- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
- TAMPA BAY buccaneersENEMY lines WHAT A RIVAL COACH SAYSJune 28, 2012
- Faces in the CrowdJune 11, 2001
So far, the fall has been a classic
IF an intrepid magazine writer journeys to Scottsdale, Ariz., searching for a deeper understanding of the Fall Series, the least likely place he expects to have a moment of clarity is in a men's room at Grayhawk Golf Club, the site of last week's Fry's electronics open. But last thursday your correspondent visited a water closet only to find himself at a sink next to phil Mickelson, who was trying to scrub away the stench of an opening-round 71 that included numerous misadventures in the desert shrubbery.
"You must have pissed off somebody to get assigned to this," Mickelson said with a wicked grin. "Did you get caught [sleeping with] your editor's wife?"
Uh, no, but point taken.
To certain segments of the golf establishment—say, superstar players and self-important scribes—this inaugural Fall Series has long been considered akin to a seven-week staph infection, to be avoided at all costs. Mickelson made a cameo at the Fry's only because of his intense loyalties to the Scottsdale golf community. He went to arizona State and lived in the area for the first half of his pro career, and he has been a paid endorser of Grayhawk. In fact, over the years Mickelson has chewed so much scenery there that the clubhouse eatery is called phil's Grill, which also describes his performance at the Fry's: phil got grilled, missing the cut by a shot after two rounds (including a Friday 70) of giggle golf.
Mickelson's brief, heavily hyped visit threw into sharp relief the general scarcity of star power that has been one prominent feature of the Fall Series. (His bathroom dig was also a not-so-subtle nod to the minimal media coverage.) With five tournaments now in the books, Mickelson is the only player in the top 10 of the World Ranking to have teed up during the Fall Series, and none were on hand at this week's Ginn sur Mer Classic, in Port St. Lucie, Fla. (Tournament officials at the season-ending Children's Miracle Network Classic, in Orlando on Nov. 1--4, are hoping a few big name locals will feel compelled to get off their couches.)
"I think the Fall Series has been a success in a lot of ways," says Joe Ogilvie, a member of the Tour's policy board, "but it's disappointing that the top guys haven't played."
Really, Joe? did you honestly expect any of them to show up?
"Well, O.K., I thought Vijay [Singh] might play a few."
If the FedEx Cup was conceived as a way to bring together golf's best and brightest, then the Fall Series was for everybody else, a sort of fifth quarter designed for the Tour's scrubs to fight for their playing privileges. (the post--Fedex Cup schedule was originally touted as the Chase for the Card before a calculated rebranding.)