Mickelson Charge Fades Late

By Associated PressAugust 13, 2004, 4:00 pm
04 PGA ChampionshipHAVEN, Wis. --Of all the punishment that Pete Dye built into Whistling Straits, he kept it mercifully free of water hazards. After all, he already had a little thing called Lake Michigan running the length of the course and bordering eight different holes.
Then there's the fifth hole, a 598-yard par 5 called the 'Snake' for the way it weaves between two ponds on a double dogleg to the green. And that was enough water to sink Phil Mickelson's charge up the leaderboard in the second round of the PGA Championship on Friday.
'I shot 3 under on the front nine and felt like I was playing very well,' he said after losing four strokes in four holes to make a 72 for the day and head into the weekend at 3 under. 'I could just feel the putter getting a little cold.'
Mickelson was 3 under for the day - minus-6 for the tournament - and sitting on a nice stretch of the fifth fairway where it runs away from the galleries, leaving the golfers alone with their thoughts. An intermittent rain had picked up, and Mickelson took shelter under an umbrella while he waited for the putting surface to clear.
Aiming for the pin that was tucked 20 feet back and to the right of the green, Mickelson splashed his second shot into the water. He put his fourth shot about 20 feet from the hole, then three-putted from there for a double-bogey 7.
Suddenly, instead of yelling 'You da man!' and 'Go, Phil!' the fans were shouting consolation cheers like, 'We still love you,' and 'Phil, you have a beautiful family!'
On the par-4 sixth hole, Mickelson drove into the left rough but put his second shot 6 feet from the hole; his birdie putt slid by the lip and he settled for par. On the seventh, a 221-yard par 3, he left himself on the lower edge of the green, with two ridges between him and the hole; he missed an 8-footer to save par.
No. 8 is a 507-yard par 4 and Mickelson left his second shot short and to the right of the green, closer to Lake Michigan than the pin. He pitched to 50 feet and left himself 2 feet short on his par putt to drop to 2 under.
Only a 20-foot putt for birdie on No. 9, his last hole of the day, allowed him to bring some optimism into the third round.
'It was nice to finish by making a putt, because the eight holes previous to that were not very good for me,' he said. 'I had a lot of chances. I could have had a very low day, a really good day and I let it slide.'
Having begun 2004 best known as the best player without a major victory, Mickelson guaranteed himself a good year when he won the Masters. He then finished second in the U.S. Open and third at the British Open, putting him in position to become the first player to finish in the top three in all four majors in one year.
Even better, he gave himself a chance for a second major when he shot 69 in the PGA's first round. Then he birdied his first hole out on Friday, the 10th, and picked up a pair of strokes on Nos. 15-16 to move onto the leaderboard at 6 under.
But the front nine was a different story.
He had 32 putts in the round - 19 of them after making the turn - with three putts apiece on Nos. 5 and 7. After hitting six of seven fairways on the back nine, he hit just three of seven on the front, and on two of those he wound up failing to make the green in regulation, anyway.
To Mickelson, the problem wasn't the strokes he lost to the water but the ones he lost on the greens.
'I knew I would play well before I teed off. I felt very sharp,' said Mickelson, who banged in a series of putts on the practice green before getting an emphatic handshake and sendoff from short-game guru Dave Pelz. 'For an eight-hole stretch the putter just didn't cooperate. I really gave a lot of shots away there.'
Mickelson went to the clubhouse five strokes behind Briny Baird, who was 8 under heading into the cut, and keeping his fingers crossed that the course would be more challenging as the wind picked up.
'If I can continue to get better as the week wears on and play well on Saturday and Sunday, I certainly like the position,' he said. 'But it's got to stay difficult and the wind has got to stay up. Otherwise ... I will be in a difficult spot.'
Related Links:
  • Leaderboard - PGA Championship
  • Photo Gallery - Whistling Straits
  • Full Coverage - PGA Championship
  • Course Tour - Whistling Straits
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.