Mickelson Gearing Up for Masters

By Associated PressMarch 29, 2006, 5:00 pm
BellSouth ClassicDULUTH, Ga. -- Phil Mickelson enjoys using the BellSouth Classic to prepare for the Masters the following week.
 
This is his last chance.
 
Mickelson, a two-time BellSouth Classic winner, says the tournament helped prepare him to win the 2004 Masters -- his first title in a major. But this will be the eighth and final year the BellSouth Classic, which begins Thursday, will be played the week before the Masters.
 
The tournament at the TPC at Sugarloaf moves to May next year as it searches for better weather. But with the move the tournament in this Atlanta suburb loses the appeal of playing so close to the Masters in dates and location.
 
'It's set up just perfectly,' Mickelson said Wednesday when asked about the tournament as practice for the Masters.
 
'It's great for the guys that came here to get ready for Augusta,' he said.
 
Chris DiMarco, who has three top-10 BellSouth finishes, said 'the weather will be better for sure' in May. But he said players will lose 'a great tuneup for Augusta.'
 
'Green speeds are very similar,' DiMarco said. 'It's always a great tuneup and I always look forward to playing in Atlanta.'
 
Mickelson said he spent Monday and Tuesday playing the Augusta National course, and he said the Duluth course is 'similar.'
 
Mickelson, who won the 2005 BellSouth in a playoff, doesn't know if he will follow the tournament to its new slot in May.
 
The Houston Open will be played the week before the 2007 Masters.
 
Mickelson said he would not play in Houston next year because the Houston course 'is nothing like what's here in Atlanta and what BellSouth does for this tournament to make it as close to Augusta conditions as possible.'
 
'I will end up not playing the week before the Masters,' he said. 'I'll have to find another way to get ready.'
 
Mickelson tied for 14th in The Players Championship last week.
 
'I feel as though this year I have started to play consistent golf, but I have to get over that hump a little bit,' he said. 'This week will be a good test for me to see if I'm improving.'
 
The BellSouth has been hounded by bad weather. The tournament has enjoyed four consecutive good weather days only twice during the last seven years.
 
Morning fog reduced Wednesday's pro-am to a 9-hole event, but that may be the only weather issue of the week. The forecast is unusually good for the rest of the week.
 
Last year the first two rounds of the tournament were rained out. The third round was played in 30-degree wind chills, snow and sleet.
 
Eight of the top 20 PGA TOUR money winners are in the BellSouth field.
 
Rory Sabbatini, the PGA TOUR's 2006 leader with earnings of more than $2.2 million, will join Mickelson as one of the tournament favorites.
 
Other earnings leaders in the field: No. 4 David Toms, No. 8 Luke Donald, No. 9 Arron Oberholser, No. 12 Retief Goosen, No. 17 Davis Love III, No. 18 Jose Maria Olazabal and Mickelson, at No. 20.
 
Donald and Olazabal were 4 under in Wednesday's 9-hole pro-am. Mickelson was 1 under.
 
Olazabal was one of four golfers who joined Mickelson in last year's playoff. The other three -- Brandt Jobe, Arjun Atwal and Rich Beem -- also return this year.
 
Mickelson also won the BellSouth Classic in 2000, another year bad weather limited the tournament to 54 holes.
 
'Having to play all 72 is going to be a challenge,' Mickelson said with a laugh.
 
Notes:
DiMarco missed The Players Championship last week with sore ribs following a fall while skiing. He said he is fully recovered. ... European Tour star Colin Montgomerie withdrew from the field Tuesday, choosing to prepare for the Masters by working out in private, according to his manager. Montgomerie missed the cut last week at The Players Championship.
 
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  • Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

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

    In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

    "It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’


    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.

    “That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

    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.

    The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

    Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

    Lexi Thompson:

    Baking time!!

    A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

    David Feherty:

    Jack Nicklaus:

    GC Tiger Tracker:

    Steve Stricker:

    Golf Channel:

    Frank Nobilo:

    Ian Poulter:

    Tyrone Van Aswegen:

    Happy Thanksgiving: Biggest turkeys of 2017

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 23, 2017, 3:00 pm

    Thanksgiving brings us golf's biggest turkeys of the year. Donald Trump, Grayson Murray and a certain (now-former) tournament director headline the list. Click here or on the image below to check out all the turkeys.

    Tributes pour in for legendary caddie Sheridan

    By Randall MellNovember 23, 2017, 2:54 pm

    Tributes are pouring in as golf celebrates the life of Greg Sheridan after receiving news of his passing.

    Sheridan, a long-time LPGA caddie who worked for some of the game’s all-time greats, including Kathy Whitworth and Beth Daniel, died Wednesday in Indian Rocks Beach, Fla., at 63. He was diagnosed in July 2016 with brain and lung cancer.

    Sheridan worked the last dozen years or so with Natalie Gulbis, who expressed her grief in an Instagram post on Wednesday:

    “Greg…I miss you so much already and it hasn’t even been a day. 15+ seasons traveling the world you carried me & my bag through the highs and lows of golf and life. You were so much more than my teammate on the course…Thank you.”

    Sheridan was on Whitworth’s bag for the last of her LPGA-record 88 titles.

    “When I first came on tour, I would try to find out how many times Greg won,” Gulbis told Golfweek. “It’s a crazy number, like 50.”

    Matthew Galloway, a caddie and friend to Sheridan, summed up Sheridan’s impressive reach after caddying with him one year at the LPGA Founders Cup, where the game’s pioneers are honored.

    “Best Greg story,” Galloway tweeted on Thanksgiving morning, “coming up 18 at PHX all the founders were in their chairs. Greg goes, `Yep, caddied for her, her and her.’ Legend.”

    In a first-person column for Golf Magazine last year, Gulbis focused on Sheridan while writing about the special bond between players and caddies. She wrote that she won the “looper lottery” when she first hired Sheridan in ’04.

    “Greg and I have traveled the world, and today he is like family,” Gulbis wrote. “Sometimes, he’s a psychologist. Last year, my mom got sick and it was a distraction, but he was great. When I used to have boyfriend issues and breakup issues, he was my confidant. In a world where caddies sometimes spill secrets, Greg has kept a respectful silence, and I can’t thank him enough for that. He’s an extension of me.”

    Four months after Gulbis wrote the column, Sheridan was diagnosed with cancer.

    “The LPGA family is saddened to hear of the loss of long-time tour caddie, Greg Sheridan,” the LPGA tweeted. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and players he walked with down the fairways. #RIP.”

    Dean Herden was among the legion of caddies saddened by the news.

    “Greg was a great guy who I respected a lot and taught me some great things over the years,” Herden texted to GolfChannel.com.

    Here are some of heartfelt messages that are rolling across Twitter:

    Retired LPGA great Annika Sorenstam:

    LPGA commissioner Mike Whan in a retweet of Gulbis:

    Golf Channel reporter and former tour player Jerry Foltz:

    Christina Kim:

    LPGA caddie Shaun Clews:

    LPGA caddie Jonny Scott:

    LPGA caddie Kevin Casas:

    LPGA pro Jennie Lee: