As far as Phil Mickelson apologies go, his concession after the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am was stronger than normal.
Maybe the sight of a huge winning check on a glorious Carmel Bay morning did the trick, because after winning the event for a fifth time, the 48-year-old said it would have been a mistake to keep playing in Sunday night’s darkness.
“Paul (Casey) made the tough call, but it was the right decision in that he protected himself and myself for the competition,” Mickelson said. “So we would have been at a severe disadvantage last night where you can’t see the targets, the greens were pretty rough, and this morning, we came out and the greens were much better after they have been mowed.”
Someone in Mickelson’s camp also might have noted that his group was woefully behind and that if finishing the round Sunday was a priority, perhaps they should have played faster. Even then, the prospect of playing Pebble Beach’s 18th in the dark can be a daunting one in daylight. One drive into the ocean and a dispute over the “point of entry” could easy have ensued.
“Sometimes I just get in my own little bubble and I don’t see the big picture and I just, I wanted to finish, I was playing well, and I just didn’t take all the factors into account,” he said after Monday’s two-hole finish. “So I ended up thanking him this morning for making that tough call because I made it tougher for him, but he did the right thing in protecting both of us.”