Massacre. Mickelson. Mulligan.
To recite the history of Winged Foot is to parade through a veritable vocabulary list of mishaps and misreads – a mashup of bad things that happen to good people when a golf course isn’t set up so much to identify the best player as to humble him.
Years before the U.S. Open and Winged Foot became widely known as one of the most diabolical duos in major championship golf, one member of the club had the temerity – or maybe the foresight – to ask for a do-over.
His name: David Mulligan.
Mulligan lent his moniker to the second chances that pretty much everyone has partaken in on golf courses across America. That he was a member of Winged Foot seems especially apropos, given that it has long been almost universally regarded as one of the most difficult tests in golf, especially when the USGA gets its hands on it.
”The last 18 holes are very difficult,” Jack Nicklaus said back in 1974 after ”The Massacre at Winged Foot” left Hale Irwin holding the U.S. Open trophy with a spiffy four-day score of 7-over par.
Legend has it that decades before the ”Massacre,” and a couple of generations before Phil Mickelson’s infamous 18th hole meltdown at Winged Foot in 2006, Mulligan embarked on his quest for a new beginning.
According to one of a handful of versions of the story, Mulligan, a Canadian hotel man and part owner of the Biltmore in New York City, arrived in a rush to his regular game, teed it up and, in his words, ”hit a ball off the first tee that was long enough but not straight.”
Mulligan continued in a newspaper interview that was reprinted in Golf Journal in 1985 :
”I was so provoked with myself that, on impulse, I stooped over and put down another ball. The other three looked at me with considerable puzzlement, and one of them asked, ‘What are you doing?’ ‘I’m taking a correction shot,’ I replied. ‘What do you call that?’ inquired (one of his friends). Thinking fast, I told him that I called it a ‘mulligan.”’
Over the years, the story has precipitated its fair share of double takes. There are no fewer than four versions of the origin of the mulligan, not all of which count Mr. Mulligan as the shot’s true namesake. Odds are, Mulligan took his first true mulligan at a course in Canada. But it also could’ve been in New Jersey.
The preponderance of evidence, however, points toward Mr. Mulligan as the inventor, and there is little doubt he was a member at Winged Foot – rendering the yearning for do-overs eminently relatable for this week.
”Knowing this golf course and the history, they have a reputation to maintain,” said Jon Rahm, in anticipation of what could await.
The last time the U.S. Open was at Winged Foot, nobody would’ve thought twice about giving Colin Montgomerie a mullie after he swapped out his 6-iron for a 7-iron, then laid sod over an approach shot on 18 that could have set him up for a major title he never won.
If Montgomerie was due one re-do, then Mickelson could’ve asked for, and easily been granted, three: the trash-can tee shot on 17, the driver on 18 and the ensuing misguided attempt to go for the green from near the hospitality tent.
”I’m such an idiot,” he said in the aftermath of the meltdown.
Merriam-Webster defines mulligan as ”a free shot sometimes given a golfer in informal play when the previous shot was poorly played.”
The USGA? Hardly so liberal.
Nowhere will you find the word ”mulligan” among the 24 Rules of Golf, which has plenty of instructions for shots that must be replayed, almost all of them involving the addition of a penalty stroke or two.
Handicapping rules, though they don’t explicitly mention mulligans, do allow for workarounds for those who don’t play out certain holes per the rules of golf.
Of course, anyone who takes a mulligan probably should clear it with whomever they’re playing against. David Mulligan ran into that problem himself the day he made the unilateral decision to take his mulligan – a shot widely known these days as a ”breakfast ball” – off the first tee.
”They laughed and let me play the second ball. But after the match, which we won by one point, there was considerable discussion in the clubhouse about that free shot,” he said in his interview. ”It all worked out amicably enough, but after that it became kind of an unwritten rule in our foursome that you could take an extra shot on the first tee if you weren’t satisfied with your original.”
The rest, as they say, is history. The mulligan, thanks to the man from Winged Foot, gives us a chance to rewrite it.
