PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Can you stand the Truth?
Welcome to the office of Dr. Truth, golf psychiatrist. Ask a question, if you dare.
Question: Why did Phil Mickelson miss all those putts in the U.S. Open?
Dr. Truth: Because he is the most overrated putter in golf. He is terribly streaky on the greens (with an emphasis on terribly). We all love Lefty, but generally he wins tournaments with superior ballstriking and wedge play, not putting. At the U.S. Open, Dr. Truth rated his putting as a 3 on a scale of 1 to 10. Even an ordinary putting performance – say, a 5 – would have won the U.S. Open for Lefty.
Question: Are you saying Mickelson lost the U.S. Open, and, if so, how about Tiger Woods?
Dr. Truth: Yes, Mickelson lost the title. It was his to win, and he faltered. Woods, though, didn’t lose it. Except for the third round, he never appeared ready to win. His game was not sharp enough. His iron play was dismal, particularly in the last round. His play raises doubts about whether he will win a tournament this year, including the British Open at St. Andrews, where he has never lost.
Question: So how did Graeme McDowell manage to triumph?
Dr. Truth: Lack of mistakes. He managed himself extremely well. He drove the ball more consistently than any of the other contenders. Dr. Truth loves the fact that McDowell used an old Callaway FT-3 driver (introduced in 2005). It is often overlooked in golf, but golfers who are intimately comfortable with their equipment have an advantage. Never bet on a player with new clubs.
Question: Why are scores so high in the U.S. Open?
Dr. Truth: Because the greens are as hard as bricks and the rough as unruly as broccoli. The U.S. Open is a test of mental clarity and fortitude. It’s no wonder that Andy North, one of the most analytical guys you will ever find, won the U.S. Open twice while winning only one other tournament in his PGA Tour career.
Question: Why do some touring pros such as McDowell swing fast when so many instructors are telling their students to slow down?
Dr. Truth: As a rule of thumb, golfers who play six or seven days a week (touring pros) have grooved swings and can swing faster, if they choose. Duh, swinging faster is the most obvious way to increase clubhead speed. Of course, every person has his own rhythm. Many of us are not comfortable with a quicker Graeme McDowell-Lanny Wadkins-Nick Price-Zach Johnson type of cadence.
Question: What golf ball did McDowell use?
Dr. Truth: Callaway ix. Three of the top five finishers (McDowell, Mickelson and Ernie Els) played Callaway balls. The most-used golf ball in the tournament, though, was Titleist, with 85. Callaway was second, with 20.
Question: Is it true that you advocate using the same kind of golf ball all the time?
Dr. Truth: Absolutely. Use the same brand and model every time you play. Learn how it feels, how it reacts in all circumstances. You will save strokes. There’s more – Dr. Truth recommends that golfers practice their chipping and pitching with their own golf balls, not practice balls. Too often, range rocks do not feel or spin anything like premium balls.
Question: Will his fourth-round collapse be a fatal blow to the career of Dustin Johnson?
Dr. Truth: No way. Johnson is on the path to superstardom, and Dr. Truth predicts he will win more major championships than Mickelson.
Question: Are you on drugs?
Dr. Truth: Just vegetables.
Question: What do you think of the 14th green at Pebble Beach?
Dr. Truth: There’s nothing wrong with it that a few sticks of dynamite couldn’t fix. Dr. Truth believes the Pebble Beach Co. will alter the green before the 2019 U.S. Open.
Question: Why did God invent golf, anyway?
Dr. Truth: Because the National Football League plays only five months a year.
Question: How much does it cost to play Pebble Beach Golf Links?
Dr. Truth: The regular greens fee is $495 (yes, that’s 4-9-5).