it was four inches, that's exactly what you would have.   You'd have a Masters/Open because the corridors are getting awfully tight with all of the trees they are putting in.   Who knows 20 years from now what it's going to look like with all of the new trees.   And the greens are obviously, they can firm them up because of the sub-air system and they can make it play as difficult as they want.

Q.   Just to change the subject, I'm doing a piece on hole-in-ones, and just kind of asking guys what their first hole in one is and their most memorable hole-in-one.   I'm pretty sure I can guess your most memorable?

But for me, there was no better rally kill in 2006 than the day Michelle Wie was asked about her father as a caddy, leading to a surprisingly blunt answer from Wie.

Q: Your father is not your caddie anymore. Do you miss having him on the bag?

MICHELLE WIE: Honestly, not really. (laughter)

Q: What don't you miss?

MICHELLE WIE: Umm, well he is in the room. No, but it was fun when he caddied for me, but he is getting old. He cannot carry that big bag around. He wouldn't make it around. (laughter)

Q: What is your favorite color?

Yes, why use this opening to ask about dad and his weirdness when you can know her favorite color!

Tiger's Ryder Cup Press Conference

He opened with an opening statement regarding the obviously bogus photo and story purported to be about his wife, and then, a rally killer stepped in.

TIGER WOODS: Well, first of all, if you don't mind, I'll answer that second.

I just want to make an opening statement real quick. That, you know, for me personally, and for my wife, things that have occurred over here, I'm very disappointed, not the fans, not the people here, not the Irish people. But very disappointed in how the article that was written, my wife, yes, she has been a model prior and she did do some bikini photos. But to link her to porn websites and such is unacceptable, and I do not accept that at all. Neither does our team. And I just want to say that that doesn't deter or detract from the beauty of this event.

The people here have been absolutely fantastic. Irish people have come out and supported us, and Europeans, I just want to say, sometimes you shouldn't let I know the media can be a little bit difficult at times, but when you it's hard to be very diplomatic about this when you have so much emotion involved, when my wife is involved like this. I just hope that it was the right thing to do, and overall, as I said, I don't want that to deter from the beauty of this event.

We as a team have come together, we have bonded, it's been an absolutely fantastic week and have had such a great time here. Hospitality has been absolutely fantastic. Last week, as Gordon said, we were watching Chelsea Liverpool football match, first football match I've ever been to, quite an experience, quite a bit of singing. We don't do that in American football, that's for sure. So that was a new experience. And as I said, had an absolutely fantastic time this entire week. That was the last I'll say about that.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much.

Q. Ian Woosnam was in here and talking about if the weather stays as it is now and gets worse, that should play in favour of The European Team. What are your thoughts about that?

Now I know he said that was the last he would say about the subject, but of course it wasn't. Does that first question deserve a place in our rally killer of the year sweepstakes? I think so.

Doesn't this make you pray for a Tiger-Sergio singles pairing:

Q. A couple of things, Tiger. We know what your record is in these Matches. A, does it bother you what it is, or has it bothered you more now than it has a couple years ago; and B, Sergio some comments in Switzerland a few weeks ago and that your record is not very good and he looks forward to playing you three or four times. Do those comments annoy you?

TIGER WOODS: It's disappointing, I haven't won points on the Cups that I've been on to win points for my team. I've always felt it's a two point swing; winning a point, losing a point, it feels like it's two points going the wrong way. And unfortunately I've gone on the wrong end of it too many times. It's frustrating because you feel like you've not only let yourself down but you've let your teammate down that your playing with, your partner, as well as your teammates that are trying to win this Cup for our captain and our country. It's very disappointing.

As far as the Sergio comments, hopefully we can get together out there and play.

And now for the dumbest question o' the day.

Q. I read this morning that Team USA has been having a good old fashioned sing song and a couple of pints of Guinness?

TIGER WOODS: Say again, this morning we were drinking? You or us?

Nice comeback Tiger!

Here's today's chilliest exchange (at least, on paper):

Q. Do you feel that you intimidate your own playing partners at all, especially in the foursomes?


Q. No?


I take that back, the follow up, was the worst question of the day.

Tiger In Full

Included below is the full exchange where Tiger Woods took a new stance on drug testing in golf, but before that, check out this Rally Killer of the Year candidate. Apparently Tiger has changed his schedule and is going to take the chartered jet to Ireland with his teammates Monday and Tuesday.

