Dave Pelz, the well-known short-game authority and mad scientist of golf, is one golf instructor that I respect tremendously. As a former NASA engineer, Pelz supports his teachings with solid scientific research. It's not uncommon for him to have reams of data to back up his findings. For example, Pelz provided the statistical data that proves that putts rolled at a speed to exactly 17 inches beyond the hole have a higher probability rate of going in than putts hit at any other speed. He also conducted experiments that answered the age-old question, "Should you leave the flagstick in the hole or pull it out?" When Pelz says something about golf, you might as well just accept it as fact.
That is, until last week. Uncharacteristicly, Pelz went on the record to make several totally unscientific claims:
"When Phil's at his best, I'm thinking nobody can beat him."What you talkin' about Willis?
[And that includes Tiger Woods?]
"You bet it does," Pelz said. "If Phil's long swing is good, his short game, I believe, is the best in the world. He doesn't have a serious weakness inside 150 yards.
"I'm not saying Tiger's short game is bad. He has a great short game. But I think Phil putts more consistently than Tiger does. He has more imagination and a few more shots around the green."
There's no doubt that Phil Mickelson is one of the best golfers of his generation. But he happens to be in the same generation as the best golfer ever. To make such obviously biased and subjective statements is quite surprising for Pelz, especially his assertion that "Phil putts more consistently than Tiger does." Ever since Phil turned pro in 1992 he's been touted as a "great putter". But I've always thought that he was overrated in this area. Over the years, I don't think that I've seen a "great putter" miss as many 3-footers as Phil. I've even seen Phil 3-putt from about 10 feet. Tiger, on the other hand, just doesn't seem to miss a putt when it really matters. In fact, according to Shotlink, Tiger hasn't missed a putt inside 4 feet this season! If I needed someone to make a putt to save my life, there's no question that I would choose Tiger over Phil.
Regardless, why the heck would Pelz make such ludicrous comments? Did he put an ounce of thought into it? Was it an over-exposure to the noxious fumes emanating from his golf laboratory? Whatever the reason, all it did was to agitate an already fired up Tiger Woods to crush Pelz's chubby student with the phony grin. Like Michael Jordan, Tiger makes it a point to ruthlessly annihilate those who "diss" him.
Mr. Pelz, for your well-established reputation's sake, retreat back to your lab and stick to your test tubes and bunsen burners. And if there's room, take Stephen Ames with you.