There goes my Herro
The Miami Heat took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Celtics on Wednesday and were led by the youngest player on the floor as 20-year-old Tyler Herro put on a masterful display of shot making. He scored with ease at all three levels, racking up 37 points (14-of-21 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs) with five triples, six rebounds, three dimes and one turnover in 36 minutes. He closed out the game in style with 17 points alone in the fourth quarter, breaking some records in the process — he broke Dwayne Wade’s rookie playoff record (27 points) and also became the second 20-year-old to score at least 37 in the playoffs alongside Magic Johnson’s record of 42.
I don’t think Pat Riley gets enough credit for refusing to tank after LeBron James left as he’s managed to build another powerhouse team that has only lost twice so far in the playoffs — he drafted Herro and Bam Adebayo 13th and 14th overall, found two hidden gems in Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn, and to top it all off he convinced Jimmy Butler to leave Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in order to be the leader of this revamped roster.
Speaking of Butler, he was having a pretty quiet series on the offensive end before this one, but popped off for 24 points on 8-of-20 shots, adding nine rebounds, three assists, one steal and one block. He deferred to Herro down the stretch though which he should get a lot of credit for, and he has spear-headed Miami’s zone defense and has been the ultimate disruptor on that end with seven total steals and three blocks this series. He’s on the verge of making it to his first NBA Finals so all those 3 AM training sessions and noise complaints for dribbling in his hotel room are going to pay off.
Goran Dragic reminded us why he’s going to be one of the hottest free agents this summer, dropping 22 points on 8-of-21 shots with five boards, three dimes, two steals and three triples. That improves his playoff average to 21.3 points, 4.5 assists, 4.3 rebounds, 1.0 steals and 2.6 triples. He legitimately might get a one-year deal worth roughly $20M, but no longer than that with the Heat preserving cap space to make a run at Giannis in 2021-22.
Bam Adebayo was instrumental for the Heat once again with a 20/12/4 line with two steals, his 6th game of the playoffs with at least 20 points and 10 rebounds. How he didn’t make any of the All-NBA teams remains absurd to me. The Heat will have some concern going forward though, as Bam Adebayo tweaked his wrist in the fourth quarter and it was clearly bothering him — he was grimacing a lot and was just letting it hang by his side.
Bam said after the game that he just twisted it and that he’ll be fine, sporting a huge icepack on his wrist. Coach Erik Spoelstra didn’t have an update and the Heat weren’t exactly transparent either, so we’re pretty much in the dark here. Hopefully everything is OK but I wouldn’t be surprised if he undergoes an MRI Thursday to be safe.
UPDATE: Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press is reporting that Bam’s injury is an aggravation of something he picked up in Game 3 and that he is good to go for Game 5.
As for Boston, let’s first give a shoutout to Gordon Hayward who became a father to his fourth child on Wednesday. He was originally expected to depart the bubble for the birth, but because he took so much time off for his ankle injury he opted to stay and help Boston. “I think his ankle’s fine right now,” coach Brad Stevens said after the birth was announced. “I don’t think he’s thought about it all afternoon obviously. Very, very happy to hear the news.”
He had another strong performance in his second game back, scoring 14 points in 30 minutes with seven rebounds, three assists and two triples. He’s played 30 minutes in back-to-back games, and with Boston’s season on the line I’m expecting that number to go up as Boston’s best bet is to play smaller lineups unless Brad Stevens starts suddenly trusting Robert Williams. The reason for that is because Daniel Theis was absolutely torched all evening, finishing with a +/- of -14 in 30 minutes.
Kemba Walker continues to be targeted on defense, but at least he’s finally making up for it on the other end. He scored 20 points for his third straight game with at least that many, adding five assists, four rebounds and three triples. Jaylen Brown added 21 points, nine boards and four triples for Boston, while Marcus Smart had an off shooting night (3-of-12 FGs) but still managed to post a 10-point, 11-dime double-double.
