Estes: ‘Ph’antastic Phil got his major win

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 17, 2004

That wasn’t &uot;philosophical Phil&uot; standing over that crucial Masters putt in Augusta, Ga., last Sunday &045; it was &uot;poised Phil,&uot; and I just knew it was too much for him.

But, again, he was poised and ready, and it went straight into the cup. Wow.

He had to think, &uot;I’ve won, I’ve won.&uot; Clutch wasn’t even the word for making a putt in that situation, but how else can you describe it? When a putt like that hits the cup you have to have that special feeling. Phil had it.

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Ernie Els was ahead on his heels mostly on the back nine, but Phil didn’t particularly struggle because of the heat &045; he just kept on keeping on, steady as he went. Drought over. A win, a win. And it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.

It was exciting to watch him celebrate, finally, something as &uot;big&uot; as the jacket they handed him. Must have been the special time of his whole life. He’s now 34.

This has been a generation of outstanding golfers, you know it? Such talent, in fact, you don’t know from one week to the next who will strike it rich.

There had to come a time in Phil Mickelson’s golfing life when he had to get over the hump or hang it up. That time was Sunday, although I doubt that he would have hung it up had he lost again.

Breaking a drought with a major title like the Masters is the way to do it all right. Mickelson was nothing but buddies on the majors’ path. They say he’s so likeable they hate to beat him. But this is professional golf, not tiddly winks.

This was the defining moment for Phil Mickelson, and a nation reveled with him because he’s so likeable. And comes across so fine on television, leading up to all the big headlines in newspapers like The Democrat.

Auburn, meanwhie, made life miserable for the Ole Miss Rebels on Masters Sunday. When you sweep a doubleheader from a homestanding ball club, you’ve made life miserable for the locals.

The Rebels allowed junior right-hander Steven Register to &uot;register&uot; a win in the first game of the doubleheader 2-1, then take the second game 3-2, with Register registering outs against players in both ends of the twin bill. And this is one of Ole Miss’ better hitting teams.

An old writing friend died just last year. That would be Lee Baker, whom I always liked to read. Like most writers, he had his own style, and it was indeed interesting. And talkin’ to him in press boxes, etc., was even more interesting.

One writing friend said &uot;the late Lee Baker raised the sports bar,&uot; and, boy, did he ever get that right. Lee was professional but down-to-earth in casual conversation.

Orley Hood of The Clarion Ledger led off with the words, &uot;The late Lee Baker raised the sports bar.&uot; Great.

We’ve all watched him act like &uot;Lee Baker&uot; in press boxes, believe me, that was usually a show. If he felt like it he would act like it.

And it was usually OK.

Glenvall Estes is a longtime columnist for The Natchez Democrat.