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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban updated his blog during the opening games of the NBA Finals last week. He would get up from his seat at halftime and post his thoughts on the first half, and then do the same again after the game ended.
Phil Mickelson took notice.
No less a "man of the people" than Cuban, Mickelson waddled into the fray Sunday and took fan interaction to a whole new level by making numerous blog posts of his own during his final round at the U.S. Open. After almost every hole he'd type a few thoughts on his Blackberry, and within moments they'd be up on his blog, allowing his ever-supportive fans to know what their hero was thinking in near real-time.
Here's a sampling of what he wrote:
Posted 6/18/06, 2:52 PM ET
I'm about to head out to the first tee to begin my round. I'm feeling confident. There are some good golfers on the leaderboard, but I don't think they're ready for this jelly.
Posted 3:15 PM ET
Saved par on the first hole, but I'm already feeling the heat -- it's in the 90s today. Most people don't realize how tiring it is to play in the final round of a major. There's three days of pressure built up on you and then, on a day like this, there's the heat, too. But what tires me out the most is pasting on a fake smile every time I stroll past the gallery. It's exhausting.
Posted 3:27 PM ET
Another par save on No. 2. By the way, I just realized there's some random guy playing along with me named Kenneth Ferrie. Never heard of him, but I can imagine he must be pretty excited to play with me, Phil Mickelson. If I have time while beating him, I'll try to give him some pointers.
Posted 3:36 PM ET
Parred the third hole. I rule. Before I get too far into my round, I want to thank all of my sponsors. First of all, the companies with logos on all of my shirts: Ford, manufacturer of great automobiles; and Callaway, who makes my clubs and balls. And secondly, I want to mention the company on my hat, Bearing Point, who makes uh, well I have no idea what it is they do. Outside of being on my hat I've never heard of them. Perhaps they're in the golfer hat sponsoring industry? Who knows. But whatever it is they do, I thank them for all the money they've given me. I spend it on fudge.
Posted 3:48 PM ET
Just birdied No. 4 to take sole possession of the lead, sending the gallery into an uproar. They love me. And that reminds me -- I'm asked by people a lot: "Phil, give me something simple I can do to be as popular and cool as you." And it's a good question. So let me share what I always tell them: "Wear a watch when you play golf." Not only does it remind people what a physically demanding sport golf is -- watch bands serve as great wrist protectors in case someone hits an errant shot and it strikes you square in the wrist -- but it helps you keep track of time so you can finish your round in time to catch the dinner special back at the clubhouse.
Posted 4:26 PM ET
Sorry, I haven't posted for a little because I'm struggling a bit -- 2-over on the past three holes, and now I'm two strokes behind Geoff Ogilvy. I hit perfect shots, of course -- I always do -- but the wind kicked up and I got some bad bounces and a camera lens clicked in my backswing and I got a flier lie and a squirrel ran into my line of sight, et cetera, et cetera.
Posted 4:47 PM ET
Looks like Colin Montgomerie is making a run and is now tied with me for second. Good for him, but I just can't respect a guy who doesn't keep himself in top shape. I mean, come on, Colin! We're highly paid professional athletes, for crying out loud. Would it be that hard to do a push-up or sit-up once in a while? Have some respect for the sport and your body, pal.
Posted 5:27 PM ET
Good news: I'm back in the lead thanks to a birdie. I have to say, it's amazing what kinds of things go through your head when you're playing golf, even in the fourth round of a major. For instance, I was just thinking if I'm overdue for a mammogram. I think I might be.
Posted 6:03 PM ET
Sweet. Another birdie, and now I'm up two strokes with just four to play. I can taste it. I'm going to win my third major in a row and my fourth overall. I'm in cruise mode. I can't wait until I win on the 18th green and my wife sends my kids to spontaneously run out to greet me. It's so spontaneous, each and every time. Spontaneity makes for great TV, and corporate sponsors just lap it up.
Posted 6:32 PM ET
So I bogeyed my last hole and am now only up by one -- no biggie. Two holes left and I've got my fourth major. I wonder what Tiger Woods is doing right now? Not winning the U.S. Open, I know that.
Posted 6:50 PM ET
Here it is. I'm going to tee off on No. 18 in a minute or two. This is so easy for me, it's not even funny. There's not a single person who is any good on the leaderboard near me who I have to worry about. Colin Montgomerie? That guy is such a choker. Geoff Ogilvy? Same thing -- if he's anything like his countryman Greg Norman, at least.
And I know I'm not going to choke. Those days are long over for me -- I'm about to win my fourth major. That's why I'm going to wale away with my driver here. Sure, I haven't hit it anywhere near the fairway all day, but there's a reason they say: "Drive for show, putt for dough." I'm going to show people how awesome I am when I crush this drive right down the middle. And then I'll leave it to my putting which, like dough, is delicious.
OK, I'm going to hit now.
Posted 6:58 PM ET
Oh, sweet mercy. I hit it off the corporate hospitality tent. No worries. It's good to get close to the sponsors -- I can show them that smile I practice in the mirror all the time. Plus, now they'll see up close how awesome I am when I rip this next shot 200-plus yards out of the trees and onto the green. I'm the only one who could pull this shot off, as I am great, and they'll want to give me big endorsement contracts.
Posted 7:01 PM ET
Frick! Why did that tree branch jump out and hit my ball? OK, OK -- no problem. Breathe, Phil, breathe. Go to a happy place. You are in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. You are swimming naked through a river of chocolate -- milk chocolate, made from fresh, clean milk suckled by the Wonkas from your very own cartons.
OK. I'm back. Now the pressure is really on. I have to hit this shot directly over this enormous tree in front of me and land it on the green and one-putt for the win. No problem. With the Wonkas cheering me on in my head, I can't fail.
Post 7:12 PM ET
Son of a I failed! Stupid Wonkas. They chanted in my backswing. But I can't believe I got a double bogey on 18. Why would I go and do that? That is so stupid. What am I, stupid? I am so stupid. Sometimes I think I'm just a perky set of breasts with no brains to speak of whatsoever. I just want to go home, rest my head on my chest and cry.
DJ Gallo is a regular contributor to ESPN The Magazine as well as the founder and sole writer of the award-winning sports satire site SportsPickle.com. He also contributes headlines to The Onion.