John Daly Phil Mickelson return to PGA Tour for St Jude

By Associated PressJune 11, 2009, 4:00 pm
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. ' John Daly is trying to restart his PGA Tour career after a six-month suspension. Phil Mickelson hopes to tune up for the U.S. Open and gain a piece of normalcy since his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer.
 
Theres a strong field that includes Henrik Stenson in his first appearance since winning the Players Championship, Sergio Garcia, Padraig Harrington, Retief Goosen and Camilo Villegas. Justin Leonards back defending his title and eager to win his third since 2005 at the TPC at Southwind.
 
More than enough story lines for any PGA Tour event. The timing couldnt be better at the St. Jude Classic with Thursdays opening round finally turning attention to golf for a tournament that erased its title sponsor in March and whose purse was trimmed late last week.
 
So here I am, Mickelson said with a voice that revealed the emotions he has been dealing with over the three weeks since announcing his wife Amys diagnosis.
 
This is only Mickelsons second trip to this tournament, and he missed the cut here in 2001. That was before a course redesign that tightened par by a stroke to 70.
 
Leonard had to go to the second hole of a playoff to win a year ago after tying for a 4-under par 276 that was this courses highest winning score since the event moved to the TPC at Southwind in 1989. Only 12 finished under par in 2008, and two holes ranked among the toughest 37 on tour for the year. The par-4 12th, with its lake down the right fairway, was eighth stingiest.
 
Mickelson acknowledged he didnt know how this course will help him prepare for Bethpage Black in New York next week.
 
But for me, I just need to get back to competition. I missed a couple of events. I havent played in five or six weeks. I need to get a little bit in a competitive frame of mind if I expect to have any chance next week, Mickelson said.
 
Mickelson comes in as the worlds No. 2 ranked player, a two-time winner already on tour this year. But his last event was the Players Championship where he tied for 55th. Then came the diagnosis. He scrapped his schedule until tests on his 38-year-old wife pushed surgery to the first week of July.
 
A year of treatment will follow. So Mickelson decided to play in Memphis as preparation for the U.S. Open in a state where he hasnt finished worse than fourth and an event where he has finished second four times. His family will stay away from New York before a vacation, then the surgery.
 
Mickelson got a practice round in at Bethpage Black on Tuesday. He feels fortunate to be able to play in the U.S. Open, a tournament he is on a quest to win.
 
Im looking forward to have a four- or five-hour mental break where I force myself to focus on something else. Im looking forward to that, Mickelson said.
 
Daly is back thanks to a sponsors exemption and looking trimmer than in his last PGA start thanks to lap-band surgery that has helped him lose 61 pounds. He has added a sponsor, is working on his game and seems to understand that hes running out of time to see how good he might be with the Champions Tour looming in the 43-year-olds future.
 
Golf is my life. I mean its the only thing Ive been able to do to provide for my family, for myself. I just want to be more serious about it. I want to prepare myself more. I dont think its a last chance. I think Im giving myself a chance to be the best player that I can be, and to me, thats all that matters, he said.
 
Memphis has been home to Daly for about 20 years, so he remains a big draw here. His fellow golfers are happy to have him back and eager to see what he can do.
 
Tim Herron, one of the first people who called Daly after news of his suspension, is paired with him. Herron also talked briefly with Daly on the putting green here Tuesday.
 
People still love him, fans especially. People are still talking about John, which is good. So hes still good for the Tour, good for the community, Herron said.
 

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  • Day, Spieth chasing Davis after Day 1 of Aussie Open

    By Jason CrookNovember 23, 2017, 6:50 am

    The PGA Tour is off this week but a couple of the circuit’s biggest stars – Jordan Spieth and Jason Day – are headlining the Emirates Australian Open, the first event in The Open Qualifying Series for the 2018 Open at Carnoustie. Here's how things look after the opening round, where Cameron Davis has opened up a two-shot lead:

    Leaderboard: Cameron Davis (-8), Taylor MacDonald (-6), Nick Cullen (-5), Jason Day (-5), Brian Campbell (-4), Lucas Herbert (-4), Stephen Leaney (-4), Anthony Quayle (-4)

    What it means: Jordan Spieth has won this event three of the last four years, including last year, but he got off to a rocky start on Thursday. Playing in the windy afternoon wave, the world No. 2 bogeyed his first two holes but rebounded with birdies on Nos. 4 and 5. It was more of the same the rest of the way as the 24-year-old carded three more bogeys and four birdies, getting into the clubhouse with a 1-under 70. While it certainly wasn't the start he was hoping for, Spieth didn't shoot himself out of the tournament with 54 holes left to play, he has plenty of time to claw his way up the leaderboard.