Q. Are you going to the K Club?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm going. We're all going together. I had to reschedule a couple things.

Q. When are you coming back?

TIGER WOODS: Wednesday morning. I get back Wednesday morning here.

Q. What's the puppy's name?

TIGER WOODS: Yogi, like Yogi Bear. He looks more like Yogi Bear.

Q. What kind?

TIGER WOODS: It's a Labradoodle.

Back to golf (laughter).

Q. Obviously you thought it was important enough to reschedule things to go next week. What was the thinking behind that?

TIGER WOODS: I've seen The K Club enough, but just to be with the guys. We're going there as a team and going there just to hang out and relax and play a little golf. Most of the guys haven't played the golf course very much, and if I can help out at all, I can hopefully, and maybe pass on a few tidbits that I've learned over the years of playing there.

Do we have a winner? Certainly a rally killer of the year finalist! And the exchange on drug testing, unfortunatey, minus the questions.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: There are a lot of things I've shifted since I've been on Tour, a lot of things. That's just one of them.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: I think certainly it can be in the future, and I think we should be proactive instead of reactive, and I think that we should just like the driver situation, we were reactive there instead of proactive.

I just think that we should be ahead of it and keep our sport as pure as can be. This is a great sport and it's always been clean.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: Have a program in place before guys are actually doing well, know who's doing it, and then create a program. I think that would be reactive.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: I'd be in favor of that, no doubt about that. I would be in favor of that, yes. I don't know if we could get that implemented in time. It's fine with me.

Q. (Inaudible)?

TIGER WOODS: It depends on what it is because each sport kind of takes a few things off of it, and some sports are pretty strict about what they can take. They can't even take aspirin. I don't know how that would work.

Tiger, Do You Like Golf?

Okay, so none of the stenographers asked anything that silly, but check out these beauties following Tiger's win at the Buick.

For fun, I've supplemented Tiger's answers with my own versions of what he might really like to say. You can go to ASAP to read his actual answers to these thoughtful questions.

Oh, and note that not ONE "reporter" asks about the apple that rolled by his first putt on 17, or how it is that he didn't flinch when it happened!

Q. Your relationship with Buick, what does it mean to win the 50th tournament here, the birthplace of Buick?

A. Actually, it really tops everything I've ever done. The Masters, The Open Championships, the Foundation, the four majors in a row. I'd trade them all in for more wins in Buick events.

Q. We're used to seeing you wear red on Sunday and used to seeing you win. How far back does that good where you've worn red? Have you done that since your rookie year and what's the story behind that?

A. Wow, it's funny, but no one has ever asked me about that or ever written about that. Your name again?

Q. You have 50 wins now. Do you see yourself getting to 83?

A. No, no, winning this Buick is it for me on the PGA Tour. The rest will be majors, no more Tour event victories. So 83 is likely out of the equation.

Q. When is the last time you felt like you were playing this well going into a major?

A. Hmmm, well let's see. I just won a major and I played well the tournament beforehand, so I'm going to have to say the Western Open.

[This is why Tiger gets the big bucks. His actual one word answer: "Western."]

Q. You win the British, you win here, what does that do for your confidence level coming into the PGA?

A. It's tough, you know. I'm battling a lot of demons right now. Since I three putted the 18th at Hoylake and almost three putted 17 today. I'm only 42-under in my last two events, so I'm searching. But I'll regain the confidence soon. I'm sure of it.

Q. We watched you cross drivers and have good approaches and putts and also get in and out of trouble, and one fan in the gallery said you were only in trouble if you were in the water. Looking back, are they both as enjoyable when you look back at a tournament and seeing how you scrambled for par on 2 or had a spectacular hole? How does the enjoyment compare for you?

A. Great question. Lucid, succinct, really on point. But uh, just for clarification, when you say cross drivers, is that like on Entourage when Drama and Turtle crossed swords?

As for the rest of the question, it just doesn't make any sense and wow, look at the time! I really need to get to the airport as Citation X's aren't allowed by Federal Law to sit idling on Michigan runways for more than 30 minutes. Hey, it's been great.

"What is your favorite color?"

Thanks to reader Charlie for submitting this year's leader in the clubhouse for Rally Killer of the Year Award.

