Yesterday I wrote that the PGA Tour’s pairings can work for or against a player, a situation that can magnify good or poor play over the first 36 holes.
What I forgot to say is that certain pairings should never be made in the first place. Case in point was the marquee group comprised of Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson, and Bubba Watson. The threesome attracted a massive throng of amateur photographers (otherwise known as fans), a large percentage of which were evidently there to take pictures. Here is Watson’s take on the fiasco:
“It (the photo taking) took Phil out of his game,” Watson said of the continual clicks and snaps of cellphone-camera shutters. “Phil’s a great player and a great champion and it just took him out of his game. It’s sad. It’s sad that cell phones can make or break a championship.”
I have never heard of Mickelson having this problem when playing in a group with two lesser known players. For the record, he closed with a 42 on the back nine to card a 79. Watson shot a 75, and Fowler scrambled hard for his 71. This superstar pairing averaged 75 against the field’s average of 73.28.
If the tour had the sense to spread the wealth and had not packed these stars into one group, Mickelson might still be playing rather than withdrawing due to “exhaustion.”
ADDITION: A whopping 84% of voters said that the PGA Tour should ban cell phones on the course in response to a poll on Morning Drive.