Monday, August 15, 2005

MH - That's What Friends Are For

My friend Gino called me at work today. It took me a little while to know it was Gino, since he spent the first 20 or so seconds cackling away before he could identify himself.

Of course, as soon as I figured out who it was I knew what was up. The PGA Championship had just ended a few minutes ago, and he was calling to gloat. You see, for the last several years, dating back to a time when we both worked at a company neither of us work for any longer, we had made our predictions for the major golf championships - four per year. And for almost every one of those championships, I had picked Phil Mickelson as one of my choices. There was something about Lefty that made him a good guy to pick (primarly because I could root for him at the same time), and even though he carried the tag of "best golfer to never win a major," I kept sticking with him, only occasionally choosing someone else. Eventually it paid off when he won the Masters last year, and I think I was as satisfied as anyone.

Mickelson hadn't been playing the majors so well this year, however, so for the PGA I went with someone else. Naturally, Gino promptly chose Lefty who, as you probably know by now, made a two-foot putt on the last hole to win. The best part is that I knew I'd never hear the end of this, and I'd been planning to send Gino an email conceding defeat (he and his family now live out in California), but of course he couldn't wait for that, which led to the hysterical chortling on the phone a little after 10:00 this morning.

"I'm so glad I could provide you with some entertainment," I told him after we'd finally managed to control ourselves. "What are friends for, if not to give you the chance to laugh at my expense?"

Ah, well. It wasn't such a big deal. I'm glad Lefty won. And I won't make the mistake of not picking him next year.

Do you hear that, Gino?

*****

Now, it would have been nice to actually see the end of the tournament, and if the PGA officials had done the right thing, we might all have been able to enjoy the conclusion yesterday, instead of having a handful of players and a few thousand people return to Baltusrol this morning before a meager TV audience. The forecast for yesterday called for the possibility of storms, and with the weather having been hot and humid on Saturday, nobody but nobody could have been surprised that play was held up twice on Sunday before being postponed until today.

It would have been an easy thing for the PGA to have moved the tee times up an hour or so to make sure there was ample daylight to finish the round. Why didn't they? In a word, TV. And Gary Van Sickle has a terrific column at SI.com today taking everyone to task for allowing this anticlimatic situation to occur.

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