Stories of interest you might have missed…
Rory McIlroy, the host of the Irish Open, is looking to the Waste Management Phoenix Open for guidance on how to grow the tournament and increase charitable donations to his foundation, Ewan Murray of the Guardian writes. “Barry Funston, the chief executive of Rory McIlroy’s charity foundation, attended the Phoenix Open at the weekend with the specific intention of meeting with Thunderbirds and learning what has made the tournament such a success on all levels,” Murray writes.
“[Phil] Mickelson has basically carried on a 20-year romance with every inch of Pebble real estate on the three courses used for the Pro-Am. He also enjoys the format, loves the interaction with the celebrities and CEOs in the amateur field,” columnist Mark Purdy of the San Jose Mercury News writes in this look at the love affair Mickelson has with Pebble Beach, where he has won four times.
Bubba Watson was widely criticized last week for providing an honest appraisal of the TPC Scottsdale. Dan O’Neill of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch does not join the chorus, instead defending Watson. “[D]on’t dare be honest, forthcoming or opinionated unless it’s complimentary…For his comments, Watson became Snidely Whiplash in Phoenix, roundly booed and heckled. He attempted to call off the dogs, issued an apology and suggested his words were misrepresented by the headline…In short, this is why more and more highly-paid athletes say nothing, if they say anything at all. This is why, in a ready-jump-set world of media first responders and page-view counters, sports figures are reluctant to be themselves or show a personality.”