Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

T-U 2

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

T-U 2

Article excerpt


The ongoing PGA Tour soap opera involving Phil Mickelson and his sudden switch in teachers from Rick Smith to Butch Harmon (less than one year after Mickelson gave Smith credit for everything except his dimples) is proving just as juicy as Tiger Woods' Harmon-for-Hank Haney switch.

Mickelson and Harmon were seen getting cozy on the Doral Resort and Spa Red Course the week of the CA Championship in March. Then, the Augusta Chronicle snapped a photo of Mickelson and Smith going to the practice area the day before Masters week began.

This week, Mickelson's public relations firm e-mailed a news release saying that the PGA Tour star will work with Harmon primarily on his game off the tee but will still maintain "close personal ... and business" ties with Smith.

Harmon helped two players, Greg Norman and Tiger Woods, reach No. 1 in the world. There's a huge gap between Mickelson at No. 4 and Woods, but if Harmon can help make up the difference, he'll be a genius in a profession that has thousands of guys who think they have all the answers.


Some sports writers actually grow up and begin writing serious stuff. Dave Remnick, who went from a sports writer at the Washington Post to a Pulitzer Prize winner for his book on the former Soviet Union, Lenin's Tomb, is perhaps the best example.

David Halberstam, who was killed Monday in an auto accident, was the opposite. He was a Pulitzer Prize winner, reported from war zones such as Vietnam and the Congo and wrote one of the definitive books on the Vietnam War, The Best and the Brightest -- then began doing sports books.

And they were very good sports books. He wrote about the NBA (The Breaks of the Game and Playing for Keeps), Major League Baseball (Summer of '49 and October 1964) and the NFL (The Education of a Coach, on New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick).

Seattle Times columnist Steve Kelley, who was a beat writer for the Portland Trail Blazers during the season that Halberstam traveled with the team to work on The Breaks of the Game, fondly remembered his former colleague this week. …

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