(AP) — What started as a “fun project” to share his wizardry with the short game has gone beyond Phil Mickelson’s expectations.
His “Secrets of the Short Game” DVD debuted last month at No. 2 on the Billboard Video Sales recreational sports category. Early sales have topped 25,000 copies, and it now is in the second print run.
“We did a lot better than we prepared for,” Mickelson said, “which is a good problem to have.”
Lefty considered it a success even before it went on sale.
He has amazed with his short game since he was a kid and his father built a putting green in the yard. Mickelson is most famous for his flop shot, but he has shown incredible imagination from all points around the green and with all clubs, such as the “side sauce” he put on a wedge at The Players Championship one year, or the 9-iron he played from a buried lie in front of a lip in a bunker at the Ryder Cup.
Making the DVD allowed him to teach himself.
“I had no script,” he said. “I had to come up with the outline and decide what I wanted to say. That forced me to think about what I actually do and how I can articulate it clearly. It’s not a difficult concept. It’s easy to understand and emulate. I had to identify what I do, and I had to simplify it. I got rid of the complex jargon and got back to the basic techniques.”
The DVD was produced by Terry Jastrow, a former ABC golf producer who created instruction videos with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson among others in the 1980s. It was shot over two days in January at The Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe. The DVD is about two hours and covers every shot inside 50 yards.
Mickelson said he wanted to help players of all levels, but the highest compliments have been seeing some tour players using the drills. And last week, he received an unsolicited testimonial from Ted Purdy.
Purdy had 20 birdies at Hilton Head and only finished at 2-under 282 for the tournament. He was browsing through a PGA Tour store in the airport when he came across Mickelson’s DVD and plunked down $49.95.
“I’ve always been a decent ball striker, and my putting has turned around, but my short game always seems to lag,” Purdy said. “I bought the DVD, and I’ve been chipping great ever since.”
OPEN AND SHUT: Another major deadline looms, and Davis Love III again is on the bubble. This is the final week for players to avoid 36-hole qualifying for the U.S. Open and the British Open.
Love, who missed the Masters by just over four-hundredths of a point in the world ranking, goes into the Byron Nelson Championship at No. 54 in the world and most likely will need to finish no worse than 14th to get into the top 50.
The top 50 in the world and the top 10 on the PGA Tour money list after this week are exempt from U.S. Open qualify.
David Toms, who also missed out on the Masters, is at No. 47 and probably will need to finish in the top 50 at the Nelson to stay there.
Dustin Johnson is No. 48 but already eligible with two PGA Tour victories since June; Aaron Baddeley is No. 49 and not playing this week; while Thongchai Jaidee (No. 50), Graeme McDowell (No. 51) and Prayad Marksaeng (No. 53) are playing the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth, which offers more points than Dallas.
The top 10 on the money list going into the Nelson who are not already exempt for the U.S. Open – Sean O’Hair, Nick Watney and Paul Casey – will get in through the world ranking.
Kevin Na (No. 12) is $60,123 behind 10th place on the money list, and would need to finish at least 23rd in Dallas.
Brian Gay is on both bubbles. He is No. 54 in the world and probably would need to finish ninth or higher to earn enough ranking points; and he is No. 14 on the money list, needing to finish at least 24th to have a chance.
The British Open is all about top 50 in the world. It also has mini-money lists that will not be decided until July.
SKINNER’S LIFE: The economy didn’t stop Val Skinner from raising another $500,000 through her LIFE event, believed to be the biggest one-day golf fundraiser for breast cancer programs.
The 10th anniversary was held Monday at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. Among the 28 LPGA players who participated were Solheim Cup captain Beth Daniel, Meg Mallon, Morgan Pressel, Karrie Webb, Laura Davies and Kraft Nabisco winner Brittany Lincicome.
LIFE stands for LPGA Pros in the Fight to Eradicate breast cancer. It now has raised more than $5.6 million for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Skinner founded LIFE in honor of former LPGA player Heather Farr, who died of breast cancer in 1993 at age 28.
“While I am extremely proud of what LIFE has accomplished in the past decade, I know that we still have much work ahead in the fight to eradicate breast cancer,” Skinner said.
DIVOTS: This isn’t a shot Briny Baird will face on the PGA Tour – a 9-iron from 230 yards with a 375-foot drop in elevation. In a promotion for his corporate sponsor, P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, Baird hit from the top of the Omni Hotel to a target in the outfield of Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. Baird hit the target eight out of 10 times, meaning the restaurant will make good on an online coupon for a free lettuce wrap, along with a $25,000 donation to the San Diego Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society. … John Kaczkowski has been promoted to president and CEO of the Western Golf Association. He succeeds Don Johnson, who has led the WGA the last 21 years. Kaczkowski had been the association’s VP of tournaments. … Dick’s Sporting Goods has agreed to continue as a title sponsor on the Champions Tour for upstate New York through 2012. … “People vs. the Pros” is returning to the silly-season schedule this year, played Oct. 23-27 at Pinehurst Resort on courses Nos. 1, 2 and 4. The two winning amateurs after 54 holes will use their handicap index to play the final round against Fred Couples and Nick Faldo.
STAT OF THE WEEK: The Irish Open offered more world ranking points than the Texas Open, the first time the European Tour has had a stronger field than the PGA Tour since the third week of January.
FINAL WORD: “When you’re trying to win a tournament, you’re not playing for money. The only time you’re playing for money is when you’re not going to win the tournament.” — Scott Verplank.