As someone with moderate interest in golf as a sport and less interest in those who play it, it seems to me Phil Mickelson is a guy who is destined to be shorted. No matter what he does, he can't catch a break.
There have been athletes throughout history whose achievements have been diminished because of the outsized performance of a competitor; that's nothing new. But Mickelson seems to have entered another realm.
Mickelson can't win, especially among the hard-core golf crowd. He literally can't win with these people. Even when he wins, he can't win.
When he wins, as he has been doing with great frequency, Tiger lost it. When he loses, Tiger intimidated him and he choked.
Mickelson isn't particularly well liked on the PGA Tour, and from a personal standpoint his staged hug-in with his kids after every win is wearing a bit thin. His 12-year status as a "lovable loser" was a little overstated, it seems.
(By the way, it would be interesting to go back and trace the exact moment when the children of athletes became props. Who was Athlete Zero, and which one of his kids was Kid Zero? I don't think there's a book in it, but it sounds like something "Outside the Lines" could do on a lighter night.)
But not many golfers have done what Mickelson has done, especially in the past three years. Dating back to 1934, only five guys have won majors in at least three straight years. He's one of them, and Tiger is the only other one to have done it in the past 20 years.
Standing atop his own accomplishments, he casts a pretty large shadow himself.
This Week's List
• The real question is, what does Barry think about the possibility of Bush's using tactical nukes against Iran? On Monday night, Bill O'Reilly ventured into sports, saying the press has been too hard on Barry Bonds, and it needs to stop.
• Oh, lord, someone get the smelling salts: In the course of excoriating the press for its alleged savagery of Bonds, O'Reilly said, "This guy's got kids. He's got a wife. They can't go out of the house. They're hounded."
• Until now, I hadn't considered the possibility of body doubles: Just the other night, during the telecast of a Giants game, the camera focused on Barry's wife and daughter in the stands.
• Here's what we need: A joint press conference, with Roger Clemens and Brett Favre both saying nothing.
• It's getting to the point where there's only one solution to the Favre saga: Send him to another team (I know, gasp go the Packer fans) and see whether the problem is Favre or all those apparently unworthy teammates of his in Green Bay.
• The only surprise is why they didn't give Pujols a nice 298 shot down the left field line: After years of having the best of the bad ballparks, St. Louis looks like it has one of the best of the best.
• Here's a case where baseball did something very, very right: The ability to sit around and watch every single ball game on a computer is just insanely great.
• One downside: My first extended exposure to Ken Harrelson.