Cut Line: Phil Mickelson’s seclusion has already taken toll on his future in game
In this week’s post-Masters edition we celebrate Scottie Scheffler’s past and contemplate Phil Mickelson’s future.
Appreciate the climb. Sports writers have a natural tendency to become prisoners of the moment with little interest in savoring the accomplishment. That notion had never felt more true than on Sunday as Scottie Scheffler slipped the coveted green jacket over his shoulders.
After a quick blitz through Scheffler’s performance at Augusta National, which was unquestionably dominant, the conversation predictably turned to what’s next for the world No. 1 and how he might fare at this year’s three remaining major championships.
Lost in that urgency to look ahead is how far the 25-year-old has come in the last 12 months. At this moment last year, Scheffler was ranked 21st in the world, 28th in FedExCup points and was still searching for his first Tour victory. In the year since, he’s won four times, earned $12.9 million in prize and bonuses in 26 starts and established himself as the most statistically dominant player since Tiger Woods.
Scheffler’s future is compelling but it’s his past 12 months that’s been inspiring.
Hoffmann’s homecoming. There are 10 players on this year’s major medical exemption list on the PGA Tour and all of them have a story about overcoming injury and chasing a dream. Morgan Hoffmann, however, is truly unique.
Hoffmann hasn’t played a Tour event since the fall of 2019 after being diagnosed with a rare form of muscular dystrophy. The 32-year-old turned to alternative medicines for treatment and moved to Costa Rica in search of a spiritual experience. But the Tour continued to call him.
“I still had some dreams that I wanted to accomplish out here,” he said this week at the RBC Heritage.
Hoffmann has three starts on his major medical exemption to earn 238 points (a top-2 finish) and he was predictably rusty at Harbour Town with an opening round of 71. But considering how far he searched for answers, it’s unlikely he’ll give up on his Tour dream anytime soon.
Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)
Being Bryson. Bryson DeChambeau explained at last month’s WGC-Match Play that surgery was always an option to repair the fractured hamate bone in his left wrist. And on Thursday that option became reality.
DeChambeau announced on social media that he’d had surgery on his wrist at the Kettering Medical Center in Ohio and was recovering.
“I made attempts to play through this injury at three recent events, including the Masters, but this is typically an injury that requires surgical treatment,” he said in a statement. “I will be taking the appropriate time needed to rest and recover from this procedure and look forward to competing at the highest level within the next two months.”
Injuries are a part of life for professional athletes but this is where DeChambeau needs to be more aware of what his brand of explosive golf does to his body. According to multiple Tour trainers, the recovery period for a hamate bone is 10-12 weeks, not two months.
Only DeChambeau knows how his wrist will respond to surgery. But considering that after Tiger Woods he’s the game’s biggest draw, let’s hope he mixes some sound medical advice into his decision-making when it’s time to return.
Lefty Out. While Phil Mickelson remains in a seclusion of his own making – with both the Tour and Augusta National claiming he has not been suspended – his absence has already taken a toll on his future in the game.
U.S. Presidents Cup captain Davis Love III seemed to allude to the issues Mickelson’s comments about the Tour and the Saudi-backed super league have caused when he was asked about Fred Couples as a potential U.S. Ryder Cup captain.
“Fred’s good in the locker room, in a practice round, as a captain – I thought he would have been a great Ryder Cup captain. He could still be Ryder Cup captain,” said Love, who named Couples one of his assistant captains for this year’s Presidents Cup this week. “We may have to fill a gap somewhere now. Our order is kind of messed up right now. So maybe Fred would be a great home game [captain] in New York.”
Mickelson appeared to be a lock to captain the 2025 U.S. Ryder Cup team when the matches are played at Bethpage in New York but that plan, as well as Mickelson’s future in the game, is now unclear.
Words without actions. There were more rumors last week at Augusta National that LIV Golf, the organization behind the proposed super golf league, was poised to name names.
Multiple “veteran” players were set to announce they plan to play one or more of LIV Golf’s invitational series events which begin in June with a tournament in London. This was going to be a scaled-down version of what had originally been purposed by LIV Golf and like the other rumors and would-be announcements there remains nothing to report.
LIV Golf frontman Greg Norman did offer a series of interviews this week but none came with any real details. The line used by some players earlier this year was “super league fatigue” and there certainly seems to be plenty of that along with precious few details.
Tweet of the week: Max Homa