Butch Harmon not pulling for Mickelson or Watney

By Associated PressMarch 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
2007 WGC CA ChampionshipDORAL, Fla. ' Butch Harmon was a busy man Saturday in the WGC-CA Championship.
 
He is working at Doral as a television analyst for Sky Sports, which was kind enough to allow him extra time Saturday to work with a couple of his clients, who just happened to be in the final group.
 
One of them was Phil Mickelson, one of the most famous names in golf.
 
The other was Nick Watney.
 
They go into the final round of the World Golf Championship in a share of the lead.
 
All you can do is prepare them to play, Harmon said. Its not about whos going to win and whos not going to win. You hope they come down to the last hole tied and one of them holes a putt to win.
 
This is not the first time Harmon has had to split time with his stable of golfers.
 
In the Accenture Match Play Championship final in 2000, he was working with Tiger Woods and Darren Clarke. After they finished the morning round and went out to the range to warm up, Clarke yelled down the range to Harmon, who was working with Woods, Hey Butchy, I dont need you. Im hitting it perfect.
 
Clarke went on to win the match.
 
Two weeks ago, Harmon had to watch clients face each other in consecutive rounds at the Match Play ' Stewart Cink beating Mickelson, then Cink defeating Ernie Els.
 
Harmon said he spent most of the offseason teaching Watney not to have such a strong grip, and Watney was thrilled to see that pay off at Torrey Pines when he hit a high fade into the par-5 18th green, which led to a birdie and his one-shot victory.
 
Im honored to be working with him, Watney said. He is, in my opinion, the best in the world.
 
Mickelson said he has finished making changes to his swing with Harmon, and now it is a matter of keeping everything in order.
 
We have been able to do two things now'take the right side out of play, but also take the left side out of play, Mickelson said. That has been the real key.
 
Harmon said he devoted 20 minutes to Mickelson and 10 minutes to Watney on the range Saturday.
 
Mickelson said it was more one-sided in his favor.
 
Nick does the 25-minute pre-round warm-up, Mickelson said. So he hits all of 11 shots before he goes and plays. He requires about 90 seconds from Butch, and Ill end up taking the other however many minutes.
 

 
KIM AND TIGER: One peculiar statistic that is sure to change the longer Anthony Kim plays is that he has never finished ahead of Tiger Woods in a tournament. Kim only joined the tour two years ago, and the WGC-CA Championship is the 13th time they have been in the same tournament.
 
Doral might not be the place to change that trend. Woods shot a 68 on Saturday and was at 7-under 209, putting him three shots ahead of Kim going into the last day.
 
Kim wasnt pleased with his round, but he patiently made his way through a long line of fans signing autographs, one earphone in to listen to music, the other out to listen to the fans.
 
Anthony, youre my favorite player, one of them said to him.
 
You might want to find someone else, the way I played today, Kim replied with a grin.
 
Kim has not played consecutive PGA Tour events this year, and will take next week off. But his plan is to play Bay Hill and Houston before going to Augusta National for the first time.
 

 
IN THE LEAD: Only twice in the nine years of this World Golf Championship has someone come from behind to win. Then again, Tiger Woods has won this event six times, and he hardly ever gives up a 54-hole lead.
 
The exceptions?
 
Hidemichi Tanaka had a one-shot lead over Mike Weir and Mark Calcavecchia at Valderrama in 2000, and Weir rallied to win. And in 2005 at Harding Park in San Francisco, John Daly had a one-shot lead over Colin Montgomerie. Woods rallied to force a playoff with Daly and beat him on the second extra hole.
 

 
DIVOTS: Tiger Woods return to golf was perfect timing for NBC Sports, which began its PGA Tour coverage at the Accenture Match Play Championship. But it hasnt worked out all that well. Woods was eliminated on Thursday in Arizona, and when NBC began its weekend coverage at Doral, Woods was on the 14th green. The network got him for an hour. Azuma Yano was the only player to make bogey on the par-5 opening hole, which played downwind. The average score was 4.101, the same average as two par 4s on the front nine, and easier than the two par 4s on the back nine. Soren Hansen had the low round of the day, shooting 29 on the back for a 64.
 
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    Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

    By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

    Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.

