It's a slow time on the golf schedule, with the PGA Tour hitting the second week of its new wraparound schedule that's still not enticing the biggest players in the world to tee it up at these fall series events.
As you'd expect, Phil Mickelson skipped out on the Shriners Open in Las Vegas this week but also passed on the PGA of America's traditional Grand Slam of Golf in Bermuda. The other three major winners this year -- Adam Scott, Justin Rose, and Jason Dufner all showed up for the event (Padraig Harrington, for unclear reasons, took Phil's spot).
So is Mickelson recharging, spending time with the family? Nope, as many players do, he's busy working on next year's promotional endeavors with his sponsor -- a common obligation for players during this stretch.
Phil is, of course, a fervent endorser of all things Callaway, and repeatedly extolled the technological edge the company gave him at multiple points in the 2013 season. He cited their new 3-wood as the biggest improvement around his game that enabled him to win the British Open (and also light it up at the Phoenix Open). Callaway HQ was one of the first places Mickelson stopped with the Claret Jug when he got back home from Scotland in July. There are very few players -- maaaaybe Tiger & Nike -- who have a closer and more publicly happy love affair relationship with their equipment company.
So it was a little odd, and probably disconcerting to some, to hear Phil was testing out a TaylorMade driver at the Presidents Cup two weeks ago. Callaway promptly issued a clarifying statement indicating they were aware Phil was going to test the club before he did it, and that he sought their clearance while waiting for Callaway to come out with their version using some of the same technology in the TaylorMade one.
And any unfounded worries about a wandering eye away from Callaway should be put to rest this week, as the company's Twitter account has been sending out photos of a happy Phil at a shoot for next year's promo materials and ads. This behind-the-scenes video shows Phil killing time by playing ping pong and throwing a football with staffers.
"Go a little farther so I can lead ya."
Phil's a noted ping pong enthusiast, but the arm strength was a new revelation for me -- and right handed too. What a world-class athlete.
Maybe he can unseat his favorite team's QB, San Diego's other Phil.