Mickelson Cautiously Optimistic at FBR

By Associated PressFebruary 1, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 FBR OpenSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson loves the FBR Open, and the feeling is mutual.
 
He used to live in Scottsdale, and the rowdy crowds that flood the Tournament Players Championship Course still consider him one of their own. Mickelson won the tournament twice, in 1996 and last year, when he tied the course record with an 11-under-par 60 in the second round.
 
It was his best 18-hole score and, he said, the best round of his life.
 
'This is one of my favorite weeks,' Mickelson said Wednesday before his pro-am round. 'There's a feeling we get at this course, with this many people, that we don't get anywhere else. It's pretty cool to have a chance to have won it now a couple of times.'
 
Mickelson and Vijay Singh lead a field that will begin play Thursday on the par-71, 7,216-yard course. Tiger Woods hasn't played in the event since 2001. He reportedly is getting $3 million to play in this week's Dubai Desert Classic.
 
So Mickelson is everybody's favorite in a tournament he hopes will kick-start his season, just as it did last year. Mickelson had an erratic final round to finish two shots behind Woods, Jose Maria Olazabal and Nathan Green at last weekend's Buick Invitational. Woods won the tournament in a playoff.
 
'I've had a couple of chances but haven't really played very well,' Mickelson said. 'But I've been able to get the ball in the hole and get in contention.'
 
He said he's made a few adjustments after talking with instructors Rick Smith and Dave Pelz.
 
'I think I may have ironed out a few things,' Mickelson said. 'I went out and played yesterday, and it seemed to be a little bit better, so I'm cautiously optimistic about playing well this week.'
 
The left-hander's big drives should bounce even farther on the dry fairways.
 
The Phoenix area has gone a record 105 days without rain, and sunshine with temperatures in the mid to high 70s is forecast through the weekend. Sprinklers can do only so much to soften the terrain.
 
'It will be a matter of guys trying to hit driver, trying to knock it on the surface of (the par-5) 17, trying to have short irons or mid irons into the par 5s. I think the weather will be a big factor,' Mickelson said.
 
Booming shots should mean shrinking scores, unlike last year, when wind played havoc with the first round.
 
'The first day was brutal,' Mickelson recalled. 'Balls were rolling off the greens, and yet we still played, and you just tried to hang in there, and then when the wind died down, turn it on and try to make some birdies.
 
'This week I think it's going to be more of a shootout. It looks like it's going to be beautiful weather. I think we're going to see a lot of low scores.
 
Mickelson has earned $1.6 million at the FBR Open, formerly known as the Phoenix Open. That's more than any other golfer. This year's winner gets $936,000.
 
Some golfers don't like the raucous atmosphere on the north Scottsdale course, where a crowd of 165,168 was reported for last year's third round. The atmosphere is especially unusual on the par-3 16th hole, where the crowd surrounds the entire hole like a football stadium, cheering boisterously and singing the college fight songs of some of the golfers. They even boo bad shots.
 
Camilo Villegas, the 24-year-old Colombian given a sponsor's exemption to compete, said he can't wait.
 
'I've heard many stories, and I'm looking forward to that 16th tee,' Villegas said. 'Hopefully I'll hit it on the green. I don't want any boos.'
 
Related Links:
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    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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    Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

    The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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