No Tournament For Old Men: Phil And Tiger Cope With the Ravages of Time

January 24, 2014

Phil Mickelson, 2014 Farmers Insurance Open Phil Mickelson during the first round of the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open. (Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)

Officially, Thursday marked the start of the Farmers Insurance Open, but it could have been mistaken for the Champions Tour as the event’s two biggest names became the focus of discussions that centered on the ravages of Old Man Time.
First there was Phil Mickelson, showing signs of discomfort from a tweaked back muscle as he went about his round on the North Course at Torrey Pines. Mickelson managed a three-under 69 but confessed to feeling twinges of sharp pain that kept him from “swinging from the top.”
After the round, he was asked on Golf Channel what caused the injury.
“I’m just getting old,” said Lefty, who, at 43, doesn’t even qualify as middle-aged.
Next up, Tiger Woods, who battled his ball flight on the more difficult South Course en route to an even-par 72.
His play, not surprisingly, came under careful scrutiny from none other than Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee. Love him or hate him (and many of Tiger’s most feverish supporters have made it clear where they stand on that one), Chamblee ranks among the smartest of talking-heads, and his insights into Tiger’s swing make good TV.
In this case, with help from side-by-side images, Chamblee pointed out how much shorter Woods’ backswing was on Thursday than it was during his 2013 Farmers win.
Chamblee has described Woods as an “old 37,” a man who has lived several golfing lifetimes in the course of his career.
On Thursday he went further. As images of Tiger flashed on the screen, Chamblee noted that the swing looked like the action of a “55-year-old.”
Well, at least Tiger didn’t commit Phil’s faux pas. He wasn’t being cavalier about his age.
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