News & ToursJuly 5, 2007

Tiger and Lefty II

"You listen to all my jokes, and then you go and follow Arnie." Chi Chi Rodriguez [#image: /photos/55ad7081add713143b421bd1]|||Tigerphil|||

Besides nearly tripling the press population at the ATT National this week, the presence of both Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson generated this amusing piece by Eli Saslow in the Times on his preference in that rivalry. Saslow, not a regular golf writer, heads into territory that the tournament press corps usually does not:

LIKE ANY MICKELSON DIEHARD, I INHERENTLY DESPISE TIGER WOODS. Those who follow golf root for either Woods or Mickelson; nobody roots for both. The two fan bases are as diametrically opposed as those for the Yankees and the Red Sox. By choosing between Tiger and Phil, one aligns with more than a golfer. He picks a philosophy and a worldview. When Woods walks the fairways, he glares straight ahead. His posture is pristine, his outfits professionally coordinated. Only brilliant shots satisfy his standards, so he remains unflinchingly stoic. On the rare occasion Woods displays emotion, it almost always manifests as irritation. He bangs his clubs against the ground and curses. Even his rare celebrations are stamped with the anger of an aggressive alpha male: Woods pumps his fist fiercely, and his eyes lock in a distant, defiant stare..... When Mickelson, 37, walks the fairways, he looks directly at fans in the gallery. He nods his head, smiles bashfully and waves with his right hand. Give Mickelson a Budweiser and a lawn chair, and he'd look like any regular old schlub in the gallery. He sweats so much that he sometimes changes shirts twice during a five-hour round. Blubber jiggles around Mickelson's chest when he walks. After even his most incomprehensible shots -- and, yes, with Mickelson there are many -- he leaves the tee box with his hand stretched into the crowd. Mickelson might give 1,000 high-fives in a round because, he once wrote on his Web site, "fans pay a lot of money to be here, and I'm not just going to ignore them."

Not sure I buy all of that, and since both Tiger and Lefty are Golf Digest Playing Editors, I'll remain neutral here. But Saslow's piece is worth a read. ...

-- Bob Carney

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