Well, have you emerged spluttering and wheezing from the debris of Snowmaggedon yet? What a palaver.

The thing that stuck in this scribe’s mind during all the recent snowy shenanigans was the sheer glumness of folk’s faces as they peered forlornly at great swathes of empty shelves in the shops.

It got to the point where you actually thought some panic-stricken customers would just buy the ruddy shelf in their desperation to stock up. I’ve never eaten grilled shelf for tea before but, amid the barren wastelands of the local mini-market that would’ve made Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard resemble a medieval banquet, presumably this is what people were going to devour.

A slab of garnished shelf was probably more palatable than the grisly dregs of unappetising microwaveable swill that was left languishing in the grim recesses of the frozen aisle. Cordon Bleu? Some of the stuff being hastily hurled into message baskets should have been cordoned off.

At least we got to gorge ourselves on a wonderful feast of golf at the weekend as swashbuckling Phil Mickelson gave us plenty of food for thought during one of the most captivating days of the season so far.

While Michelle Wie claimed her first LPGA crown since 2014 in Singapore, good old Phil bridged a title gap that extended back to his shimmering Open conquest in 2013 with an extraordinary win in the WGC-Mexico Championship.

With the emerging Indian force of Shubhankar Sharma stumbling on the final round of what could have been a historic day for him, and the super Justin Thomas almost nabbing his ninth PGA Tour win with a dazzling final-hole eagle, Sunday’s showpiece had more tales than a Jackanory box set.

Mickelson, at a sprightly 47, would be the story, though. Fittingly, the Royal & Ancient game’s great showman took the prize and the plaudits on the night they were dishing out the Oscars.

Golf’s have-a-go-hero has been galvanised and Sunday’s blockbuster epitomised Mickelson’s majesty and unwavering competitive longevity. He simply loves the thrill of the chase and a man in his late forties going toe-to-toe with the thrusting twenty-somethings summed up the magical, unique allure of this game for all the ages. Few sports could serve up a duel like that.

In an era of one-dimensional, bomb-and-gouge golf, Mickelson’s sense of adventure, artistry and cavalier recklessness remains a joy to behold as he courts risk and reward with a fearless disregard that used to be adopted by Evel Knievel when he accelerated towards a row of buses.

He hit spectators with wayward clatters here and explored a variety of uncharted terrains with wildly intrepid dunts there but all the time there was that trademark goofy grin, some terrific scrambling salvage operations and a relentless succession of cheery, thumbs-up signals that would’ve given the Fonz a repetitive strain injury.

You wouldn’t guess it with the weather recently but spring is in the air and the whiff of Augusta gets stronger. Having posted three top-six finishes in three events prior to becoming the oldest winner of a WGC event, Mickelson’s name, quite rightly, is the talk of the bookies looking towards next month’s Masters. With three green jackets already, there are not many players more suited to Augusta.

It’s now 32 years since the 46-year-old Jack Nicklaus won the last of his 18 majors in the 1986 Masters. Twenty years ago, in 1998, the Golden Bear made a rousing run at it again and finished in a share of sixth at the age of 58. The increasing years are certainly no barrier to success in this game.

Watching Mickelson win again in his roaring forties will probably have stoked 42-year-old Tiger Woods’ slowly burning fires that little bit more.

Mickelson’s win was a triumph for creativity and daring. When you’re drinking the celebratory champagne, it doesn’t matter how you get the cork out of the bottle and Lefty will keep doing it his way. Golf is all the better for that.


The rise of Indian 21-year-old Sharma Shubhankar has been quite something. He’s won twice already this season, is No 1 on the European Tour and led on his debut in the WGC Mexico Championship after 54-holes.

A couple of months ago, he finished 69th at the tour’s qualifying school and missed out on a full card. Scottish 22-year-old, Connor Syme, was well ahead of him in 11th place.

The canny Fifer kick-started his year with a tie for 11th in the Tshwane Open on Sunday but Shubhankar’s emergence once again highlights the daunting standards our young players have to reach in a global game of formidable strength in depth.