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    Rahm (62) fires career low round

    By Will GrayJanuary 19, 2018, 12:03 am

    The scores were predictably low during the opening round of the CareerBuilder Challenge, where the top-ranked player in the field currently sits atop the standings. Here's how things look after the first day in Palm Springs as Jon Rahm is out to an early advantage:

    Leaderboard: Jon Rahm (-10), Austin Cook (-9), Andrew Landry (-9), Jason Kokrak (-9), Brandon Harkins (-8), Martin Piller (-8), Aaron Wise (-8), Beau Hossler (-8)

    What it means: Rahm is coming off a runner-up finish two weeks ago at Kapalua, and he picked up right where he left off with a 10-under 62 at La Quinta Country Club. It marked his lowest career round on the PGA Tour, and it gave him a one-shot lead heading to the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Cook is the only player within two shots of Rahm who has won already on Tour.

    Round of the day: Rahm got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under, and he made it around La Quinta without dropping a shot. The 62 bettered his previous career low on Tour by two shots and it included an eagle on the par-5 fifth hole to go along with eight birdies.

    Best of the rest: Cook was a winner earlier this season at the RSM Classic, and he's now in the mix for trophy No. 2 following a 9-under 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course. Like Rahm, he opened with a seven-hole stretch at 6 under and turned in a scorecard without a bogey. He'll now head to the more difficult Stadium Course for his second round.

    Biggest disappointment: Patrick Reed blitzed the three-course rotation in Palm Springs en route to his first career Tour title back in 2014, but he's unlikely to repeat that feat after opening with a 2-over 74 on the Nicklaus Tournament course. Reed made only one birdie against three bogeys and was one of only 32 players in the 156-man field who failed to break par in the opening round.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Rahm deserves the spotlight, as he entered the week as one of the event's headliners and did nothing to lose that billing in the opening round. But the pack of contenders is sure to keep pace, while players like Phil Mickelson (-2) will look to put up a low score in order to build some momentum heading into the weekend.

    Shot of the day: Wesley Bryan's 7-under 65 on the Nicklaus Tournament course was helped in large part by an eagle on the par-4 10th, where he holed a 54-degree wedge from 112 yards away. Bryan went on to birdie the next hole amid a five-hole stretch of 5 under play.

    Quote of the day: "Shot 10 under par. There's not much more I can ask for." - Rahm

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    Recent winner Cook contending at CareerBuilder

    By Will GrayJanuary 18, 2018, 11:45 pm

    Patton Kizzire is currently the only two-time PGA Tour winner this season, but Austin Cook hopes to join him this week at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    Cook won for the first time in November at the RSM Classic, a victory that catapaulted him from the Web.com Tour graduate category into an entirely new echelon. Cook notched a pair of top-25 finishes over the last two weeks in Hawaii, and he's again in the mix after an opening 63 on the Nicklaus Tournament Course left him one shot behind Jon Rahm.

    "Today was great," Cook told reporters. "The conditions were perfect, but I always loved desert golf and I was just hitting the ball well and seeing good lines on the greens and hitting good putts."

    Cook got off to a fast start, playing his first seven holes in 6 under highlighted by an eagle on the par-5 fourth hole. He briefly entertained the notion of a sub-60 round after birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 before closing with six pars and a birdie.


    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    Cook was a relative unknown before his victory at Sea Island earlier this season, but now with the flexibility and confidence afforded by a win he hopes to build on his burgeoning momentum this week in California.

    "That was a big, proud moment for myself, knowing that I can finish a tournament," Cook said. "I think it was one of those things that I've proven to myself that now I can do it, and it just meant the world to me."

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    Photo: Fleetwood's phone cover is picture of Bjorn

    By Jason CrookJanuary 18, 2018, 11:40 pm

    There's phone covers and then there are Phone Covers.

    Paul Casey has himself a Phone Cover, showing off the protective case that features a picture of his wife at last year's U.S. Open.

    Now, it appears, Tommy Fleetwood has joined the movement.

    Fleetwood, last year's season-long Race to Dubai winner, has a phone cover with a picture of Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn on it. And not even a current Thomas Bjorn. This is a young Bjorn. A hair-having Bjorn.

    @tommyfleetwood_1

    A post shared by Alex Noren (@alexnoren1) on

    The 26-year-old is a virtual lock for this year's European Ryder Cup team, but just in case, he's carrying around a phone with a picture of the team captain attached to the back of it.

    It's a bold strategy, Cotton. Let's see if it pays off for him.