Monday, June 19, 2006

Lyrical Wire Prose for Phil Mickelson's Epic Collapse

AP Copy Doesn't Have to Be Boring. Honest.
When Phil Mickelson bungled his way to a second-place finish yesterday in the U.S. Open, it was a stunning story. No doubt, more than a few laptops were whirring in the press tent about Lefty winning his third-straight major, tying Tiger Woods
The gallery loves the doughy Lefty, he of the warm smile, telegenic wife and cute daughters. It was the story of the day, except a double-bogey on 18 got in the way. Which, of course, turned into a better story that the AP's Doug Ferguson turned into a compelling narrative remarkable not just for its lyrical grace but because it ran on the AP, whose sports report usually errs on the side of staid, even by wire-service standards.

Instead of being linked with Woods in the majors, the comparisons turned to Jean Van de Velde at Carnoustie in 1999, when the Frenchman took triple bogey on the last hole of the British Open. But at least Van de Velde got a chance in a playoff.

Mickelson could only cup his hands over his cap and acknowledge a New York crowd that he disappointed again.And he had only himself to blame.

He had a two-shot lead with four holes to play, but his stubborn side continued to hit driver, and his miscues finally caught up with him ... And while he found a way to escape most times, Winged Foot got its vengeance at the end.

Good stuff, especially in the unforgiving world of get-it-to-me-five-minutes-ago deadlines in the wire-service world.

Other nice leads riffing on The Double Bogey, included Hank Gola in the New York Daily News:

A four to win, a five to tie. Phil Mickelson made a six, and not since the Red Sox beat the Yankees in seven in 2004 has New York felt such a sickening punch to the solar plexis.

Sam Weinman of The Journal News, the tournament's hometown paper, led off with this nice detail:

When it was over, after the men in blazers lined up, and the speeches had already begun, and the trophy was improbably handed to someone else, there was Phil Mickelson left in the corner of the pro shop.
He was seated in the back, with his wife, Amy, at his side. The golfer ran one hand through his hair. He held Amy's hand in another. At one point, he dropped his head down flat on the table as if he wanted to crawl underneath it.

Oh, and there's that unsung hero of the day, you know, the guy who won the whole thing, Aussie Geoff Ogilvy. Still, even though he came out on top of the leader board, Ogilvy sounded a bit surprised that it was he, not Mickelson or Colin Montgomerie, as Ed Sherman reminds us in the Chicago Tribune:

Ogilvy, though, knew he was lucky to be holding the trophy.

"I think I was the beneficiary of a little bit of charity," Ogilvy said.

Mickelson and Montgomerie should check if their donations are tax deductible.,1,7818128.story?coll=chi-sportsnew-hed

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