Q: Your father is not your caddie anymore. Do you miss having him on the bag?
MICHELLE WIE: Honestly, not really. (laughter)

Q: What don't you miss?
MICHELLE WIE: Umm, well he is in the room. No, but it was fun when he caddied for me, but he is getting old. He cannot carry that big bag around. He wouldn't make it around. (laughter)

Q: What is your favorite color?
MICHELLE WIE: I like all different kind of colors, purple, pink, blue, green. Pink I like, obviously because I am a girl. I really like all different kind of colors. It really depends on my mood. When I am really, like morbid, I really like black. But I like all different kinds of colors.


Dawson: R&A Supports Drug Testing

A largely dull set of exchanges between the inkslingers and R&A head man today at Hoylake. Check out this rivetting opening exchange:

Q. You mentioned the fire engines. Were they going to be on the premises anyway, or have they been brought on because of the situation?

DAVID HILL: The fire station here is about two minutes from the course, and if we had normal weather conditions they would have stayed there because the chief fire officer was quite happy about that. But given the weather, it's prudent for them to come to the golf course, just in case anything should happen.

Q. Number of engines?

DAVID HILL: Two fire engines, which is more than adequate should anything occur. The chief fire officer is very happy with the current situation.

Q. I presume you heard what happened at Hillside yesterday?

DAVID HILL: Yes, we are absolutely aware of that and we've taken the advice of the chief fire officer.

Q. Have the players actually been warned about smoking?

DAVID HILL: Again, we've simply issued the same instructions as we have to the spectators to take due diligence as far as smoking.

PETER DAWSON: Just to be clear, this is not a smoking ban, just asking people to be especially careful.

Q. But they've been given it on a piece of paper, this due diligence, or just made aware of it?

PETER DAWSON: There are notices going on all the scoreboards. We're in the process of actually implementing it at the moment; that's why we're slightly deterring as to whether the players have gotten the paper, but they will be informed.
Jeese, if we couldn't only get them to ask that many questions about the distance issue. Dawson was asked if they had any interest in the winning score:
The score, it would depend on how windy conditions are. We don't particularly mind about the score, as long as we find the best champion. If the conditions stay as they are, I'm sure we're going to see a lot of birdies. And many of the most exciting and memorable Opens we've had have been low-scoring ones. And we don't have a particular problem with that.
Just like the USGA!
Q. One of the newspapers this week said that The R&A are coming under increased pressure to introduce drug testing. Do you particularly feel under pressure?

PETER DAWSON: I don't particularly feel under pressure, let me be clear. I did read some of the reports about this. Our position is that we don't think at the moment that there is much use of performance enhancing drugs in golf. There have been quite a number of drug tests, mainly in France, and the majority of the positive tests were for social drugs, which under The R&A code are just as important as performance enhancing ones.

But that said, we do support the introduction of drug testing in golf, just as we would do in any other sport; we would be anxious to keep the sport free of it. The issue is how do you do that effectively.

And these elite players are playing golf all around the world 52 weeks a year, so it's extremely important that the game, the administration of the game as a whole, professional and elite amateur, introduces drug policies, if not totally together, then close together. The thought that one event in one weekend in 52 can effectively do this I think is not practical, not least because The R&A Code calls for every competition tested at times of the year when players may not be tested. The R&A, while not feeling particularly under pressure in drug testing at the moment, you need anti-doping policies and drug testing to ensure that's the case.

Q. Wouldn't you be the pioneers and everybody would have to follow?

PETER DAWSON: We are pioneering it this year at the World Amateur Team Championships in South Africa. There is going to be drug testing there. The country and the players are aware of it. And we are, if you like, cutting our teeth on making sure that we can administer that properly, as our first step.

Q. Do you call that a dress rehearsal, then?

PETER DAWSON: It's a rehearsal. I don't know when you're going to see drug testing in professional golf around the world, but we would support it.
What better time than now to kill the rally?
Q. You mentioned some quite unprecedented level of interest in the practice rounds here this week. Does that encourage you to be more experimental or adventurous in your choice of Open venues, so The Open appeals to a non-Open Championship audience?
Back to the newsmaking...
Q. What is it that's so difficult about implementing an anti-doping policy, which all sports seem to be able to do so?

PETER DAWSON: There's nothing particularly difficult about it; it is administratively complex. Every sport you read about has disputes about drug tests, don't they? So there are a lot of administrative problems and also costs. But that aside, the difficulty in golf is that not all governing -- not all bodies, rather, in the game, seem to be quite ready to think it's a good idea.

