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Rory McIlroy announced this week that he will play the Farmers Insurance Open next week, beginning January 24th at Torrey Pines in San Diego. It’s a big move for Rory as he shifts his focus to a mostly American golfing schedule as he let known during the winter.

It’s a big win for Golf, in general, to get Rory on the national stage early in the calendar year at an American event. The idea is, of course, the always tricky scheduling to get one’s mind and body and game ready for the Majors.

For Rory, it’s about winning the majors.  He’s won four. He’s got 14 total PGA Tour titles.

Not that there’s really any debate, but why is Rory important? Well, he’s arguably the best golfer in the world or at least in the discussion and at 29-years of age, the next five years are really his window.  He won three majors by age 25, only Jack and Tiger have done that. He also joins an elite group of recognizable names and faces who you can just call Rory.

Rory also plans on playing the Genesis Open in Los Angeles beginning February 17th.

 

 

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Golf

So Long, Johnny Miller

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I’m going to miss Johnny Miller for several reasons. Chief among them is this is the era of the robot announcer. Personality is often discouraged, Miller was grandfathered in for the most part but the day and age of honest analysis in sports is only granted to a precious few and those voices are being retired.

NBC’s lead golf analyst Miller will step away mid-tournament this week at the Phoenix Open, a place where he won during his pro career.  Miller has been NBC’s lead golf analyst in 1990 and it’s been a full nearly 29 years. He crossed two generations. One generation who saw him play and those of us who only knew him as the commentator in the pre-Tiger early and full Tiger eras and a little beyond.

Another reason why Miller will be missed is that he’s one of the few golf broadcasters who can actually tell you what it’s like to be headed down the 18th fairway tied or leading a major.   That’s not to say that every person behind the mic at the Golf Channel, CBS, NBC and FOX have no personality, quite the opposite but restraint is built-in.  Nobody wants to be shown the door. No one wants to be called the old curmudgeon and be rendered the get off my lawn guy by social media. That’s career suicide.

Miller will forever be known for his bluntness for as long as he is remembered.  He actually brought a lot of golf knowledge both on the mechanical but the psychological side.

An attribute that may go overlooked is that Miller’s voice is actually pleasant to listen too. He’s got great golf on TV voice, the way Nance has, the way his partner Dan Hicks has.  Yeah, it might have rubbed people the wrong way if he really went after a player but the mundane hole-to-hole commentary Miller was great to listen to. Golf doesn’t need a ton of talking, the views and the action lend to quietness. The sport itself is played in quietness.  Johnny Miller was huge for the game of golf, but even more impactful for bringing the game to millions of viewers in his career.

 

 

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Golf

Doing too much: The legend of Ho-Sung Choi continues

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Rory McIlroy, probably one of the more honest superstars in the world of golf, was asked Wednesday his thoughts in internet sensation Ho-Sung Choi.

Choi has gained some notoriety for his unusual post-swing finish, known as the “Fisherman swing” to the amazement of millions of viewers on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Ho-sung, the South Korean native is 45-years old who turned pro late in life on the Asian tours.

When McIlroy was asked for his reaction Wednesday leading up to this week’s Farmers Insurance Open he smiled and laughed “I’m not sure a golf shot should mean that much to you that you’re doing that after you hit it, like it’s just trying a little too hard.”

“You have to try hard at golf, but that’s taking it to an extreme.”

In fact, overswinging and trying too hard creates the nervous tension that many golfers try to avoid both at the pro and amateur level.

Choi has received a special sponsors exemption invitation to compete at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am next month.

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Golf

Here’s to hoping Phil Mickelson’s run at the Desert Classic is a sign of things to come in 2019

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Congratulations to Adam Long. His birdie Sunday on the eighteenth green at the Desert Classic to win his first PGA Tour event in six starts was nothing short of remarkable. Everything was riding on a birdie putt for the 31-year old, exemptions the biggest payday of his life and more. He nailed it.

Not so for Phil Mickelson who could only stand back and watch on the 18th finishing T2.

If Mickelson had won Sunday at PGA West, it would merely be just another victory, his 47th worldwide. A win at a tournament that is mostly sentimental, not on broadcast TV, a tournament with ties to his old golf coach at ASU.  A nice way to start the year. Phil’s amazing, etc etc etc.

Merely watching Mickelson play good golf and go for the win was good enough for mid-January.

Watching Phil go low 60 12-under out the gate on Thursday got people excited and was the story of the tournament and rightly so. The stars doing what they do almost always gets the story.

As much as everyone feels that Tiger contending again in Majors is important, really a combination of big names playing well at any major is enough to feed the sports and golf viewing public. Phil Mickelson included.

As important as Tiger is to a broader audience, Phil is just as important to the core golf audience. He gets the viewers and the fans alike. He’s a magical shot maker and improviser with real personality on the course and with the fans who attend the Tour events.

It’s unrealistic and not necessary for the big names in golf to play out of their minds at the hardest courses in the world at the biggest stages every time out. The idea that anyone golfer can contend at every single event and every single major just is ignorance to the ways of golf.

For the viewing public, we just want Phil or Tiger to be in the hunt come Sunday afternoon at one of the majors.

The U.S. Open is the only major lefty has yet to win. He’s struggled in the event as of late, outside of the Top 20 in the last five years.  The U.S. Open is at Pebble Beach in June where he has four career wins. Phil will turn 49 the Sunday of the final round. This should be the year Phil Mickelson adds a sixth major championship.

 

 

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