First Tee to Last Call: Better With Age
I would never have guessed I’d be writing this sentence. Phil Mickelson is the 2021 PGA Championship winner! At 50-years-young, Mickelson is the oldest major champion in PGA history. Everything about last Sunday was magical.
First – I severely dislike Brooks Koepka. Watching Koepka get owned by Mickelson was so satisfying. Then, listening to Koepka accuse fans of trying to take out his injured knee as he approached the 18th green. And, his now-viral outburst at Bryson DeChambeau for walking on concrete with golf spikes near him in a post-match interview. The guy’s an egomaniac who routinely calls out anyone and everyone for his shortcomings and or frustrations on tour. For the self-proclaimed best player in golf, he certainly has a lot of issues with everyone who plays with or against him.
Also, I’m a huge Mickelson fan! Most people are familiar with him. But if you haven’t gone down the rabbit hole that is his social media, I strongly recommend it. He’s hilarious and he’s amazing to his fans. One of the coolest moments from Sunday was watching Mickelson stop during his round to give a disabled spectator a ball between holes. Just one of the many examples of how different Mickelson and the aforementioned Koepka are.
Watching him win this week made me think about how everything gets better with age. Mickelson has had his ups and downs but watching him coming down the 18th fairway with thousands of people cheering him on and seeing how confident and grateful he was, was really inspiring.
And Most importantly, I was coming off a round of golf with my fiancee and my dad just as Mickelson and Koepka teed off. We rushed back to my parents’ house to watch the final pairing with my mom. Golf has always been a huge part of my family. I’ve been playing with my dad since I could walk. My fiancee and I play more golf than we do anything else. My mom watches every second of golf that she can. Once upon a time, she could hit the ball a little bit too.
What makes this magical? A few years ago my parents moved to South Carolina to enjoy their retirement. Two days into retirement, my mom had an accident that nearly took her life. She is a pretty private person so I won’t share the details. Thankfully my mom is a stubborn and strong lady and didn’t take her injuries lying down and has managed to recover very significantly over the last few years and is doing great. I’m thankful for every second I get to spend with her. Also, I think it’s safe to say she hates Koepka more than I do, which is always fun to listen to when he’s playing.
Amongst the many things my dad has taught me over the years, the game of golf is probably my favorite. If I had taken it more seriously and actually listened to him earlier in life I probably could have been much better at it than I am – but hey – we can’t all play on the tour. He’s always going to be my favorite person to play with and because of the distance between South Carolina and South Dakota, we don’t get to play nearly as often as we’d like. Now in his 70’s, the man still hits the ball almost as far as I do and routinely beats me. In fact, we played six times last week and I believe his record was four-one-one. I’m still currently protesting the tie.
I mentioned that we don’t get to see my parents as often as we’d like. This was the first time my fiancee and I had seen my parents since our engagement in December and the last time we will see them until our wedding in August. So it was really exciting for me to celebrate that in person with them and talk about our wedding plans. It’s the biggest thing that has ever happened to me and I like to believe it’s because of the person I’ve become, which, in large part, I have my parents to thank for.
I really thought about the next step in my life and how thankful I am to have so many amazing people to celebrate it with. I have friends I’ve known for decades who are going to be a part of my wedding. I have my parents and my brothers. I have my fiancee’s family and all of her friends, many of whom are now my friends.
I think what stands out in my mind the most is that through ups and downs, successes and failures, the people in your life are what make it worth living. I’m thankful for every experience and every person who has brought me to this point in life. So many things change over the years but we all keep growing and getting better with age. Be humble, be grateful and be thankful for the time you get with the people who make you who you are. And remember, you’re making them who they are too.
On a little bit lighter note, I’m hopeful I can grow and do better with my golf picks this week! Last week, despite having a strong process and a lot of confidence, I had a majority of guys perform subpar, and I’m not talking about the good subpar either.
After the PGA Tours Oceanside stop in South Carolina, it heads to The Charles Schwab Challenge at Colonial Golf Course in Fort Worth, Texas.
The course is playing at 7,200 yards and is a par 70. With tight fairways and a lot of trees, this course requires accuracy. This is shaping up to be a second-shot tournament. I don’t see the bomb-and-gauge approach working well this week.
Greens are bentgrass and I would expect the winner to have solid putting stats. The weather could play a factor this week. It looks to be a little wet and possibly windy. Players who make it to the weekend should have more favorable conditions though.
Some Metrics I’m Looking at this Week
- Driving accuracy
- Shots-gained approach
- Opportunities gained
Charles Schwab Challenge Picks
Abraham Ancer ($9,700)
I’m going right back to the well on Abraham Ancer this week. He’s No. 1 in my model because he’s accurate and consistent. He rates out in the top eight in every metric I looked at. He has three top 10’s in his last three starts and had a fantastic seven-under-par performance at the PGA on Sunday to finish T8. He’s trending and, as I said on our show, “The 19th Hole”, last week he’s going to win soon. I’m not jumping off the train now.
Matt Wallace ($8,200)
Matt Wallace has made five cuts of his last five starts with a third-place finish and a T6 in that stretch. His third-place finish came at the Valero Open which is also a Texas course. I like what I’m seeing out of him. The stats like him too. He’s No. 11 overall in my model. No. 11 in shots-gained approach and No. 19 in shots-gained putting on bent grass. The $8,000-$9,000 range is a little tricky this week and Wallace seems to be the best bet.
Doug Ghim ($7,200)
Doug Ghim is No.6 overall in my model. There’s a lot to like stat-wise; No. 6 in fairways gained, No. 6 in greens in regulation gained, No. 15 in opportunities gained, and No. 9 in approach. He’s had very mediocre results as far as finishing position goes. That part concerns me a little, but I’m going to follow the stats in the price range and hope he comes to play this week.
Other Golfers I Like this Week
Jordan Spieth ($11,200)
Patrick Reed ($10,300)
Corey Conners ($9,400)
Cameron Tringale ($8,100)
Kevin Kisner ($7,200)
Joel Dahmen ($7,400)
Brice Garnett ($6,200)
Mark Hubbard ($6,100)
Thanks for reading, and good luck this week!
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Conor Coughlin @Cough_DFS