By Robert Bicknell

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July 9, 2006

Mickelson choked...pure and simple.

Ok, Iím a bonehead...

After all the talking, writing about it and anticipating it...I missed my own birthday.

My depth of stupidity continues to amaze me and all those around me. My wife, of course, claims this is nothing new to her.

In a nutshell, I forgot that the 4th of July party would be held on Sunday, which was 2nd of July, instead on the actual date. You would think that Iíd be smart enough to remember simple things like this, but obviously this is not the case. Ok, I could possibly claim that I was preoccupied by with changing jobs and apartments during that time, but ya gotta admit it takes a complete imbecile to forget his own birthday.

Funny enough, many people seem to forget simple things all the time...such as remembering the actual amount of strokes they took on a hole. Many comedians have remarked that golfers frequently "shoot six, yell fore and mark five" and if you had the opportunity to see some of the scorecards handed in by the players for handicapping purposes, youíd see it is true.

Ok, last week an item in Vietnam News questioned if Mickelson "choked." According to his swing coach Rick Smith, Mickelson suffered a "technical error" and not a mental one. To me this is a definitive illustration of the mindset pervading society. Blaming others, rationalizing away mistakes in such a way to avoid the truth and just all out lying seems to be "the way" nowadays and this irritates me.

Lets look at this situation simply...according to the Miriam Webster On-line dictionary:

1choke : to lose one's composure and fail to perform effectively in a critical situation, i.e., "had a chance to win the game but he choked."

Smith claims that Mickelson reverted back to the swing he had before he won the Masters, but then goes on to imply that this is "normal" for professionals from time to time when under pressure. He rationalized it by saying that if it was a one-shot snap hook on the 18th tee, it would be a choke, but Phil had driving problems all round long, so it was a swing error...

Ok, let me un-spin what Smith said, "Mickelson lost his composure from the first shot of the day and subconsciously reverted back to his original swing style." In a nutshell, he choked for an entire round.

Golf is a game which is vastly different from all others because the players are actually expected to call penalties on themselves. Honesty is an integral part of the game and without it, you might be physically "playing golf", but youíre not a true "golfer".

Compare that with the antics in the World Cup.

They really should include another category in the Oscars : "Most convincing performance by a football player in a World Cup" and include extra points for creative swan dives.

Colin Montgomery gets razzed unmercifully for having rabbit ears and can be put off his putting by the uproar of butterflies in an adjacent field, but thatís nothing compared to what the players were doing in the World Cup so far.

A player breathes on his opponent and said opponent drops to the ground screaming as if his leg was amputated with a chainsaw until the referee produces a yellow card. Then, amazingly enough, the "injured" player suffers a miraculous recovery, bounds to his feet and plays another 60 minutes...unless, of course, another player sneezes in his direction.  

Other times, a player trips over someoneís shadow, falls to the ground screaming in agony until the trainer comes out with the "miracle spray" (which, by the way is usually nothing more than either "freeze spray" or tap water). A yellow card to the player with the offending shadow works even faster than the miracle spray.

Of course, there are times when a player really gets clobbered hard enough to ring his bell for a few hours and the perpetrator turns to the referee with a choirboy expression and claims "who me?"

Itís shameless.

As itís obvious that footballers would NEVER call penalties on themselves as golfers do, perhaps FIFA will allow referees to use slow-motion instant replay in the next World Cup.

That way, even if the refs blow the call, at least people at home can be entertained by playerís version of dying swans...

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