Q. Taking that further, though, Peter, as the law making body for half the world, couldn't you get together these people and get talking about it, or are you already doing that?

PETER DAWSON: Well, we're certainly doing that in our area of what you might call jurisdiction, which is with all the national golf unions around the world who send teams down to the World Amateur Team Championships. There's 60 or 70 countries participating there, and all of those have agreed that there will be an anti-doping policy and drug testing in application there. We are not the governing body, if you like, for discipline on the professional Tours, in Europe, Asia, Australasia, South Africa, America, Canada or South America. That is not an area we could dictate or influence, because it will be influenced by discussion and participation.

Q. Are you planning on doing that?

PETER DAWSON: The conversations about this subject have been going on for quite some time.

Here's a brilliant question. And we can be sure it wasn't an American.
Q. Do you think if the hot weather continues like this that there's a danger the tournament may become a lottery?
MARTIN KIPPAX: Well, I'm not sure quite what you mean by that. I mean, the ball is going to bounce on the golf course, if that's what you're saying. But it's going to be the same for everybody. And they are true links conditions, as you all know. The situation is we've had a very hot period. The course is in good condition, and the fairways are, as we said they would be, perfectly fair. And the rough is the rough. We've had a very strong rough, which is now fading back, if you will, with the heat.

But the reality is that I'm quite sure there would be lottery; as such, it will be the person with the most skill that prevails.

PETER DAWSON: When the ball bounces this much, it's more skillful in some ways, not less skillful. When the greens are like they are, which is they will take a good shot from the fairway, then it's more skillful, not less skillful. This idea that it's a lottery is just the reverse of the truth.


Ogilvy's Post Final Round Comments

First, Ogilvy's TV transcript:

Q. Talk about the chronology of coming down and seeing what happened with Phil, and maybe from your 17th hole?

GEOFF OGILVY: 17, I thought I was in a bit of trouble. Obviously I was way in the boonies, had a terrible lie, tried to go for a bit too much but thought I had to at that point. I thought 4 under was going to be the number because Monty just made birdie on 17, and I thought one of them was going to finish at about 3 or 4. Left it in the rough, missed the green. Yeah, wow, chipped it in. Just scary. What do you say? I mean, a shot that you wait your whole life to chip it in in a situation like that when you need to, and then you do.

Monty was on the fairway on 18, and I thought he's going to hit the green and make a 4 and I'll have to make a birdie. I hit the best drive I hit all week right there. It wasn't in a divot; it was my end of a divot, so it didn't really affect how I hit the ball. It might have slowed the ball down because of the sand, but in the air I thought it was going pretty close, I have to say. I was pretty happy with my second shot.

After the first time all week it kind of hits and spins back. There have been some big bounces out here so it's weird. It's flying another foot, it's right down the hill. I thought I'll get this up and down and I'll lose by a shot, that's what I thought. It was a tricky chip shot, and I hit a good shot and made the putt, and I thought 2nd in the Open is pretty good. That's a good spot.

Phil is probably going to think about that one for a while because that's hard to swallow. I thought I would make a playoff because 18 is a hard hole, but I never thought that would happen.

And now this really nice bit of information and insight, followed by a candidate for rallykiller of the year.
The greens here are so well designed, you've just got to play the hole backwards before you start. You've got to know if you're going to miss the tee shots you're going to miss the shots because they're narrow, extremely narrow. So if you're going to miss it, you've got to miss it on the correct side so you can run it up near the green to a spot where you're going to have a chance of getting it up and down.

On a good golf course you have to think backwards like that. Augusta National you have to think backwards. I like a golf course that makes you think that way. St. Andrews makes you do that.

I enjoy that aspect of golf, you know, just really plotting my way around there and thinking about it.

Q. You're going to be the first Australian since '95 to win a major.

Why would you want to get him to expand on those interesting thoughts when you can remind him for the ninth time that he's the first Aussie to win a major since Elk at Riviera!

And now, for the sit down with the writers and Rand Jerris hosting. We join in with him talking about 17, which NBC didn't show us much of.
17 is the birdiable one out of the throw. I hit a drive to the left, had a terrible lie off the fairway. At that point, after I hit my second shot there, I'm still in the long stuff 100 yards from the green, and it's not really looking very good here. Let's get some damage control and get in as good as you can.

