Over the top Meraj Shah: No defense
“What’s at stake?” The response from a new playing partner you have partnered with পারে may be a more metaphorical question: “What are we playing for?” For many golfers, like your columnist, this is a binary question. I don’t like to bet because I want to compete against myself. Or at least that’s what I tell myself. Honestly, I’m very interested in tinkering with my golf swing on the golf course and can’t bother hitting anyone else until I’m hitting the ball well.
Then there is the other – and it must be said, more popular – camp. These are players who can’t play any round without betting on the game. It can be a reasonable amount of money – although it is a subject matter – or a modest one. The idea of these players is to create pressure which will bring the best in their game. If you know you have to lose money there, you can’t be blunt about your game. Although casual betting is ubiquitous, it is ideal for most professional golfers. It makes sense: for those খেল players who rely on games for a living-to restore realistic playing conditions in practice means putting money at risk. Professionals often take this practice (what amateurs like us think) to some ridiculous lengths. The next time you see two professionals practicing together in the range, observe it. Among the world’s top professionals, Phil Mickelson’s penchant for high betting has been well-known for some time now. The six-figure bet with the game’s partners on The Match (which some of us blew up as a promotional stunt) made big news. Sporting men are not limited to their environment, and Mickelson made nearly half a million bets during the 2001 Super Bowl.
All of this came back to me when I read a quote from Alan Shiponk’s upcoming biography of Mickelson. The biography claims that the total loss to the player in the four years from 2010 to 2014 amounted to more than $ 40 million. The author states that Mickelson’s annual income during this period was $ 10 million, which is all the money he made. The quote further claims that Mickelson’s longtime caddy (and now golf television commentator) Jim ‘Bonus’ had a sudden breakup with McKay, among other reasons, as a result of McKay being paid extra.
All of this suggests an unimaginable situation: is it possible that one of the most successful golfers in history, Phil Mickelson, is in financial trouble? This may sound bizarre, but, as a Mickelson fan, this explanation is almost reassuring. It’s comforting to know that in the last few months Mickelson has had a somewhat indescribable, self-destructive, completely rational explanation for the trajectory. The shipwreck has emerged as Phil Mickelson’s Beat Noir detailing the player’s insistence that it was uttered off the record. The slide began earlier this year when a quote from the book revealed Mickelson’s derogatory remarks about the PGA Tour and, somewhat surprisingly, the financier of the new Saudi League – the Saudi Arabian government. At the time it was widely believed that Mickelson would be one of the biggest names leaving the PGA Tour to join the rival league. After the opening, and the massive push that followed, Mickelson went underground – announcing an indefinite break from professional play. Now that the dust has settled somewhat, fans were hoping to see Mickelson back to defend his PGA Championship title this month.
It was the crowning glory of man in 2021. Rolling the rock like a monster, when the rocking shades sit on top of a pop star, Phil Mickelson’s victory at last year’s PGA Championships is a big ‘take it’, close to those who wrote it and with so much attitude – where Mickelson found all that swag, we I thought. And who would have thought that a guy could make a style statement? Or win a PGA Championship at age 50. But he did, and delivered a win for ages.
I was just rooting for her. And even more so when he got the wrong end of the stick in the media and commentators called him ‘old’ or worse, ‘oldest’ for winning the Major. It almost seemed like Mickelson was getting congratulations for the win. Lottery, not Major Golf Championship. What a breeze! You won the Major at the age of 50!
That was last year. Mickelson continued to be there in 2022, ignoring the age-old jokes, gnashing his teeth at young players, fighting the game, but refusing to buy a yacht and travel to the Bahamas. Bravo we all chimed. Now, an alternative image is emerging with this series of unfortunate events. It’s not out of the question that Mickelson just has to play to discipline his finances. If there is a modicum of truth in this, leftist fans will hope that he can get his acting together. In many ways Mickelson has been such a role model. He doesn’t throw clubs, or facial obscenities in the air, and, whenever he comes in brief, he’s mostly quite compassionate in defeats.
Mickelson is the man with the angry smiley face who wanders from the promise of success to the sad assurance of impending failure. All you have to do is look at the disadvantages of the Punters’ website at the time of the majors, the fact that the bookies had an unwavering belief in Phil’s strange ability to win, and how much money they were willing to pay for it. The time has come for man to pick up the pieces himself and make big bets on himself. Phil the Hustler — he must return.
Meraj Shah, a golfer, also wrote about the game
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