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Golf Australia Express : Issue 39
PULLING THE PIN, throwing in the towel, pulling the plug, walking away, quitting. Whatever you call it, players packing it in and withdrawing from tournaments is becoming an increasing problem on Tour. Aside from the obvious negative message it sends to younger golfers, fans in general, and punters who’ve thrown down their hard-earned in the hope of a wee financial fillip, these ‘professional cuts’ cast golf in an incredibly poor light. Yet despite its potential to damage golf’s brand, it seems there’s little the PGA Tour can do about this growing trend. The issue has been thrust front-and-centre—somewhat ironically—by hall-of-famer Phil Mickelson’s honesty after he withdrew from the Memorial Tournament following a Thursday round of 79. He cited “mental fatigue” for his withdrawal from the Jack Nicklaus hosted event. While Mickelson chose to face the music—albeit to a band of fawning golf media types— rather than fake an injury as many others would have, his honesty in choosing to quit set a concerning precedent. “After I played three weeks in a row, I went straight to Europe to celebrate Amy's 40th birthday,” Mickelson said. “I came back and had a Tuesday morning outing in Long Island, the [Memorial] pro-am, and I think, mentally, I'm a little bit fatigued.” IT’S NOT LIKELY many fans or players will have any sympathy for Lefty after admitting his tiredness was the result of holiday travel. But it’s also important to note that Mickelson is not a big offender. The latest was just his third withdrawal from an event in 456 starts, and just one of 65 withdrawals (or WDs as their known) on the PGA Tour this season alone. At nearly three pullouts an event, the Tour is starting to look like a Kevin Na pre-shot routine. PIN-PULLERS TO QUIT OR NOT TO QUIT?
Issue 40—The US Open