I actually hit a pretty decent shot and missed the green, but pretty close to catching the slope and having a 10 or 12 footer. I was just hung up in the rough, and I thought now you're really done for.

My caddie, Squirrel, he said, "Just chip it in. Why don't you just chip it in (laughter)." You wait your whole life to have a chance to chip one in the last three holes of a major, but when you do it, it took me by surprise a little bit. You try to make it go in, but you don't expect it.

Then on 18, I thought, well, if I knew Monty had hit the fairway, and he was at 4 and I was at 5, I thought he's on the fairway, he's going to make a 4 or a 3. I started almost patting Monty on the back earlier. I thought it was pretty impressive because he was 1 under for the day at that point. That's pretty good golf right there.

Then I saw him three putt and I figured he made bogey. I thought, "Well, now Phil is the only one in front of me." I thought, "If you can get it close here and make birdie, you have a chance." I knew Phil had parred 17 before I even hit off the 18th tee.

Then hit a great shot, kind of ballooned a bit, but I still thought it was good. It was all over the pin and it needed to go forward another couple of feet, and I thought I had hit my career shot there. But it caught a soft bounce and came all the way back down the hill. And then I thought I was really done for. I mean, you're not going to do it from here.

I hit the chip shot that I had to hit and made the putt that I had to make. I thought, "Make this and come in second in the Open on your own. That's a pretty good result."

I was hitting that putt thinking this may get me in a playoff. I mean, I was pretty nervy over it, it was a pretty big putt. But I never thought Phil would make bogey at the last. He ended up making double, and it's got to be a hard one to swallow for Phil because he's obviously been the outstanding player at majors in the last eight or nine months. Ever since Augusta, he's been playing well in majors. The first time he won Augusta, he's been there most every time.

He's obviously worked out the major formula, he'll hit it on the green, make a par, make New York happy, but it worked out in my favor. Sometimes things go your way and sometimes they don't, and I'm glad it happened in the U.S. Open.

Q. Can you talk a bit about whether it helped playing with a pink Ian Poulter and whether that took some of the tension away from you?

GEOFF OGILVY: Well, what can you say? A guy turns up with a pink golf bag and pink pants. My caddie actually said, "What do you think Ian is going to wear tomorrow," because it's the last day of a major and you knew he was going to wear something that everybody notices. He's been quite calm with what he was wearing this week. It's all pink, the bag and everything. It kept the New Yorkers pretty happy. They had quite a bit to say. It was quite entertaining hearing what they were coming up with.

I guess in New York they're going to yell at somebody, and they tended to yell at the guy who's dressed in pink (laughter).

Q. Geoff, congratulations, mate. What do you think this will do for Australian golf and most of the other Australians in the field, most of them with their PGA TOUR card, particularly Australian golf?

GEOFF OGILVY: Hopefully Australians will win four majors in a row or something, who knows. Australian golf has been struggling the last two or three years. There's five different guys who have won already this year. That's pretty impressive for a country with 18 million people or 19 million people. Hard to explain why it's so good at the moment.

Again, it's a snowball effect. One guy plays well we all used to go to Europe, but now everyone seems to come here because this really is the only place to play at the end of the day if you want to prepare for the majors.

Now everyone is coming here it seems like to see if they can get in as part of golf on the U.S. Tour. I mean, I don't know, Australian golf is pretty strong at the moment. Hopefully we get a bunch of majors in the next four or five years. There's plenty of guys that can do it.

Q. Can you tell us where you were watching Phil play that last hole and what that scene was like for you?

GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, it was pretty surreal. How many times do you watch a telecast and you watch the guy who's just finished, watch the guy come up the last. I must have done it a thousand times, watching the guy watching the TV (laughter). And that was me (laughter).

I was watching it in the scorer's hut for most of it. I just signed my card and sat there. There was a TV in there. Then they moved me into the locker room because I guess probably give Phil a bit of space. He didn't want me sitting in his chair when he came into the scorer's hut. Then I got out there and watched the actual moment when Phil didn't chip it in in the locker room.

Q. You've won a major and your life is certainly going to change. How do you think you're going to cope with that?

GEOFF OGILVY: Hopefully well. Hopefully well. Hopefully I don't change at all. I mean, I'll be a more confident player and on my resume it looks better to know that I did it. Hopefully I don't change very much. I don't really want to. Hopefully I don't have a post bash major slump. I've never won a major so I don't know how I'm going to go from now on.

