The Nose

The Nose: Phil Mickelson almost goes hungry on first visit to Chambers Bay

Admit it, citizens of the 253. You’re a bunch of golf dilettantes who can’t tell a Cleveland sand wedge from a Philly sandwich. The most success you’ve ever had with a golf club was the day you brought home a blue ribbon from Parkland Putters.

For you, next week’s U. S. Open will be all about celebrity watching. What swanky private jets will they arrive in? What fancy cars will they drive? What palatial mansions will they rent? Where will their wives and girlfriends go shopping for Tacoma’s finest grass?

Check that. We meant glass.

In this celebrity-deprived backwater that we call home, the gossips and gawkers are already in full swing.

Inquiring minds want to know where Tiger Woods stayed overnight when he played Chambers Bay for the first time last week.

And where, pray tell, did Phil Mickelson eat breakfast when he practiced at the course two weeks ago?

Well, the Nose knows the answer to that last question, ladies and germs.

We sniffed out the story of Mickelson’s visit to the Spring Lake Café in Fircrest for some early morning chow May 29.

And how the owner wouldn’t let him in the door right away.

Guess who’s coming to breakfast?: Scott Clement has fed a variety of lower-level VIPs at the Spring Lake Café since he opened it in 2002 — Mariners coaches, for instance, and retired NFL players such as Tacoma’s Jon Kitna.

And it turns out the late Gov. Booth Gardner didn’t eat every meal at Frisko Freeze. He liked to dine at Spring Lake, too.

“In the early 2000s, he used to come in here almost every Sunday,” Scott told us. “He was a regular.”

But none of those folks can match the stature of Mickelson, the longtime world-ranked Top 10 golfer who has won 42 events on the PGA Tour.

He’s one of the most recognizable linksmen on the planet. He’ll surely be one of the most recognizable dudes in golf slacks in University Place next week, when the old geezer (he turns 45 Tuesday) shoots for the one major championship that has slipped his grasp.

But he wasn’t recognized by Scott Clement’s wife, Ivy, that morning at their restaurant.

Mickelson and one of his coaches showed up before the 8 a.m. opening time. Ivy told the vaguely familiar-looking man that she was sorry but she couldn’t let him in for another 10 or 15 minutes.

So the spurned superstar, known by sports fans everywhere as Lefty, left.

He returned a little later, McDonald’s coffee cup in hand, and joined the Friday breakfast crowd.

Customers figured out quickly who was in their midst and surreptitiously tried to snap pictures on their cellies.

Scott knew who he was, too. He’d been working in the kitchen, and he clued Ivy in on their special guest’s identity.

Mickelson looked over the menu and asked about an item called the Ivy Scramble.

“She said ‘my name is Ivy,’ he said ‘my name is Phil,’ and they shook hands,” Scott said.

But does he eat right-handed? : Mickelson ordered the taco-seasoned scrambled-egg dish named after his new friend.

And you can rest assured the man can handle a knife and fork as easily as a 2-iron.

“He loved his breakfast; he cleaned it all up,” Scott said.

Despite the earlier oversight that sent him hungry into the wild streets of Fircrest, Lefty left a tip of more than $100, Scott said.

The Spring Lake Café will be more flexible if he makes an encore appearance during the tournament next week.

“We’re kind of funny about not letting people come in early,” Scott said. “I think we’ll let him in early next time.”

A tent city is one solution for vagabond legislators who lose their hotel rooms to people in town for the U.S. Open. (AP.)

Nothing sadder than a homeless politician: As we long feared, the 2015 Legislature (Part III: The Search for Spock) will not end before the U.S. Open begins.

That means the golf-watching herds will be filling up hotel rooms they booked months ago.

And tragically, that means some electoids might have no place to lay their weary heads at night.

We say quit your whining and apply creative problem-solving ideas:

Warning to pols: Some tenants have been evicted because of the village’s sobriety rules.

Shoo, legislators, shoo! How can we miss you if you won’t go away?

Perhaps it’s time to try Tacoma’s latest vagrant deterrent.

Put out giant boulders wherever they like to gather.

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