Mickelson Has Hope Once Again

By Associated PressJanuary 25, 2004, 5:00 pm
04 Bob Hope Chrysler ClassicLA QUINTA, Calif. -- Phil Mickelson can hardly wait to tee it up again.
Mickelson birdied the first playoff hole to beat Skip Kendall in the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic on Sunday and end an 18-month winless streak.
'It's terrific. I can't wait to do it again. I want it next week,' said Mickelson, who had dropped from second to 16th in the world rankings. 'I just have so much fun when I'm playing well.
'Not having been there last year, I realize how much I missed it.'
The 2002 Hope champion, he rolled a 3-foot birdie putt into the center of the cup to win it again.
Kendall was left still looking for his first tour victory. He was runner-up for the fourth time in his career, losing three times in playoffs.
Mickelson, making his 2004 debut, closed with a 4-under 68 to match Kendall (65) at 30-under 330 in the 90-hole tournament.
After each birdied the final hole, they returned to the 18th tee to begin the playoff. Both hit their drives down the center, then Kendall pulled his second shot into the left rough beside the green on the 543-yard par 5. Mickelson's second shot went into the rough on the other side, but considerably closer to the hole.
Kendall chipped onto the putting surface, then missed his 20-foot birdie try. Mickelson's chip left him the short putt, and he confidently stroked it in to wrap up a day when he had some problems on the green.
The 39-year-old Kendall, 0-for-294 in tour events, said, 'I played my heart out. It's hard to take, but I'm glad I was there.
'I'm getting older, too, and I feel like I'm still progressing as a player. People sometimes ask me, 'Well, what's been your highlight in golf?' I say, 'Stay tuned.''
Jay Haas, 50, the 1988 tournament champion and runner-up to Mike Weir a year ago, finished third with a 67 that left him one shot behind Mickelson and Kendall.
Jonathan Kaye shot a 64 to finish fourth at 332.
Kirk Triplett, tied with Mickelson going into the final round and bogey-free in the tournament, had four bogeys and a double bogey in a 74 that left him six strokes back.
Kendall, playing in the group in front of Mickelson, and Mickelson matched similar birdies on No. 18 to force the playoff.
Both players hit their second shots about pin-high in the rough on the right adjacent to the green, then pitched within some 18 inches of the hole.
'When I made birdie, I realized that that was a pretty good spot to be, over there,' said Mickelson, whose second shot in the playoff was in almost the same spot. 'When Skip went to the left in the playoff, I knew he had a tough chip.'
Kendall, who had been the co-leader after the first round but hadn't been atop the leaderboard since, moved one shot ahead of Mickelson with a short birdie putt on No. 16 to go to 30 under, while Mickelson bogeyed No. 15.
Kendall gave it back on the next hole, when he missed a 10-foot par putt after pushing his tee shot to the right of the green.
After tinkering with his mechanics last year, Mickelson spent this winter trying to regain the form that had carried him to 21 victories and made him the world's second-ranked player.
That's 22 victories now, including an impressive 6-1 record in playoffs.
Divots: The win was the fourth of Mickelson's career in a season debut. He also won the 1991 Northern Telcom Open, as an amateur; the 1994 and 1998 Mercedes Championships, and the 2002 Hope to start off those years. ... Mickelson announced at the start of the tournament that he would donate $100 per birdie and $500 per eagle this year to a charity dedicated to funding college educations for children of military special operations personnel killed in operational or training missions. He had 37 birdies and no eagles in the Hope, so that's $3,700 for Special Operations Warrior Foundation. Mickelson made $810,000 by winning the Hope. ... The Hope becomes the only tournament to be won three years in a row by a left-hander -- Mickelson two years ago and Weir last year.
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    After Further Review: Woods wisely keeping things in perspective

    By Golf Channel DigitalMarch 19, 2018, 3:17 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On Tiger Woods' career comeback ...

    Tiger Woods seems to be the only one keeping his comeback in the proper perspective. Asked after his tie for fifth at Bay Hill whether he could ever have envisioned his game being in this shape heading into Augusta, he replied: “If you would have given me this opportunity in December and January, I would have taken it in a heartbeat.” He’s healthy. He’s been in contention. He’s had two realistic chances to win. There’s no box unchecked as he heads to the Masters, and no one, especially not Woods, could have seen that coming a few months ago. – Ryan Lavner

    On Tiger carrying momentum into API, Masters ...

    Expect Jordan Spieth to leave Austin with the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play trophy next week.

    After all, Spieth is seemingly the only top-ranked player who has yet to lift some hardware in the early part of 2018. Dustin Johnson, Jon Rahm and Justin Thomas have all gotten it done, as have Jason Day, Phil Mickelson and most recently Rory McIlroy.

    Throw in the sudden resurgence of Tiger Woods, and with two more weeks until the Masters there seem to be more azalea-laden storylines than ever before.

    A Spieth victory in Austin would certainly add fuel to that fire, but even if he comes up short the 2015 champ will certainly be a focus of attention in a few short weeks when the golf world descends upon Magnolia Lane with no shortage of players able to point to a recent victory as proof that they’re in prime position to don a green jacket. – Will Gray

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    Davies not giving up on win, HOF after close call

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 3:06 am

    PHOENIX – Laura Davies knows the odds are long now, but she won’t let go of that dream of making the LPGA Hall of Fame.

    At 54, she was emboldened by her weekend run at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup. She tied for second, five shots behind Inbee Park.

    “The more I get up there, I might have a chance of winning again,” Davies said. “I'm not saying I will ever win, but today was close. Maybe one day I can go closer.”

