Although he will always be the fan favorite, Mickelson’s season-opener at the Humana is a challenge for Phil and for the event. Both had glory and are now trying to reclaim it.
Humana is using charming ex-President Bill Clinton as its new host replacing the incomparable Bob Hope. Once a five-day star-studded event, the Humana has scaled back in size and scope hoping to regain its popularity; the two biggest names in the field this week are Mickelson and Greg Norman, another "sentimental favorite".
Mickelson will be attempting to get 2012 off to a strong start in a comfortable setting where he is the leading money winner in order to help reclaim his top-ten spot in the OWGR. Lefty currrently resides in the 14th position in the world rankings.
Humana Tournament Chairman Larry Thiel, while welcoming Mickelson to the event, mentioned that Phil chose a comfortable start over a more intense one.
“Everyone who has the privilege of watching Phil play sees a true master at his craft and we are thrilled our fans will have that opportunity in a venue that Phil is comfortable playing in.”
The Humana Challenge has a better chance of enjoying a resurgence than Phil.
1. Rory McIlroy joined the PGA Tour this year with the sole purpose of dethroning Luke Donald from the top spot in the rankings. Lee Westwood has also joined the battle. With only ten spots available, Phil is going to have a tough time doing battle with these young guns and will have to revert to using his famous “phony smile”...a lot.
2. Over-forty Phil struggles with a debilitating illness, Psoriatic arthritis, a pain, stiffness and swelling of the joints. At twenty-two, a sore back and a few aches and pains are easily removed with an Advil.
3. The “unspoken law” of the over-forty crowd. When you finally make it to forty, the body doesn’t recuperate as easily or quickly as it once did…ask Phil.
4, When a committee votes you into the World Golf Hall of Fame, you have to be over-forty years old, a PGA Tour player (on the PGA Tour ballot) for ten years and have either ten Tour wins, two majors or two Players Championships to be considered. Ask Ernie Els how well he's fared since his entrance into the HOF.
5. The probability of winning a U.S. Open lessens with age. In the 110-year history of the U.S. Open, only three golfers have won after the age of 40. Mickelson has a 0 for 20 record at the Open.I hope that Phil Mickelson has a great 2012 golf season starting with the Humana Challenge.
Although he is my favorite golfer and I will be cheering for him, his time for greatness on the PGA Tour is running out and players who might have once feared his footsteps are now dogging them.
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