Jayson Tatum had his first scoreless half of the season, but erupted late to finish with 28 points (10-of-22 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs) with nine rebounds, four assists, one steal and three blocks in 39 minutes. “I take a lot of blame,” Tatum said. “I didn’t play like myself in the first half.” He also called his performance “unacceptable,” and something is telling me he won’t go down without a fight in Game 5.
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News and Notes from around the NBA
– Sacramento’s new GM, Monte McNair, spoke to the media for the first time on Wednesday since being hired. He said he’s “excited” to work alongside coach Luke Walton who was previously on the hot seat, but this will certainly be an interesting dynamic to watch. McNair said that floor spacing and pushing the pace will be two things that he’ll preach as GM, and hopefully Walton delivers in that regard because he refused to do that this season despite saying otherwise. McNair comes from Houston’s front office, so that alone is reason for optimism (at least from a fantasy basketball perspective).
Pushing the pace will be huge for Sacramento’s franchise PG in De’Aaron Fox, a player that I’ve got my eyes on next season as a post-hype breakout. He still managed to average a career-high 21.1 points in his age-22 season despite so many things working against him, so if we get some positive regression with his 3-point shooting, free throws, and defensive stats then I think we’re talking about a top-40 finish in 8-cat leagues.
One other thing that stood out from the press conference is how much he talked about Buddy Hield, saying that he’s “absolutely” one of the elite shooters in the league and that he can’t wait to utilize that in his system. McNair also talked about being smart with the team’s finances, and with so much money tied up in Hield I got the sense that he was leaning towards letting Bogdan Bogdanovic walk this summer. Maybe I’m wrong, but if Bogdan bounces then Hield will have a clear runway to a top-50 bounce-back season.
– Mitchell Robinson will not attend New York’s voluntary workouts under new head coach Tom Thibodeau for personal reasons, but all we know right now is that it’s not COVID-19 related. Robinson didn’t live up to the hype this season but it had more to do with the former coaching staff, so you better believe I’ll be buying his discounted ADP this time around with a coach who is notorious for playing his studs 36+ minutes.
Lampard gushes after Thiago Silva debut, Havertz hat trick
Chelsea rebounded from its weekend loss to Liverpool by getting the good vibes going through a number of new faces Wednesday in a League Cup blowout of Barnsley.
Kai Havertz scored three times, Ben Chilwell came off the bench to chip in an assist on debut, and Thiago Silva went 60 minutes in his first match in a Chelsea shirt as the Blues pounded the Championship side 6-0.
[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]
We’ll start with the longtime PSG defender, who had four clearances, an interception, and a tackle while winning both of his duels.
He passed at 94 percent including six-of-seven long balls. Even accounting for the competition, that’s solid.
Lampard called Silva’s outing “a perfect 60 minutes” via Football.London:
“He also gave us something for me on the night in the dressing room and on the pitch of a leader with authority in terms of his demands on others,” Lampard said. “He can’t speak the language but at the minute that’s not even a problem because his presence and the way he commands people around him is already showing that to me in training and in our game tonight. Yes, I am very very pleased with Thiago. It is what I expected of a player of his level but it is very refreshing to have him here at the club.”
ProSoccerTalk talked about Chelsea’s need for a leader at the back during this week’s “Unfiltered,” and Lampard has clearly been waiting for someone like Silva.
As for Havertz, you only needed the box score to see his influence on the game.
Two of Havertz’s three goals were assisted by Tammy Abraham and a third from Mason Mount.
The German phenom also racked up five tackles and two key passes against Barnsley.
“He makes the recovery tackle for Ross (Barkley)’s goal, but then to also just have some freedom on the ball in central areas roaming behind Tammy,” Lampard said. “The combinations he had with Tammy, the way he grew into the game and had confidence and the three goals. It was a great night for Kai and the first of many for him.”
Havertz scored seven braces for Bayer Leverkusen, but this was his first hat trick. Barnsley may play in the second tier, but they had allowed three goals in their last four games.
Lampard gushes after Thiago Silva debut, Havertz hat trick originally appeared on NBCSports.com
The fate of the Pac-12 football season will be decided Thursday
Are you (finally) ready for some football?