But I'm taking a bit of time off the next few weeks to get ready for Hoylake. It's going to actually be my next golf tournament actually. A few weeks to think about it, let it sink in. British Open is one of my favorite tournaments in the world. Hopefully I can play well there again.

Q. Forgive me, but I didn't get a chance to see that chip on 17. Can you just kind of set it up for me, exactly where the ball stopped and how many feet you were shooting at and what the loft was on the club?
Holy cow! A writer asking forgiveness for not having seen the action. A first!
GEOFF OGILVY: It was my lob wedge, 60 degrees. It was in the semi rough, not the heavy stuff, but it was kind of near the heavy rough. The heavy stuff was kind of four inches behind my ball, which made it a little bit more awkward than you'd want it. It was a 30 foot chip shot, 25 foot chip shot, downhill, left to right. I put about four putts on the back nine that looked like they were going in and they missed low, dived low right at the end. This chip shot looked low the whole way. I thought it was going to miss low the whole way, and for some bizarre reason, it hung on and went in. It's just, wow. You try to chip it in, but when it does go in, it's pretty surprising.

Q. Was it from the front right?

GEOFF OGILVY: I was chipping from just short of pin high left.

And finally...

Q. Which club did you grow up playing at?

GEOFF OGILVY: The first bunch of golf I ever played was at Sandringham Golf Course, which is the golf course across the road from Royal Melbourne. You turn right in the gate of Royal Melbourne, you turn left to go to Royal Ann. You'd pay eight bucks to play there on Saturdays. Then I joined Cheltenham Golf Club, which is right next door to Victoria Golf Club, which is the golf course I'm still a member of today.

Q. Talk about your mental process and how it's improved over the years. Can you pinpoint why and what happened to help you in that process?

GEOFF OGILVY: There was not like a lightbulb, it wasn't like an epiphany or anything. It was just a gradual realization that for the most part the best players out here are the best because they're the best up here. It's just the maturing process. If you're at 18, you don't want to hear that; you just want to hear you've got to hit the ball good and then it'll take care of itself. You go through and you play with guys, you do it yourself, you kind of self destruct and you get down on yourself.

And then you play with guys and see it from another perspective and see another guy self destruct and kind of get in his own way, if you like. The longer you play, you get older and wiser and smarter and start realizing that it's not very constructive to have anything but an exemplary attitude.

Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world because he's got the best brain. He hits the ball well, but there's plenty of guys that hit the ball well. But he's got the best head. He's probably got the second best head in history next to Jack, and it might turn out that Tiger's might be more impressive than Jack's. Nicklaus' was obviously the best because his brain was the best, no doubt.

You just slowly come across the realization that you'd better be smarter about it, I guess. I don't know.

Toms On Augusta

Thanks to reader Steve and Robert for the heads up on David Toms' Hilton Head gathering with da medja. Lots of interesting stuff here:

Q.   And secondly, if you were to have an audience with Hootie this afternoon and he says that you can change one thing about Augusta National, your answer would be --

DAVID TOMS:   -- so many rules.

Q.   What do you mean by that?

DAVID TOMS:   Well, to me it's still a place where the players walk around on eggshells, and you know, not knowing if they are in the right place; they are worried about their cell phone being on; having to stop by the little place, the hut on the way in, to scan your ticket; to making sure you only have one parking pass and somebody else doesn't get in there; to making sure that the wrong person doesn't get your pass and get thrown in jail and try to sell it to somebody else; to not signing autographs in a certain spots or not asking for an autograph in a certain spot; or sitting down at the table too long.   It's just one thing after another.   It's like, you know, the only place all year where the players don't feel like they are the most important thing there.   That's the way I see it and I don't think that I'm the single opinion on that.   So that would be the only thing.

And this fine follow up...

Q.   You mentioned stopping by the hut to scan the ticket; did you guys have to do that?

DAVID TOMS:   Yeah, when you pull in the parking lot you go by this little hut on the way in to scan your ticket.   I don't even know what it's all about.   It's like CIA stuff, you know what I mean.   I don't know, to me it's just uncalled for.   It's not, you know, you can't have your instructor here, you've got a major championship and you can't have your instructor walk down the fairway with you to prepare for the golf tournament.   You know, it's just one after another.   It's like the book of rules and I just think it's a little over the top, that's all I'll say.

