Mickelson glad to be back for Colonial

By Associated PressMay 26, 2010, 9:50 pm

FORT WORTH, Texas – Phil Mickelson is finally back at the Colonial, two years after winning there and now with a chance to express appreciation to a pink-swathed community that embraced his family from afar a year ago.

Mickelson wasn’t at “Hogan’s Alley” to defend his title last May after finding out that his wife had breast cancer, yet they were in everyone’s thoughts. The tournament held a “Pink Out” during the third round to honor Amy Mickelson and raise awareness of the disease.

“They were out their defending champion, and yet they went out of their way to show one of the nicest gestures I’ve seen,” Mickelson said Wednesday. “So there is certainly an emotional loyalty on my part toward Colonial.”

When Mickelson won the Masters last month, his wife was behind the 18th green with their three children to share in the victory. That is the only time Amy Mickelson has been at a golf course since her diagnosis last year.

Amy Mickelson will not be at Colonial this week, when most players and tournament officials are expected to wear pink for another “Pink Out” on Saturday.

“Last week, Amy and I commiserated over our one-year anniversary and this event really helped us get through some tough times,” Mickelson said. “It meant a lot to us and gave us a huge emotional boost at a very difficult time for us. We will always remember that and be appreciative of that.”

Phil and Amy Mickelson after 2010 Masters
Phil Mickelson celebrates with his wife Amy and family after his three-stroke victory after winning the 2010 Masters (Getty Images)
Amid the emotional aspects of returning to Colonial, Mickelson also has a chance this week to overtake Tiger Woods as the No. 1 player in the world rankings. Mickelson will take over top spot for the first time in his career if he wins his third championship plaid jacket at the Colonial.

“It would be something very special. But to accomplish that, I can’t focus on that,” he said. “I still need to go out and play like the No. 1 player in the world.”

Then asked if he was surprised that he has never topped the world ranking, Mickelson responded, “I would say 13 of those years were in Tiger years. It hasn’t been the easiest.”

Aside from his appreciation for the support the people at Colonial showed, Mickelson – whose cap and wristband featured pink ribbons – wasn’t interested in talking about what he was going through at this time last year.

“I don’t really want to go back there. … That was a tough time,” he said. “I’m happy that we are a year down the road and that long-term things are good, and that I am able to come back and enjoy this event.”

Mickelson is playing for the first time since tying for 17th at The Players Championship three weeks ago. He was the runner-up at Quail Hollow in his only other tournament since the Masters.

While Mickelson’s return is getting most of the attention, the defending champ is Steve Stricker, who is preparing to play his first tournament in six weeks. He has been out since after the Masters because of a chest injury that required rest and therapy.

“There is still some tightness or stiffness to it, a twinge here and there. But it was going to be a hard decision to stay home this week and give it another week of rest,” Stricker said. “I don’t know if it’s totally healed yet, but I’m swinging without any pain.”

Stricker won here last year with a birdie on the second playoff hole after tying Tim Clark and Steve Marino at 17-under through 72 holes. Clark blew a two-stroke lead over the final five holes before the playoff.

But Clark no longer holds the distinction of being one of the best players to have never won on the PGA Tour. The South African is playing for the first time since winning this year’s Players Championship – after more than eight years and 204 tournaments on golf’s toughest circuit.

Jason Day became a first-time PGA Tour winner last week at the Byron Nelson Championship. The Australian, who now calls Fort Worth home and plays out of Colonial, has a chance to become the only player other than Ben Hogan in 1946 to win both Dallas-Fort Worth tournaments the same year.

But the field will be much tougher this week. With Mickelson, Stricker, Jim Furyk, Ian Poulter and Paul Casey, the Colonial boasts five of the top eight players in the world. The highest-ranked player at the Nelson was Hunter Mahan, who was 17th.

Mickelson won the 2008 Colonial by one stroke after a miracle birdie on the final hole, making a 9-foot putt after his 140-yard wedge shot from heavy rough went under one tree and over another, the ball clipping branches while headed sky-high. He had to jog through the trees just to see the ball fall on the green.

“He is almost the defending champion as well this week. I thought it was the greatest feel-good story in golf when he won at the Masters, and seeing Amy there,” Stricker said. “I think he is going to be tough to beat here, too. I think he will be coming back here with his game in shape and winning here a couple of years ago, obviously he’s got some good vibes, too.”

The Colonial is sponsored by Crowne Plaza.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.