Truth and Rumors: Watson understands Tiger's struggles, Phil is/isn't eyeing #1 and Michelle Wie brushes up on her Greek

Wednesday July 7th, 2010

Watson gets in Tiger's head...againAs well as Tom Watson has played in the past year, it's not surprising that his name is mentioned so often with Tiger Woods'. What is surprising is why. Watson has not been shy about criticizing Tiger since news of his various affairs leaked out, and if some people (read: every person who's been anywhere near the two of them) can be believed, Woods' feelings towards Watson range somewhere between icy and homicidal. So it's no shock that Reuters reporter Tom Pilcher would ask Watson about Tiger's recent struggles, and it's even less shocking that Watson would say exactly what he thinks:

Tom Watson says it is only natural that Tiger Woods's fall from grace is so visibly affecting his game. "His life is a lot more complicated now. He doesn't hear that absolute silence when he's playing, and he mentioned when he's playing his best he hears nothing," the American eight-times major winner told a news conference on Wednesday.
"I'm sure there are things going on in his mind that make it very difficult for him." World number one Woods confessed to a string of extra-marital affairs earlier this year. His preparations for the British Open next week at St. Andrews, where he won the Claret Jug in 2000 and 2005, have come under scrutiny, with the American flying home to be with his children instead of having his usual prolonged stay in Europe. Watson said Woods's busy flying schedule was not a problem ahead of the year's third major. "I used to come over five or six days early, simply because I wanted to get the time change. That was the first thing. I don't think what he is doing is risky," Watson said at Sunningdale Golf Club where he was launching his instructional DVD on golf. "That kid was so much better than the rest when he came out and he evolved into a golf swing that really worked for him. He has some difficulties with the golf swing now,"
In all fairness, these comments are pretty tame and don't really claim to give too much insight into Tiger's mindset, but I'm just surprised that, after all the headlines he's caused, Watson is still willing to guess what's going on in Woods' head. As an elder statesman, Old Tom clearly has more leeway with both the media and other Tour players in terms of speaking out of turn, but there's got to be a breaking point for Tiger, and a couple of jabs from Woods might be all it takes for people to remember the odd circumstances around Watson's own marital disharmony. Phil Mickelson doesn't care about being #1, is a bad liarLefty has had several opportunities this season to wrest control of the top spot in golf away from Tiger Woods, but so far he hasn't been able to take advantage. With Tiger spending time with his kids in Florida, Phil's got another chance this week at the Scottish Open, but he tells the BBC's Clive Lindsay that being #1 is not really on his mind.
Phil Mickelson is concentrating on winning the Scottish Open rather than the prospect of taking over from Tiger Woods as world number one.
"It would be cool, but it's not something I'm thinking about," said the American, who can leapfrog Woods with a second place finish at Loch Lomond.
"I'm just trying to get my game sharp. It would be cool more because I've come so close to winning this tournament and it would mean a lot to me to break through and finally win."
Asked what his thoughts would be if he did become number one to end 250 weeks in second spot, Mickelson said: "I have a good answer for that, but let's not talk hypotheticals and I will tell you on Sunday if it happens."

Mickelson goes on to talk about links golf and how much he'd like to win at St. Andrews, but Phil's shot at the top of the rankings takes top billing for me.
There's plenty of reason to believe that this is as bad as Tiger will
ever struggle with his game, so it stands to reason that this is the
best chance the southpaw is ever going to have to be the number one player
in the world. Phil can hem and haw about not caring, but, while he has many great qualities, modesty is not one of them (as his nickname might suggest). Mickelson even admits he already has "a good answer" for how he'll feel if he earns the top spot, so clearly it's on his mind no matter how much he insists otherwise. Unfortunately for Phil, we're already past the midpoint of the PGA season, so even if he goes the rest of the year as the No. 1 player, Tiger's already locked up his 13th straight Mark H. McCormack Award. At least we know she's not pledging "Eye Phelta Thi"A funny moment out at the U.S. Women's Open yesterday, when Michelle Wie was asked (by what has to be the most smarmy moderator in history) whether or not she was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society at Stanford. Wie's reply suggests that she is not a member, and likely never will be:

MODERATOR: Welcome to the 2010 US Open Women's Open Championship, by the way. Our first guess this morning is Michelle Wie. I was thinking about it, and when Michelle won the LPGA tournament that she won earlier in the year, I was thinking I believe you were the only college student to ever win a tournament in the LPGA Tour.
That's another little feather in your cap. Just tell us a little bit. You won a tournament now. You're still in college. Are you a Phi Beta Kappa yet?

MICHELLE WIE: No sorority for me yet, but it's been fun. It's been a lot of fun. You know, it's great, but I want to do better this year, and I just want to keep doing better and better. College is fun; it's a lot of hard work. It all pays off in the end.

I wish this transcript came with video, because there's nothing a room full of reporters enjoys more than an international star looking foolish (or, in this case, just a little ditsy). In Wie's defense, she's got plenty of other stuff to worry about and isn't necessarily plugged into the most academic cliques on campus (although I hear Brook Lopez's hairstyle was inspired by Albert Einstein), and it's not like PBK is the most visible group on campus. I'll admit that I didn't know what Phi Beta Kappa was until my senior year of college, when my girlfriend was suddenly invited to join. What I could never figure out is why they always met at 11 PM on Saturday night.

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