Q.   Do you think Tiger has ever had to stop and get his ticket scanned?

DAVID TOMS:   You know, that's the thing.   That's the thing, if he doesn't, why is he any different than me or the Pub Links Champion?   But, you know, I just feel it's that way.

In a way, it makes it different and it makes it special and it makes it just kind of unique, but then again, it's still a golf tournament in the end.   It's the players that make that tournament.   It's Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods battling down the stretch that headaches that event successful on television around the world.   It's not how green the grass is on No. 1 fairway.   So, you know, we'll see, but I don't see that changing, either.   I don't think I'm going to get my time in front of him until I win the tournament.

Q.   Another Masters question, on the back nine on Sunday, we didn't get that jolt that just makes it feel like The Masters, and I wonder how much of that was the design or just guys not taking advantage of the opportunity, any opinion there?

DAVID TOMS:   It is the design.   You know, it's just different, and I don't think you're going to see that anymore.   You know, you saw it the year that Ernie and Phil were battling down the stretch because you're talking about two of the longest hitters in the game and two of the best players, so they were able to have some dramatics and have the power to do it.

You know, when I'm on 15, I hit a good drive and I still was almost 250 yards out from the middle of the fairway, not only is the chance of eagle not very good, but the chance of birdie is not very good, either.   So it's just the golf course is different nowadays and you're not ever going to see a whole lot of heroics from at least half the field.   You have a handful of players that can create it, but at the same time, it's even more difficult for them.

I don't think you're going to see that a whole lot more, the back nine.   You might see somebody collapse on the back nine because the holes are more difficult but I don't see a big charge.   I don't see myself shooting 29 on the back nine ever again like I did in '98, and I don't see anybody else doing it, either.   So you know, we'll see, and could be wrong, but I don't think so.

Q.   So were guys right in saying it feels more like a U.S. Open, the guys that said that?

DAVID TOMS:   Oh, sure, if you brought in the fairways another five yards on both sides and grew that rough up to where it was four inches, that's exactly what you would have.   You'd have a Masters/Open because the corridors are getting awfully tight with all of the trees they are putting in.   Who knows 20 years from now what it's going to look like with all of the new trees.   And the greens are obviously, they can firm them up because of the sub-air system and they can make it play as difficult as they want.

You're thinking, this guy's on a roll. Maybe his take on this trend in all golf course setup, or what he feels is driving this mentality that the players need to be humiliated?

Q.   Just to change the subject, I'm doing a piece on hole-in-ones, and just kind of asking guys what their first hole in one is and their most memorable hole-in-one.   I'm pretty sure I can guess your most memorable?
Now that is a rally killer!


Ames and The Masters

 Stephen Ames after The Players Championship THE PLAYERS:

It was a difficult year for my wife and myself. And my boys, yeah, they probably watched it all as they came in this afternoon. They're probably sitting in front of the television watching it. It's going to be a big thrill and a wonderful vacation now.

Q. Have you spoken to Jodi yet?

STEPHEN AMES: I haven't, no.

Q. Is that going to be a two week vacation?

STEPHEN AMES: Not sure yet (laughing).

Q. Seriously, is there a possibility you won't play The Masters?

STEPHEN AMES: I have no plans of playing at Augusta. My kids have just come out of for their spring break, and we had plans to go somewhere else. My priorities have always been my family first. If it comes down to that, it's probably going to be a two week vacation, yes.

Q. What is the status of your citizenship?

STEPHEN AMES: For which country (laughter)?

Q. For your individual country.

STEPHEN AMES: I am born in Trinidad and Tobago. I am also a Canadian citizen. I live in Canada and have been there for the last 12 years.

Ah, but this rally killer was not successful...

Q. Is it possible your wife might talk you into Augusta?

STEPHEN AMES: I don't know. I'm not sure about it yet.

Q. What will determine whether you go to Augusta? Would your wife and children have to say go, pop?

STEPHEN AMES: No, I'd rather go on vacation to be truthful.

Q. So are you telling us you will not play The Masters?

STEPHEN AMES: I don't know yet. We'll see.

Funk: "they've lost control of the game. I'll swear to that."

