Life must be hard for Phil Mickelson.
Lefty withdrew from this past weekend's Memorial Tournament, Jack Nicklaus' tournament, after the first round, citing "mental fatigue". Seems he'd done a little bit of extra-curricular travelling in the weeks leading up to the Memorial and couldn't quite keep his head in the game.
Rumours immediately circulated that Mickelson's "mental fatigue" was fed by the click and whirr of cellphone cameras out on the course, as his many fans tried to record their big moment standing near their golfing hero. I guess the cricket-like clicking got under Phil's skin, especially since cellphone cameras are banned on the course.
So he quit. And expected, I think, for the world to accept his decision and move on.
Only then we were treated to one Tiger Woods, the golfer who has cast a massive shadow over Mickelson almost throughout his entire career. Woods hasn't been playing too well of late, has struggled momentously in fact, but came to Memorial as much to honour one of his own golf heroes, the Golden Bear, as to continue to work on his game.
Tiger showed some spark in the first two rounds and then, battling a fever that apparently topped out at 102 degrees, played himself in, then out, then back into contention on Saturday.
Woods was so sick he probably should have been home in bed with a doctor hovering nearby. Instead, he was out on the course, playing for Jack, for himself, and for us.
I wonder if Mickelson watched that third round? Saw Tiger sweating and shaking as he gave it his all. I wonder if Phil watched the final round of the tournament? Do you think he did? Did he watch and mutter to himself as the day progressed: "I can't see how anyone can play golf with all that clicking going on?"
Did he watch as his nemesis, Tiger Woods, are up the back nine to put himself in striking distance, then hit that ridiculous shot on 16 that brought a roar from the crowd, a Tiger roar of a kind no other golfer seems able to inspire?
I wonder how poor Phil is feeling this morning. The U.S. Open is coming up in two weeks and he certainly can't miss that one, even if that annoying cellphone camera clicking problem hasn't been dealt with. He's got to tee it up and play golf, despite this incredible distraction.
My question is this: if Mickelson can't play golf when there's a little bit of clicking going on, how in the world can we expect him to play when Tiger has the gallery roaring?