That’s the question that will confront the Pac-12 Conference presidents and chancellors on Thursday when they vote to decide the fate of a fall football season that’s already been twice delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
UCLA’s official football Twitter feed might have spoken for the rest of the conference Wednesday afternoon when it posted photos of players working out along with the caption “Just say when.”
Every Bruin expected to play this season has returned to campus for expanded workouts that have involved handoffs and passes since Gov. Gavin Newsom vowed last week not to stand in the way of a football season. A UCLA spokesperson said the state-mandated player limits for workouts have not been lifted, which a spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health confirmed by forwarding a list of restrictions that would make 11-on-11 practices impossible.
“Our guidelines for practice were developed … to minimize the potential for physical contact. …
“The 6-12 person cohorts allow for a range of collegiate sports teams to both condition and practice.”
The lack of movement on the state guidelines could result in the Pac-12 bigwigs announcing a restart with the caveat of all public health restrictions being lifted.
Players have been working out 12 hours a week while waiting for clearance to nearly double that workload before commencing training camp 30 days before the season opener.
Across town, USC has received the rapid-testing machines that allowed players to dream once more about a fall season. Both the Trojans and the Bruins have been able to move back inside their weight rooms over the last week.
The Pac-12 has been the final holdout among college football’s major conferences, failing to go where every other major conference besides the Big Ten has gone before. The Big Ten finally got there last week, agreeing to stage a season after enduring more histrionics than a soap opera.
The biggest issue facing Pac-12 leaders may not be whether to play but when to start. A Halloween kickoff that has been proposed as the earliest possible kickoff might be too soon for Stanford and California, which are trying to clear local public health hurdles. Some Pac-12 schools haven’t had their players on campus until recently with their seasons in limbo.
When the Pac-12 postponed football season for a second time last month, conference medical officials cited three reasons: rampant spread of the novel coronavirus in the schools’ geographic footprint; a potential link between the virus and myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart that can result in arrhythmia, cardiac arrest and death; and insufficient testing capacity.
Two of the three problems have been solved. Viral positivity rates and numbers of new reported cases have fallen in recent weeks on much of the West Coast. Perhaps more important, testing capacity will be robust thanks to a partnership with Quidel Corp., a diagnostic health care manufacturer that has agreed to supply Pac-12 teams with rapid viral tests before the end of the month.
That leaves the myocarditis dilemma, one that’s probably not insurmountable. When the Big Ten announced last week that it was resuming football, it said it would require enhanced cardiac screening designed to protect players. The Pac-12 would likely unveil something similar as part of any return to play scenario.
Dr. Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer, said last month that he was aware of about 12 cases of myocarditis among college athletes. But two high-profile cases have heightened concerns about heart issues. Boston Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is sitting out the season after contracting the virus and developing myocarditis, and the mother of Indiana offensive lineman Brady Feeney composed an impassioned social media post detailing her son’s “14 days of hell” because of heart problems related to COVID-19.
“It’s remained a concern that there are cardiovascular effects and there’s a lot of signal that there may be an impact, but as to how significant the impact may be, we’re still trying to understand that,” Dr. Jeffrey Hsu, a UCLA sports cardiologist, recently told The Times. “These are areas of active investigation and we have the whole world looking into it right now.”
Keeping players safe may not be as easy as designing detailed protocols. The National College Players Assn. on Tuesday sent a letter to NCAA president Mark Emmert calling for an investigation into what it described as “widespread noncompliance” with safety measures among college coaches and athletic staff. The failure to comply with the guidelines was revealed in a recent survey of athletic trainers.
Should the Pac-12 presidents and chancellors vote to start football season on Nov. 7, they could clear the way for as many as six games before a conference championship on the weekend of Dec. 18. That would leave the Pac-12 with fewer games played than its major-conference counterparts, potentially precluding the selection of a Pac-12 team for the College Football Playoff.
At the very least, the Pac-12 would have salvaged a fall season that once looked unlikely.
Times staff writer Ryan Kartje contributed to this report.
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