Reuters ran with a condensced version of the Fred Funk's comments at the Players. But if you have the time, it's worth reading exactly what he said:

Q. We've seen so much of a tug o'war going on in the game about the power game and bombs away versus skill and precision. Do you feel like it's evolved to a point where power is going to be a requisite skill?

FRED FUNK: Yeah, I feel bad right now. My son loves the game of golf. He's a little guy. He's obviously not going to be physically very big. Not that little guys don't hit the ball a long way, but most little guys don't hit the ball a long way. There's always the exception.

I don't feel with where the game has gone that he will ever have a chance to play on the PGA Tour because he doesn't hit the ball far enough. The kids coming up now are hitting the ball miles. With today's equipment, you just have to it's so forgiving, the driver, I don't think it's the driver so much that's allowing you to hit it a long way; it's the more golf swing givability of the driver that allows you to swing at it. If you're blessed with that swing speed, the ball takes off for you and doesn't come down. Guys are flying it 330, 340 yards right now, which is a joke. It's made designing golf courses a nightmare. It's changed the whole philosophy of the game.

I met with [Arnold] Palmer's group a couple weeks ago, and talking to them about how they design a golf course that's fair for a guy that can hit it 330 and a guy that hits it 270 and where they have to place their corners and place the bunkers and everything else. You can't make it fair.

I really believe, and I know I'm one of the short guys barking with the guys hitting it a long way, so it doesn't get much attention; he's just jealous that he doesn't hit it that far. I truly believe if you're blessed with that kind of ability that you get the benefit of the golf ball, you don't need as much talent as the old players did because you can hit it so far. Just bomb it over all the trouble and you have a wedge or 9 iron into the green, and you're going to hit a lot of greens. I don't care how deep the rough is. And they're strong already, they're going to get it on the green out of the rough, or somewhere around it. I just don't see the skill level, other than just clubhead speed being a big factor in the future.

Q. Some people argue it would be a good thing to have bigger, better athletes, maybe the next wave you'll see a Tour full of 6'4", 240-pounders.

FRED FUNK: That's naturally going to happen because for one, the game of golf has become a great game to play as a kid. Now it's looked upon as a sport; I blame Tiger Woods for it because he's made the game cool. It's a cool game to play as a kid.

The kids are seeing the money we're playing for, they're seeing the personalities we have out here, especially with well, when Tiger came out and was No. 1, but right now our rookie class with Camilo [Villegas] and J. B. Holmes and Bubba [Watson] and numerous others, but those three guys are remarkable guys, unbelievable talent. They hit the ball miles, and they see that, and how can a kid that has a lot of athletic ability and he's fortunate enough to get introduced to the game of golf and doesn't pursue it? He ends up with a linebacker's body and he's playing golf. It's going to happen.

And why it's going to happen it is because it's a cool sport and we're going to have more and more kids playing it at a young age and they're going to develop into some big kids and they're going to be really powerful players. The ball already goes a long way, so the sky is the limit for how far the ball may go in the future with the future golfer.

But it's sad because I think they've lost control of the game. I'll swear to that. I mean, I'll argue that until nobody can prove me different. I'll argue that with every USGA guy that tests every equipment and everything else. They can throw the ShotLink stats out, they can throw everything at me and they cannot change my mind on that. I'm just adamant about the way the game has gone really since 2002, since this last generation of golf ball.

All they really have to do, they don't have to do anything, bring one golf ball back that's talked about or bring the golf ball back, just go back to the golf ball we had before this last change, and it would narrow down that gap between the long and the short.

I don't mind being the shortest guy. I never minded being one of the shortest guys on Tour and competing with a guy that could on the stats he was 295, 300, but when you have guys at 320, 330, 335, I mean, those guys that are averaging that can actually hit it 350; that's a long way. You can't beat that on a lot of golf courses now, and the design guys have no idea what to do.

So they do one thing, they jack the tees back and they don't change the greens. They say, okay, we've got to jack the tees back to protect the golf course from the long guys. You just took all the short guys completely out of it, so now all the long guys are up at the top, unless you have a great putting week, chipping week. I'll get in trouble for that, but that's all right.

Q. I hate to stop you. You skipped the Zurich Classic [in New Orleans] last year, and I understand you're going back this year. How much did the impact of [Hurricane] Katrina have on your decision?

Hey, at least he was an admitted Rally Killer.