    Round of the day: With Round 1 in the books, the solo leader, Davis, is the easy pick here. The 22-year-old Aussie who turned pro last year, came out of the gates on fire, birdieing six of his first seven holes, including four in a row on Nos. 4 through 7. He did drop a shot on the ninth hole to go out in 30 but rebounded with three more birdies on the back to card a 8-under 63. Davis, who was born in Sydney and played this year on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada. He will attempt to get his Web.com Tour card next month during qualifying in Arizona.

    Best of the rest: Making his first start in his home country in four years, Day started on the 10th hole at The Australian Golf Club and made four birdies to one bogey on the back side before adding four more circles after making the turn. Unfortunately for the 30-year-old, he also added an ugly double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole and had to settle for a 5-under 66, good enough to sit T-3. Day, who has dropped to No. 12 in the world rankings, is looking for his first win on any tour since the 2016 Players Championship.

    Main storyline heading into Friday: Can the upstart 22-year-old Davis hold off the star power chasing him or will he fold to the pressure of major champions in his rearview mirror? Day (afternoon) and Spieth (morning) are once again on opposite ends of the draw on Friday as they try to improve their position before the weekend.

    Shot of the day: It’s tough to beat an ace in this category, and we had one of those on Thursday from Australian Brad Shilton. Shilton’s hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole came with a special prize, a $16k watch.

    Quote of the day: “Just two bad holes. Pretty much just two bad swings for the day,” – Day, after his 66 on Thursday. 

    Watch: Shilton wins $16k timepiece with hole-in-one

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 2:50 am

    Australian Brad Shilton made a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole during the first round of the Australian Open, and he was rewarded handsomely for his efforts - with a Tag Heuer watch worth $16k.

    Day gets in early mix with 66 in return to Australia

    By Associated PressNovember 23, 2017, 2:32 am

    SYDNEY - Jason Day's first tournament round in Australia in four years was a 5-under 66 to put him among the leaders early Thursday at the Australian Open.

    Day's round came unhinged late with a double-bogey 6 on the par-4 eighth hole, his second-last of the day. He hit his tee shot into the trees on the left, hit back out to the fairway, missed his approach to the green and then couldn't get up and down.

    ''That was brutal,'' Day said of the 481-yard hole that played into gusting winds.

    But Day recovered quickly to birdie his last to sit three strokes behind fellow Australian and early leader Cameron Davis, who started on the first, had six front-nine birdies and shot 63 at The Australian Golf Club.

    In between the two was Australian Taylor MacDonald, who shot 65.

    ''It was a pretty solid round, I didn't miss many fairways, I didn't miss many greens,'' Day said. ''I'd give myself a seven or eight out of 10.''

    Defending champion Jordan Spieth, attempting to win the Australian Open for the third time in four years, was off to a poor start among the afternoon players, bogeying his first two holes.

    The Sydney-born Davis played most of this season on the Mackenzie Tour in Canada and will attempt to secure his Web.com card in the final round of qualifying from Dec. 7-10 in Chandler, Arizona.

    ''Everything went to plan,'' Davis said. ''I got off to a great start. I was hitting my spots and was able to keep it together on the back nine.''

    NOTES: Australian Brad Shilton had the first ace of the tournament, using a 5-iron for a hole-in-one on the par-3, 188-yard 11th hole, his second hole of the day. Australian veteran Geoff Ogilvy, the 2006 U.S. Open winner, shot 69. He and Rod Pampling (68) played the first round with Day.

    Day: Woods feeling good, hitting it long

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 22, 2017, 9:33 pm

    Jason Day says Tiger Woods told him he feels better than he has in three years, which is good news for Woods a week ahead of his return to the PGA Tour at the Hero World Challenge.

    Day, a fellow Nike endorser, was asked about Woods during his news conference at the Emirates Australian Open on Wednesday. "I did talk to him," Day said, per a report in the Sydney Morning Herald,"and he did say it's the best he's ever felt in three years'" Day said.

    "He doesn't wake up with pain anymore, which is great. I said to him, 'Look, it's great to be one of the best players ever to live, but health is one thing that we all take for granted and if you can't live a happy, healthy life, then that's difficult.'"

    The Hero World Challenge will be played Nov. 30-Dec. 3 in the Bahamas and broadcast on Golf Channel and NBC.

    Day, who has had his own health issues, said he could empathize with Woods.

    "I totally understand where he's coming from, because sometimes I wake up in the morning and it takes me 10 minutes to get out of bed, and for him to be in pain for three years is very frustrating."

    Woods has not played since February after undergoing surgery following a recurrence of back problems.

    "From what I see on Instagram and what he's been telling me, he says he's ready and I'm hoping that he is, because from what I hear, he's hitting it very long," Day said.

    "And if he's hitting it long and straight, then that's going to be tough for us because it is Tiger Woods. He's always been a clutch putter and in amongst the best and it will be interesting to see.

    "There's no pressure. I think it's a 17- or 18-man field, there's no cut, he's playing at a tournament where last year I think he had the most birdies at."