By Michael Carman
Peninsula Daily News
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Truthfully, a variety of personal and professional factors conspired against me in 2013 and kept me from playing much golf at our North Olympic Peninsula courses.
I'm not much for New Year's Resolutions; if you you'd like to change things in your life, you can start that process just as well in mid-July as you can on Jan. 1.
That said, I plan to spend more time on the golf course this year. In fact, as many of you are reading this, I am playing a New Year's nine at West Seattle Golf Club in Seattle.
Phil Mickelson opened his British Open final round in ninth place, five shots back of leader Lee Westwood at Midfield in Scotland.
He ended it, after completing one of the more memorable performances of the past decade, with a 66 and the Claret Jug, and just one U.S. Open title from a career grand slam.
As those ahead of him on the leader board were dropping away, Mickelson birdied four of the last six holes, including a crucial birdie on the par-5 17th hole, to post a back-nine 32.
He nearly eagled the 17th, hitting two of the more memorable 3-wood shots, the first off the tee, the second from the fairway, to stay in control.
“That's the moment I kind of had to compose myself, because I hit two of the best 3-woods I ever hit,” Mickelson said in the media tent after the round.
“That is exactly why I don't have driver in the bag. Those two 3-woods were the best shots of the week, and walking up on that green is when I realized that his championship is very much in my control.
“And I was getting a little emotional.”
Mickelson two-putted for birdie to get to 2-under and the tourney was effectively his.
“You're with a guy for all that time and it's pretty cool when you see him play the best round of his career in the last round of the British Open to win,” Mickelson's caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay said post-round.
“He played the best round of golf I've ever seen him play.”
Love him or hate him, the stoic Jason Dufner is a major winner, claiming the 2013 PGA Championship in August at Oak Hill Country Club near Rochester.
Dufner had a great week at Oak Hill, shattering the storied track's course record, which was held by Ben Hogan and Curtis Strange and tied in the same round by Webb Simpson.
Taking a python-like approach after earning the lead at No. 8 with a birdie to move to 11-under par, Dufner squeezed the life out of the golf course (and possibly the event's television ratings) by staying steady and avoiding huge mistakes.
Dufner was able to keep Jim Furyk at arms-length with a two-stroke lead for much of the last nine to earn the Wannamaker Trophy.
No word however, on whether Dufner celebrated by Dufnering — a posture where one slouches with their back against the wall, legs out, arms tucked underneath their body while staring off into the distance.
Dufnering was popularized by Dufner during a reading program at a Dallas-area elementary school while Dufner, the previous year's event champion, was in town on a tour promotion.
Fellow tour pro's like Keegan Bradley, Bubba Watson and Rory McIlroy all added their own “Dufnering” poses to the social media world and a meme was born.
Apologies for September, I lost my Dad to congestive heart failure mid-month and to be honest, the whole month was a bit of a blur.
We had previously lost Peninsula Daily News Sports Editor Brad LaBrie to complications from a stroke earlier in the month.
Writing two tribute columns in one month brought a lot of tears, but really helped focus my emotions and start to heal.
Thanks for the kind words and notes I received after those columns. They helped, too.
In early October, I wrote that Tyler Sweet, head pro and general manager at SunLand Golf & Country Club in Sequim, had qualified for the biggest club pro tournament in the world, the National PGA Club Professional Championship June 22-25, 2014, in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Sweet finished seventh out of 56 golfers and just five strokes out of first place at the three-day Pacific Northwest Section PGA Professional Championship at Meadow Springs Country Club in Richland.
He and 312 other PGA pros will be competing for 20 spots in the 2014 PGA Championship — yep, that PGA Championship — at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.
Go get 'em Tyler!
November saw the final days in charge of two North Olympic Peninsula golf institutions by two head pros that had themselves become North Olympic Peninsula golf institutions.
Chris Repass of Peninsula Golf Club in Port Angeles and Mike Early of Port Townsend Golf Club, both moved on to new horizons, operating Veterans Memorial Golf Course together back in their hometown of Walla Walla.
Walla Walla is the only place either Repass or Early would have considered for a move, and everything broke correctly for the two to help continue rehabilitating the municipal course, which had fallen on hard times under its former leaseholder.
Best of luck to those two and a congratulations to Gabriel Tonan, Early's longtime assistant, who is now in charge of the Port Townsend course, and congratulations and welcome home to new Peninsula head man Jacob Lippold, a Sequim native.
An ESPN “Outside the Lines” report mid-month on tax breaks given to the PGA Tour's nonprofit business model raised some interesting questions.
You can read the full report online at tinyurl.com/PDN-TourGiving.
The questions arise when looking at the percentage of funds that go from these events and are given to the charities for their efforts.
As it turns out, it costs a bit of money to put on these events and some events raise very little or in some case lose money.
I think the report was a little overblown, the PGA can still say that $130 million was generated in charitable giving in 2012.
Would we rather not have the PGA Tour partner with these charities? Of course not.
A little more scrimping and saving by tournament organizers on the bottom line and remembering that the beneficiaries of the charitable efforts are the real winners would be a nice way to blunt this report.
Golf columnist Michael Carman can be reached at 360-417-3527 or firstname.lastname@example.org.