Mickelson Grabs Share of US Open Lead

By Associated PressJune 17, 2006, 4:00 pm
U.S. OpenMAMARONECK, N.Y. -- The yardage book Phil Mickelson keeps in his pocket is filled with copious notes from nearly a dozen practice rounds at Winged Foot that have prepared him for this U.S. Open.
 
The way he surged into a share of the lead Saturday, it looked like he borrowed a page from Tiger Woods, the man he's trying to catch in the record book.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson has his sights set on a third straight major championship.
One by one, the leaders collapsed in a series of miscues that sent them tumbling down the leaderboard. Mickelson marched along with his best golf of the tournament, hitting the last five fairways and giving himself a birdie putt on the last eight holes.
 
And when a torturous day at Winged Foot was in the books, Mickelson shot a 1-under 69 and was on the verge of joining Woods in a small chapter of golf history as the only players to win three straight majors on the schedule.
 
All that stands in the way is 18 holes and an unheralded Englishman, Kenneth Ferrie, whose three-putt bogey from the fringe on the 18th hole gave him a 71 and dropped him into a tie with Mickelson at 2-over 212, the seventh time in the last 11 rounds at a major that Lefty was atop the leaderboard.

Woods, of course, can't do anything about it because he missed the cut.
 
Mickelson sat next to the U.S. Open trophy in a television interview. It was close enough to touch, but he kept his hands to himself.
 
'I've got one round to go, 18 holes, and there's a lot of guys right there, a lot of good players that are making pars and fighting, just like I'm trying to do,' Mickelson said. 'I'm not thinking about those past tournaments. I'm trying to just play one more good round.'
 
It was the first time the 54-hole lead was over par at the U.S. Open since 1974, known as the 'Massacre of Winged Foot,' when Tom Watson led at 3-over 213 and Hale Irwin wound up winning at 7-over 287. That was the year Winged Foot got its reputation as one wicked test of golf, and it sure lived up its reputation on this steamy Saturday.
 
'One time a year, we get tested like this. And I love it,' Mickelson said. 'I love being tested at the highest level of the most difficult and sometimes ridiculous golf course setups we'll ever see. I love it because I get to find out where my game is at, where my head is at, and it really challenges me as a player.'
 
As for the challengers on the course?
 
Ferrie is a 37-year-old playing only his fourth major, and his first U.S. Open. He was surprisingly steady except for a flew blips on the back nine, when he took bogey from the bunker on the par-3 13th and ran his birdie putt from the fringe on the 18th some 6 feet past the hole, missing the par attempt badly.
 
'I just heard Phil saying that it's kind of the biggest test in golf of every part of your game,' Ferrie said. 'So far I've ... I wouldn't say passed yet, but I'm well on my way to getting a decent grade.'
 
Geoff Ogilvy of Australia, who won the Accenture Match Play Championship in February, made two straight bogeys on the back to wreck an otherwise solid round, finishing with a 2-over 72 that left him one shot out of the lead.
 
The group at 5-over 215 all had their moments, good and bad.
 
-- Three-time major winner Vijay Singh had to scramble for bogey on the 13th and holed a 30-foot par putt late to secure a 70.
 
-- Ian Poulter of England had a chip roll back to his feet from short of the 18th, making bogey to spoil his round of 70. He only has three shots to make up, far less daunting than last year's British Open, when he started the last round nine shots behind Woods and made up only one.
 
'I'm knocking on the door, and I feel very, very happy,' Poulter said.
 
-- Steve Stricker held on to his tenuous lead for eight holes until he started missing fairways and limped home to a 76.
 
-- Colin Montgomerie dropped five shots on his first four holes, then steadied himself for a 75 that kept alive faint hopes of a first major championship.
 
'That was a disaster,' Monty said of his start. 'Five over to finish was a hell of an effort. I pat myself on the back tonight. The last 14 holes were good.'
 
The last hole was awful for Padraig Harrington.
 
The Irishman needed a birdie to catch Mickelson, but made a mess of it. He barely made contact out of the deep rough, moving the ball only about 15 yards into the fairway. Once he got out of a greenside bunker, he three-putted for a triple bogey that sent him spiraling down the leaderboard with a 74, in the group at 6-over 216 with Mike Weir (71) and Jim Furyk (74).
 
Weir hit what he thought was his best shot on the 18th, only to see it roll off the green and into a bunker. From there, he blasted over the green and couldn't get up and down, ending with a double bogey.
 
Mickelson was immune to such struggles on the back nine.
 
He holed a 6-foot birdie putt on the 14th hole and a slippery 15-footer on the 16th that sent the New York gallery into a frenzy, one of the few times all day they had reason to unleash their unbridled support of their beloved Lefty. Mickelson's 10-foot birdie try on the 18th ran 5 feet by the cup, but he made that for par and walked off the green with a tip of the cap.

Ten players were separated by four shots, with four of them having won majors. But the focus is squarely on Mickelson.
 
'Somebody told me today on the course I was 'the man,'' Ferrie said. 'I guess Phil is a bigger man.'
 
New Yorkers fell in love with Lefty at Bethpage Black when he was a sympathetic figure in a losing battle with Woods at the 2002 U.S. Open. He broke their hearts two years later at Shinnecock Hills, tied for the lead until a double bogey on the 71st hole. Even after his breakthrough at the 2004 Masters, the connection between Mickelson and New York was strong.
 
Now, he has a chance to give them something to really cheer.
 
'He's got the opportunity of doing what Tiger did, winning three majors in a row,' Montgomerie said. 'That's a big feat.'
 
Mickelson climbed into the lead the way Woods has done so many times, and he credits his play to having studied Winged Foot as if he were cramming for a major exam.
 
'I have notes on every shot, from drive to iron to putt to chip,' Mickelson said. 'Knowing where I can and can't go and how the slopes can help me or hurt me, that's allowed me to hang in there and make par, par, par and occasionally birdie.'
 
It has put him atop the leaderboard with one round to go, and Woods nowhere to be found except in the record books.
 
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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.