    Davies is a World Golf Hall of Famer, but she has been sitting just outside the qualification standard needed to get into the LPGA Hall of Fame for a long time. She needs 27 points, but she has been stuck on 25 since her last victory in 2001. A regular tour title is worth one point, a major championship is worth two points.

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Over her career, she has won 20 LPGA titles, four of them major championships. She was the tour’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996. She probably would have locked up Hall of Fame status if she hadn’t been so loyal to the Ladies European Tour, where she won 45 titles.

    Though Davies didn’t win Sunday in Phoenix, there was more than consolation in her run into contention.

    “Now people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

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    Davies impresses, but there's no catching Park

    By Randall MellMarch 19, 2018, 2:40 am

    PHOENIX – Inbee Park won the tournament.

    Laura Davies won the day.

    It was a fitting script for the Bank of Hope Founders Cup on Sunday, where nostalgia stirs the desert air in such a special way.

    Two of the game’s all-time best, LPGA Hall of Famer Inbee Park and World Golf Hall of Famer Laura Davies, put on a show with the tour’s three living founders applauding them in the end.

    Park and Davies made an event all about honoring the tour’s past while investing in its future something to savor in the moment. Founders Marilynn Smith, Shirley Spork and Marlene Hagge Vossler cheered them both.

    For Park, there was meaningful affirmation in her 18th LPGA title.

    In seven months away from the LPGA, healing up a bad back, Park confessed she wondered if she should retire. This was just her second start back. She won feeling no lingering effects from her injury.

    “I was trying to figure out if I was still good enough to win,” Park said of her long break back home in South Korea. “This proved to me I can win and play some pain-free golf.”

    At 54, Davies kept peeling away the years Sunday, one sweet swing after another. She did so after shaking some serious nerves hitting her first tee shot.

    “It’s about as nervous as I’ve ever felt,” Davies said. “I swear I nearly shanked it.”

    Davies has won 45 Ladies European Tour events and 20 LPGA titles, but she was almost 17 years removed from her last LPGA title. Still, she reached back to those times when she used to rule the game and chipped in for eagle at the second hole to steady herself.

    “It calmed me down, and I really enjoyed the day,” Davies said.

    With birdies at the ninth and 10th holes, Davies pulled from three shots down at day’s start to within one of Park, sending a buzz through all the fans who came out to root for the popular Englishwoman.

    “People were loving it,” said Tanya Paterson, Davies’ caddie. “We kept hearing, `Laura, we love you.’ It was special for Laura, showing she can still compete.”

    Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

    Davies relished giving all the young players today, who never saw how dominant she once was, some flashes from her great past.

    “Yesterday, after I had that 63, a lot of the younger girls came up and said, `Oh, great playing today,”’ Davies said. “It was nice, I suppose, to have that. I still am a decent player, and I actually used to be really good at it. Maybe that did give them a glimpse into what it used to be like.”

    She also relished showing certain fans something.

    “Now, people might stop asking me when I'm going to retire,” she said.

    Davies was the LPGA’s Rolex Player of the Year in 1996, when she won two of her four major championships. She was emboldened by the way she stood up to Sunday pressure again.

    In the end, though, there was no catching Park, who continues to amaze with her ability to win coming back from long breaks after injuries.

    Park, 29, comes back yet again looking like the player who reigned at world No. 1 for 92 weeks, won three consecutive major championships in 2013 and won the Olympic gold medal two years ago.

    “The reason that I am competing and playing is because I want to win and because I want to contend in golf tournaments,” Park said.

    After Davies and Marina Alex mounted runs to move within one shot, Park pulled away, closing ferociously. She made four birdies in a row starting at the 12th and won by five shots. Her famed putting stroke heated up, reminding today’s players how nobody can demoralize a field more with a flat stick.

    “I just felt like nothing has dropped on the front nine,” Park said. “I was just thinking to myself, `They have to drop at some point.’ And they just started dropping, dropping, dropping.”

    Yet again, Park showed her ability to win after long breaks.

    In Rio de Janeiro two years ago, Park the Olympic gold medal in her first start back after missing two months because of a ligament injury in her left thumb. She took eight months off after Rio and came back to win the HSBC Women’s World Championship last year, in just her second start upon returning.

    “I'm really happy to have a win early in the season,” Park said. “That just takes so much pressure off me.”

    And puts it on the rest of the tour if she takes her best form to the year’s first major at the ANA Inspiration in two weeks.



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    Rose: 'Never' has Rory putted as well as Bay Hill

    By Ryan LavnerMarch 19, 2018, 1:20 am

    ORLANDO, Fla. – Justin Rose didn’t need to ponder the question for very long.

    The last time Rory McIlroy putted that well was, well …?

    “Never,” Rose said with a chuckle. “Ryder Cup? He always makes it look easy when he’s playing well.”

    And the Englishman did well just to try and keep pace.

    After playing his first six holes in 4 over par, Rose battled not just to make the cut but to contend. He closed with consecutive rounds of 67, finishing in solo third, four shots back of McIlroy at the Arnold Palmer Invitational.

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    Rose said this weekend was the best he’s struck the ball all year. He just didn’t do enough to overtake McIlroy, who finished the week ranked first in strokes gained-putting and closed with a bogey-free 64.

    “Rory just played incredible golf, and it’s great to see world-class players do that,” Rose said. “It’s not great to see him make putts because he was making them against me, but when he is, he’s incredibly hard to beat. So it was fun to watch him play.”