Tony spoke to former Reuters golf correspondent Tony Jimenez and saluted the contribution five-times Major champion Phil Mickelson has made to the sport:
“A lot of the younger players today could do with taking a leaf out of veteran Phil’s book and at least appear as though they are enjoying what they are doing out on the course.
All the elite performers are multi-millionaires these days but they could do with lightening up a bit. It’s like ‘so what’ so often with many modern pros. They will hole a 35-footer and barely acknowledge it, or the crowd, before routinely walking on to the next hole.
I’m a big Mickelson fan. He’s had a wonderful career and has been a great advert for the game. He still captures everyone’s interest and it will be interesting to see what he does when he reaches 50 next year.
Will his intention be to start out on the seniors tour or will he want to continue battling on the main tour to attempt to get back in the world’s top 50 again?
He’s not short of a dollar or two, that’s for certain, and it will be fascinating to see if he does what Miguel Angel Jimenez did and opt to join the golden oldies. If he does, he might go and do some extraordinary things.
On the other hand, he may choose to emulate Vijay Singh who decided to stick with the main tour. I suspect Phil will give it his best shot to get back in the top 50 but that could be a tough proposition with all the good young bucks who are around now.
Phil has had a fantastic individual career and also played in a host of Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups. He’s definitely the greatest left-hander the game has seen.
Like that other brilliant left-hander Bob Charles, he has been a great putter, and you have to be these days. If you can’t putt, you can’t play. All the elite performers today are so proficient on the greens.
Golf, in many respects, is a masquerade, especially for spectators. They see all these guys smashing the ball miles down the fairway but the old adage is still true - you drive for show and putt for dough.
Phil’s always had a fantastic all-round short game because he’s also one of the game’s great chippers and bunker players.
There seemed to be a point in time when he made it his mission to be as pleasant as he could be, so much so that some people thought he was being a bit phoney. But he wasn’t being phoney at all, he was just being Phil.
He’s a straight talker too. He doesn’t back off and he’s not afraid to speak his mind, as he showed when he criticised Tom Watson’s captaincy in front of the press after the Americans lost to Europe in the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.
Meanwhile, it was good to see Tyrrell Hatton get back in the winners’ circle after a two-year wait at the Turkish Airlines Open on Sunday.
Most people know what a pugnacious player Tyrrell is but I didn’t know a great deal about the young Austrian Matthias Schwab before last week and I was certainly impressed with his display.
He led for virtually the entire tournament in Turkey and was unlucky not to close it out.
The 24-year-old is still chasing his first victory on the European Tour but he looks to me like someone who could push for a Ryder Cup place next year.
He looked a very steady player, with a cool head. He never panicked despite spending so much time at the top of the leaderboard. He always looked in control of his game and they are qualities that European captain Padraig Harrington is sure to have noticed.”