Grouchy Golf Blog

Thursday, March 10, 2005 at 12:05 AM

Wipe That Stupid Grin Off Your Face!

A clash of opposites concluded the Ford Championship at Doral last weekend. Many saw it simply as Tiger vs. Phil. But it was also vs. White, Buick vs. Ford, Nike vs. Callaway, and Batman vs. the Joker.

Batman vs. the Joker? Let me explain. I happened to watch the Batman DVD over the weekend and noticed some striking parallels to Phil and Tiger. In the movie, the Joker's face becomes disfigured in an accident. A plastic surgeon tries to reconstruct the Joker's face, but his hack job leaves the Joker with a permanent smile. No matter what the circumstance, the Joker is always beaming a disturbingly wide grin, 24/7. In this way, Phil is just like the Joker. When Phil hits a great shot, he smiles. When Phil hits a bad shot, he smiles. When Phil lost his lead to Tiger on the 17th hole, guess what? He smiled.

I tried to like Phil, I really did. But it's just not natural to smile that much, especially when something bad happens to you. Can you imagine if someone on your soccer team smiled every time your opponent scored a goal? You'd be infuriated. That's how I felt the few times that I tried to root for Phil. I wanted to shake him and say, "you're losing the golf tournament and all you can do is stand there and smile like an idiot?! Don't you care?"

I suspect that Phil's smiling problem is his attempt to mask his true feelings and personality rather than a Joan River's procedure gone awry. While I don't think much of Vijay Singh, I do agree with him regarding Phil. "Is that the true Phil?" Singh said when he was asked to compare his image to Mickelson's by Bryant Gumbel on HBO's Real Sports. "Is that the true person? Do you see the true side of Phil? I don't know. I cannot speak for Phil. But you see the true me. I don't hide things." I prefer to root for someone who wears his emotion on his sleeve. Someone who gets angry or at least more determined when losing. Call me crazy, but I just want to cheer for the person that appears to have the same desire to win that I would.

When I read about Mickelson's lack of motivation at last year's Ryder Cup, he lost me completely. "I attribute my performance (in the Ryder Cup) to motivation," he said. "I wasn't willing to put in enough work to play good golf." Representing your country alone should provide ample motivation in my book. I wonder how the countless number of troops deployed around the world that are risking their lives so that individuals such as Mr. Mickelson could be free to make a grandiose living playing golf would feel about his sentiments. It will always be a mystery to me why so many people love Phil. At least Skip Bayless of ESPN doesn't.

Oh, and how is Tiger like Batman? Like Batman, Tiger usually wins.

P.S. It turns out that Phil's peers on the PGA Tour have nicknamed him "". How appropriate!


Blogger Erik @ The Sand Trap said...

I too dislike Phil. He's smug, he's an idiot, and he gambles, on and off. TIger is none of those things.  


Blogger A WALK IN THE PARK said...

Very interesting article, Mav. I was disagreeing with you until I read your soccer analysis...then you came damn near to swaying me. I was a semi-pro soccer play on a national team and you are right. Under most circumstances, I'd be dismayed if a player smiled at a moment where we fell behind. My only thought is golf is different from every other sport...we are expected to act in a dignified, professional and noble manner at all times...graceful in victory and defeat. That classy aura is what sets golf apart. For my part, I try to "smile through my golf pain" and sometimes I succeed and sometimes not, but to try is the thing.

One other thing...it is well documented that Tiger has occasionally been seen in casinos with barkley and Jordan and that he is known (quietly) to engage in high stakes wagers here and there, although the cloistered atmosphere of team Tiger maintains first and foremost a shroud of absolute secrecy...just ask tiger's last girlfriend about that.

Erik, please educate the rest of us...why do you think Phil is an "idiot" as you put it?

Nevertheless, I thought that was well written and entertaining. Nice job, Mav!  


Blogger Golf Grouch said...

Thanks for the comments fellas.

Unfortunately, I'm on a business trip this week so I didn't have much time or resources to write.

I may add to this article if I can find some time. I recall reading a recent quote by Vijay hinting that Phil is actually much different than he is perceived by the public. I wish I could find it to include in this article.

I'd appreciate any help finding it...hit 'em straight!  


Anonymous Anonymous said...

good stuff about phil!

i'll definitely be back  


Blogger Doc B said...

Phil isn't supporting the troops because he wasn't motivated in the Ryder Cup? That's quite a tortured reach. Great blog, though.  


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