Burning Questions: Phil Mickelson, equipment endorsement deals, and more

Wednesday January 18th, 2012
Phil Mickelson
Al Tielemans/SI
Is Phil Mickelson still the King of the West Coast Swing?
Phil Mickelson turned pro in 1992, but even before he was paid to play, the PGA Tour's West Coast Swing seemed to suit him. You might remember that in 1991, as a 20-year-old junior at Arizona State, Mickelson won the Northern Telecom Open to become the first amateur to win a PGA Tour event since Scott Verplank at the 1985 Western Open.

Since then, Mickelson has tallied 38 more Tour wins (including four majors), won more than $63 million in prize money and been selected for induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in May.

A San Diego native, Mickelson has earned several of those wins on the West Coast Swing, but as the chart below shows, he's become very inconsistent in recent years.

  2011 2010 2009 2008 2007 2006 2005 2004 2003
Kapalua - - - - - - - - -
Sony - - - - - -- - - -
Humana - - - - T45 T5 - 1 T6
Torrey Pines 2 19 T42 T6 T51 T8 T56 T4 T4
Phoenix T29 T24 MC 2 MC T7 1 T7 T9
Pebble T9 T8 T55 MC 1 T38 1 3 64
Riviera T35 T45 1 1 2 - - - -
Accenture T17 - T9 17 T17 T9 T9 T5 T9





  '11 Putts/Rd '11 Putting Avg. '10 Putts/Rd. '10 Putting Avg.
Phoenix 28.75 (51st) 1.731 (52nd) 29.31 (92nd) 1.788 (117th)
Riviera 29.06 (75th) 1.759 (72nd) 29.64 (108th) 1.811 (130th)
Torrey Pines 28.50 (31st) 1.673 (12) 29.25 (63rd) 1.78 (92nd)
Pebble Beach 29.58 (105th) 1.818 (143rd) 29.25 (91st) 1.756 (86th)







Jason Gore was given a sponsor's exemption to the Northern Trust Open after seeking the spot on Twitter. Is it appropriate for players to use social media to try to gain entry into tournaments?


Sports Illustrated's Gary Van Sickle recently reported








in the minor leagues













Several PGA Tour players have recently parted ways with their old equipment companies and signed new sponsorship deals. How do these agreements work?














Which under-30 American—Dustin Johnson, Webb Simpson or Gary Woodland—has the best chance to win a major in 2012?




Webb Simpson
Fred Vuich/SI
Webb Simpson

All-Around ranking





could





Woodland is now working with Butch Harmon



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