Mickelson benefits from Quail Hollow setup

By Associated PressMay 1, 2009, 4:00 pm
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. ' The theory had been tossed around for the past couple of days: Quail Hollows rough was set at only 2 inches to help the power players and big names, like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
I hope so, Mickelson said, laughing. That would be great.
The trade off, though, is much firmer greens than in years past. And Mickelsons four-putt on the tricky 17th green cost him chance for a great round. He settled for a 1-under 71, which left him at 6 under, two behind co-leaders Bubba Watson and Retief Goosen and a shot behind Woods.
2009 Quail Hollow
Phil Mickelson isn't convinced that the Quail Hollow course is friendly for big-hitters like himself. (Getty Images)

I left my first putt short on 17. I was fearing rolling it eight, 10 feet by and I left it five feet short, Mickelson said.
Mickelson then rolled the next putt by the hole and it rolled nearly 12 feet past the hole.
There wasnt anything to stop it, Mickelson said. I probably should have made that 7-, 8-footer coming back, but I just didnt hit a good one.
Mickelson is a fan of the short rough, saying it leads to creativity with recovery shots. But he insisted the course is not completely set up for the big hitters and big names because its difficult to keep the ball from running through the firm fairways.
Im having to hit a lot of 3-woods and 4-woods off tees, Mickelson said. Im playing my approach shots from the same spots that many of the shorter players would play from.
BUBBAS CONCENTRATION: Bubba Watson shot 30 on the front nine on Friday en route to a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead.
Imagine how well the long-hitter would do if he could concentrate.
My mind just wanders, Watson said. Im thinking about what shoes Im going to buy, I need to wash my car. Im thinking about stuff that doesnt matter because were out there for so long.
Watson said one time his caddie, Ted Scott, had to interrupt a conversation about what course theyre going to play later this month in Ohio.
Hes like, Shut up, lets talk about this putt right now, Watson said.
Staying focused has been a lifelong struggle for Watson, who said he didnt listen in school, either. But hes resisted seeking if he perhaps has attention deficit disorder.
I think its just a crutch, Watson said. My dad is from the military, Green Beret Special Forces. He said thats a crutch. Doctors are crutches, so youve got to figure out how to do it on your own.
Ranked 80th on the money list and still looking for his first PGA Tour victory, Watson said his caddie has helped him stay focused and not get down after a bad shot. His round on Friday included an eagle on the first hole.
And for the record, Watson needs to buy tennis shoes and has a white car with black rims that he hasnt washed in four months. He wouldnt reveal the golf course in Ohio.
Because all my fans might come and chase me down, Watson said, grinning.
CABRERA CUT: Angel Cabreras first tournament since the Masters ended early. He joined Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Vijay Singh on the list of prominent players to miss the cut.
Cabrera shot 70 on Thursday, but he struggled to a 76 on Friday that included a 41 on the front nine to close his round. Cabrera double-bogeyed the seventh hole when he hit two shots into the water.
Singh won at Quail Hollow in 2005 and had been the only player make the cut in the first six years of the tournament. But Singh wasnt close this time in another poor week in a disappointing season.
After opening with a 4-over 76, Singh shot 74 on Friday to miss the cut by six shots. He has yet to post a top-10 finish in nine events this year thats included four missed cuts.
Harrington was at 4 under with two holes to go on Thursday before finishing triple bogey-double bogey. He didnt recover Friday, shooting 75.
Garcia followed Thursdays 71 with a 6-over 78. It included a stretch of four straight bogeys that will prevent him from erasing the ugly memories of blowing a 6-shot final-round lead four years ago.
JOHNSONS SOUR FINISH: Zach Johnson was flirting with the course record of 64 until the Green Mile and the swirling wind kept him from second-day lead.
Johnson, playing in an early group, approached the difficult closing three holes at 8-under for the day. But as the wind picked up he finished with three consecutive bogeys for a 67 that left him 7 under and one shot out of the lead.
Its upsetting, very disappointing, but at the same time I cant be too upset, said Johnson, who won the Sony Open in January. I did a lot of good things.
The 2007 Masters champion had birdied seven of the past eight holes as he walked to the 16th tee.
His 7-iron approach shot at 16 sailed in the wind, landed over the green he couldnt get up and down.
The wind caught his tee shot on the 17th, leaving him short of the hole and again he couldnt save par.
Johnson then three-putted 18, but still finished with only his second sub-70 round in 16 attempts at Quail Hollow.
Youve got to find what you think is the wind, Johnson said. And thats what I did ' at least it felt like it. You just commit to your shots and try to execute.
BOB HOPE CLASSIC: With news that Chrysler has filed for bankruptcy protection, the PGA Tour said Friday that the Bob Hope Classic in the California desert will be played next year and beyond.
Chrysler has been the title sponsor of the Hope since 1986, but it asked to have its name removed during the TV broadcast and some signage to avoid attention on the ailing auto industry.
The foundation that has been built over the last 50 years provides solid financial footing for the Desert Classic Charities group to continue the strong traditions of the Bob Hope Classic, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.
Desert Classic Charities, Inc., runs the tournament.
The tour said the tournament has raised more than $50 million for charities in the Coachella Valley, with most of that money going to the Eisenhower Medical Center.
DIVOTS: Robert Karlsson shot 69 to move within three of the lead in a rare non-major American appearance for the Swede. He asked for a commissioners exemption. I love this event, said Karlsson, who missed the cut at the Masters. I played here in 2007 and for me this is one of the top events. Brad Faxon (1 under) made just his second cut in his first full season back from knee surgery. John Rollins hit his drive into the water on 18 before recovering to hole an 80-foot putt for par ' and make the cut by a stroke.
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  • Trump playing 'quickly' with Tiger, DJ

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 24, 2017, 1:33 pm

    Updated at 11:14 a.m. ET

    An Instagram user known as hwalks posted photos to her account that included images of Tiger Woods, President Trump and Dustin Johnson Friday at Trump National, as well as video of Woods' swing.

    Original story:

    Tiger Woods is scheduled to make his return to competition next week at his Hero World Challenge. But first, a (quick) round with the President.

    President Donald Trump tweeted on Friday that he was going to play at Trump National Golf Club in Jupiter, Fla., alongside Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Woods and President Trump previously played last December. Trump, who, according to trumpgolfcount.com has played 75 rounds since taking over the presidency, has also played over the last year with Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els and Hideki Matsuyama.

    Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

    By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

    HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

    Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

    ''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

    Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

    Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

    Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

    ''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

    Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

    Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

    ''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

    Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

    By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

    Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

    Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

    What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

    Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

    Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

    Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

    Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

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    Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

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    Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

    Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

    “Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

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    Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.