Mickelson Stays on Top Furyk Fades

By Associated PressFebruary 10, 2007, 5:00 pm
2007 AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-AmPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. --The conditions were the toughest Phil Mickelson has faced in eight months, a day of survival when it was important to keep the ball in play and keep big numbers off the scorecard.
 
That's the kind of language often used at the U.S. Open.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is looking for his first PGA TOUR win since last year's Masters. (WireImage)
This was only the wet, cold, windy and miserable Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, where patience is tested not because of 6-inch rough but six-hour rounds. The similarity Saturday was Mickelson tied for the lead going into the final round, the first time he's been in that position since last summer at Winged Foot.
 
All he has to do now is write a better ending, although redemption didn't even cross his mind.
 
'I don't really think in those terms,' Mickelson said. 'I would like to get off to a good start this year, and I love playing this tournament, having won it a couple of times. It would be nice to get momentum on the West Coast.'
 
Mickelson made only two small errors at Spyglass Hill and shot a 2-under 70, putting him at 14-under 202. He was tied with Kevin Sutherland, who birdied the last hole at Poppy Hills and also found himself in a familiar spot.
 
It was the second time in three weeks he birdied the last hole to get into the final round. And it was the second time all the focus was on somebody else. He had Tiger Woods in the group ahead of him at Torrey Pines. Now he gets Mickelson at his side at Pebble Beach.
 
'That's to be expected,' Sutherland said. 'I'm playing well right now. I'm shooting scores that I should be shooting given the way I'm playing, so I feel good about tomorrow.'
 
John Mallinger, a 27-year-old rookie, had a 68 at Poppy and was one shot behind.
 
Mickelson is perfecting his swing by the day, and what helped this week was the perfect rotation of courses. He played Pebble Beach on Friday, the only day the wind didn't blow much, and shot 67.
 
Sutherland opened with a 72 at Pebble Beach on Thursday and rallied at Spyglass and Poppy.
 
Jim Furyk had to take on rain that fell sideways in 20 mph gusts at Pebble Beach on Saturday, and it was costly. He hit a fairway metal for his second shot on the par-4 10th over the cliffs and took double bogey, and wound up with a 76, six shots behind.
 
'A tough day to be at Pebble,' he said. 'I could have done a lot better job. I have a lot of work to do tomorrow.'
 
More 'Crosby' weather was in the forecast for Sunday, and that was OK with Mickelson. While he has started slowly this year after a four-month layoff, he is most pleased with the ease in hitting draws, fade and low, piercing tee shots.
 
The key if the weather gets bad is to drive the ball well,' he said. 'You have to put the ball in place because from the rough or the bunkers, you're just fighting for par the whole time. I'm actually really excited about my chances. I've been driving it better than I think I ever have, and I'm excited about putting it to the test here.'
 
Aiding his chances are the limited number of contenders.
 
The 42-year-old Sutherland plays his best golf in his native California, but his only PGA TOUR victory came five years ago down the coast at La Costa in the Accenture Match Play Championship.
 
He was one shot out of the lead going into the last round at the Buick Invitational, but closed with a 74 and tied for 14th.
 
Mallinger, making only his eighth career start on the PGA TOUR and his fourth this year, made his first bogey of the week by missing a 3-foot par putt on his 15th hole, then went birdie-bogey-birdie to give himself a chance.
 
Some big names are atop the leaderboard, but they have a lot of ground to cover.
 
Davis Love III shot 70 at Spyglass and Corey Pavin shot 67 at Pebble Beach. They were tied for fourth at 9-under 207. Vijay Singh was poised to move a little closer to the top until hitting a tee shot into the ocean, another shot over the corporate boxes on the 18th at Pebble Beach and making double bogey to shoot 71. He was eight shots behind, along with Tom Watson, who had a 72 at Spyglass.
 
Furyk knew what he was in for when he arrived on the putting green and the wind was already rustling through the Monterey pines. Once he got out to the six holes along the Pacific, the flags were bending at a 90-degree angle and trouble was waiting on every miss.
 
He didn't miss many, except for the putts. Furyk hit the ball so clean that he gave himself birdie putts inside 18 feet five times in the first seven holes, finally converting after hitting a 7-iron from 106 yards on the downhill seventh.
 
Furyk was even par, two shots behind, when he hit a pedestrian drive on the 451-yard 10th and had a 3-wood left into a strong wind coming into him and off the ocean on the right. It hung over the cliffs and stayed there, dropping into a sandy area next to a fence. He wound up with double bogey, then dropped two more shots as the weather got worse.
 
Divots
Bill Murray gave tournament director Ollie Nutt a scare on the first tee. He asked for quiet, then informed the gallery that this would be his last appearance in the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. After setting up over his ball, he looked back up and added, 'As an amateur.' Then he ripped one down the middle as the crowd roared. ... The celebrity presence at the AT&T was best defined by a marshal on the 14th fairway. There was laughter and cheering ahead on the 15th tee, and he was asked who was in the group ahead. 'Kevin Costner, Don Cheadle and ... I'm not sure who the other two guys are,' he said. Those would have been the PGA TOUR players, Dean Wilson and D.J. Trahan. OK, so they're not household names, but still. ... Tom Watson is eight shots behind, but still happy over one goal -- he and son Michael made the pro-am cut and are tied for second.
 
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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

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
    Getty Images

    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.