JASON: I gotta tell you, friends, I was watching the PGA yesterday, all four hours, and I thought of Rush, my friend Rush Limbaugh. You know, let me tell you something. There’s something about golf that doesn’t build character. It reveals character. Right? If you have played it, you know exactly what I’m talking about. And I’m watching this momentous, historical performance by Phil the Thrill in the PGA. The oldest man to win a major, and so many records, or I should say set such a historical precedent. And I don’t think Mickelson is done. I really don’t.
He’s transformed himself, and he’s hitting the ball further than he ever had. He had a drive yesterday, 360 yards, longest drive of the week. The guy’s 50 years old. I’m telling you, it’s the coffee. Coffee for Wellness. Woke up this morning, drank 40 cups of that, Phil’s coffee, and then started giving my wife a thumbs-up all day long. Crazy.
But I thought of Rush because I know he would have been talking about this. This was, if you’re a golfer, as I am and he was, this is historic. Oldest player ever to win a major championship. And that sand shot, that bunker shot, it was classic Phil. Here’s one thing you gotta understand about Phil. He’s very much like Arnie. He’s popular with the fans, but well, Palmer was popular with the media. But the media haven’t liked Phil that much, quite frankly, since at the Bob Hope Desert Classic years ago he said, “Look, I’m getting killed in California taxes.” In fact, his quote was, “This ain’t working for me.” He won the British Open, brought the money back, and his California and federal tax rate took 62% of it. And that’s when he first started thinking about moving to Jupiter or wherever he’s going to end up, right? That is, Florida, friends.
And, oh my gosh. He was pilloried, how dare you? Who is the, there was an idiot on MSNBC that would say, “Phil, did you real build this?” No, it’s the man on the Moon. You know, they went after him. So since then they’ve been after this guy. That’s one of the reasons I like him. He’s persevered. Well, there was also this, quote, unquote, brouhaha that they blew out of proportion years ago. I shouldn’t say years ago. It was about three years ago. And Rush actually put it in perspective. And it was about Phil. And here’s what Rush said.
RUSH: Oh, you want me to explain what Phil Mickelson did? The USGA runs the U.S. Open, the United States golf association. And they’re not associated with any particular club. They go in and they rent the club and they take it over for like four years before the Open. They are in charge of setting it up. The pin placements, the length of the grass, how fast the greens are running. And the USGA claims to want to have a tournament, the U.S. Open, that identifies, that’s their word, the absolute best golfer of those four days. With the toughest reasonable test that can be designed.
They say that their objective is for the champion to shoot par but not below it. Most U.S. Open champions maybe win it with two under. Five under is the absolute lowest that they want you to go. Normally the winner is over par. Brooks Koepka was the only player that shot even par. He was the champion. They lost control of some of the greens because of the pin placements, particularly on 13 and 15. It was just, you would hit a great shot into either of those holes, and because the greens were so dry the greens were not holding shots. You end up being penalized. The pin placements were such where the cups were that a putt that barely missed, going by slowly, could roll off the green.
You could be farther away from the hole after hitting a really good putt, just off-line by a couple inches, and that’s what happened to Mickelson. And they admitted at the end of the day on Saturday that they had goofed up, that they had not counted on that much wind. How dare the wind blow as fast as it did? How dare the wind defy the USGA? That was their excuse. They hadn’t factored on that much wind. Well, how can anybody know what the wind’s gonna do?
Anyway, Mickelson was playing not very well at all. He was very frustrated with the setup. He was frustrated with his hole locations. He thought it was unnecessarily punitive. So he hits a putt, uphill putt, the hole is on the top of the little crest on the green. He misses the putt and it starts rolling, and if he’d let it go it would have rolled all the way off the green. 30 feet away, maybe even more and he just was frustrated. He said to hell with it. He was ticked off, he wasn’t playing well. This is the only tournament he hasn’t won, to win the career Grand Slam, winning all the majors. So, he stopped the putt, he tapped it again back toward the hole before it had stopped rolling. This is one of the supreme violations of elite establishment behavior. This is like showing up at an elite wedding in blue jeans.
You just don’t do this. You should have seen the scrum. Mickelson finishes his round, he did an interview with Fox and Curtis Strange. And Curtis… “You feel bad, Phil?” “I mean, really, what you did, I mean…” “Do you realize how you just really embarrassed the game?” “You really assaulted the game, and people feel really offended by that.”
I didn’t mean to offend anybody. I, I… please don’t take it that way. I was just, you know, I know the rule. I know, I just assumed I’d have a better score if I take the two-stroke penalty by tapping the moving ball than letting it roll. I didn’t mean to offend, I didn’t… oh, no, I’m sorry.
Well, when he finished with Strange, there was a media scrum there shouting just like they were shouting at Trump the other day on the White House lawn. You reprobate. What do you think of the game of golf? You think you have lost all respect? Totally people wrapped up about something that was… really people should have been laughing about it. But golf, the people take it so seriously. It is a game of honor, and it is a game of just pure, total decorum. Look, I understand the traditions. I’m not trying to lampoon this. But the reaction to what Mickelson did was about a thousand times more than it needed to be.
And then after his explanation, “I really don’t think Phil was telling the truth.” “I think he studied, I think he figured out his message, he figured out how he wanted to spin this and the best he come up with”. “But I actually think Phil lost his cool, and you’re not supposed to do that on golf course.” “You’re not supposed to throw your club.” “Not supposed to lose your cool, not supposed to violate the rule like that.” “Just embarrassed everybody, he owes the pope an apology, owes the world an apology for what he did.” I’m watching this, I’m just, it was just funny. I mean, we do this practically everything. And you know what? Twitter blew up. Oh, yeah, Twitter blew up because of what Phil Mickelson. Well, when Twitter blows up, for crying out loud, stop everything.
JASON: I do remember this explicitly, and it was an overreaction. Which is sort of a precursor to what we’re going through now, not just in sports, but in life. Somebody on Twitter gets offended and that’s it. This week during Phil’s magnificent performance, he had the audacity to tell the networks, “hey, get that damn drone out of my sight, out of the line of flight of my ball.” Oh, my goodness, the same thing happened. The networks and the Twitter, the trolls were, “he wasn’t gonna hit the drone with what a prima-donna.” No, the drone was behind the green. He was aiming there. It distracted him. And he politely said, can you move the drone? And you would have thought, oh, my goodness.
Mickelson is outside the box. And they don’t like that. They don’t like the fact you can’t control him. And that’s why I like him. And that’s why I was glad to see him win. I mean, this was so good for the game. He’s been the best player for the game since Arnold Palmer. He understands the fans. The press doesn’t like him, which means he’s really good for the game. I’m telling you this was a one for the ages, as Jim Nantz would say. Oh, and, by the way, for you non-golfers out there, listening to the CBS broadcast with Nick Faldo was probably just worth the price of admission. If you want to see a sporting event with the play-by-play guy Jim Nantz and the color guy being Austin Powers, you gotta watch PGA golf with Nantz and Nick Faldo. He’s hilarious. He’s absolutely hilarious.
Anyway, it was a great day, a splendid Sunday, and to top it off, watching all those spectators, and by the way, I played the ocean course years ago when I was a professional broadcaster. I was down there for business and played the ocean course, and I’m telling you, you have no idea how tough that course is. Especially the way the greens are on mounds. So, if you miss a green at your home municipal course, you know, you chip it up, you tap it in, you save your par. You don’t miss these greens by 10 feet they roll off, and you got an impossible shot to come up and save par. But all those spectators without masks made my day.