Mickelson WDs With Wrist Injury

By Associated PressMay 31, 2007, 4:00 pm
DUBLIN, Ohio -- Phil Mickelson's grin was gone, replaced by a look of concern as he stood behind the ninth tee Thursday with his left hand extended while a massage therapist rubbed and pressed deeply into and around his left wrist.
 
Three holes later, Mickelson shook hands with his playing partners and headed for the clubhouse at Muirfield Village.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson gets therapy on his left wrist before withdrawing. (WireImage)
The question is whether his momentum going into the U.S. Open went with him.
 
Mickelson, coming off a victory two weeks ago at The Players Championship, withdrew from the Memorial with an injury to his left wrist that he suspects happened while practicing out of the deep rough at Oakmont this week.
 
'I think it happened at Oakmont,' he told rules official Jon Brendle as they rode to the clubhouse in a cart, with Mickelson's wife sitting on his lap, and Shiatsu massage therapist Jim Weathers riding on the back.
 
'I don't think it's anything serious,' Mickelson said. 'I just can't put any pressure ... or grip the club.'
 
The timing could not have been worse.
 
Other than a skiing accident in 1994 when Mickelson slammed into a tree and broke his leg, the three-time major champion has never been seriously injured. He began working with celebrated swing coach Butch Harmon a month ago, then followed two third-place finishes with a victory at The Players against the strongest field in golf.
 
The extent of the injury has not been determined.
 
'I'm not really worried -- yet,' Mickelson said. 'It's never happened before, so I'm not really sure what to think of it.'
 
He plans to see a doctor on Friday.
 
Mickelson said he aggravated his left wrist while chipping out of the rough at Oakmont, where the U.S. Open will be played in two weeks. He took four pain pills Thursday morning and felt fine, and he was particularly pleased with how he hit the ball on the range.
 
Everything changed on the second hole, when Mickelson hit a wedge from 137 yards, and pain shot up his arm.
 
'It got really aggravated,' he said.
 
He played on, rubbing his wrist after almost every shot. It stung again after a 5-iron on the par-3 fourth, and while he was 2 under through six holes, the pain increased.
 
'He was holding his wrist all day,' Ryan Palmer said, who played with Mickelson and J.B. Holmes. 'He was holding a lot of shots.'
 
Woods was not surprised to hear that it might have happened at Oakmont, especially considering how much time Mickelson pours into his practice rounds at major venues.
 
'U.S. Open rough is pretty thick,' Woods said. 'You can do it. You can overdo it, definitely. If you hit a lot of shots out of there ... the wrist is pretty fragile. All he needs to do is just get one little tweak and that's it.'
 
Weathers, a former Green Beret with massive biceps, has PGA Tour credentials as a trainer. His business card describes him as a motivational speaker, flexologist and a master of Shiatsu, a massage therapy similar to acupuncture, using fingers instead of needles. He showed up on the ninth tee and went to work.
 
'I heard him say that the wrist felt jammed,' Palmer said.
 
Mickelson used his teeth to take the glove off his right hand to putt, and he debated pulling out after nine holes. But he played on, even after pulling his tee shot on the 10th.
 
'It's a little better,' he said to Weathers. 'It's bearable.'
 
'What if we have to hit out of the rough?' caddie Jim 'Bones' Mackay said to him.
 
Mickelson shrugged.
 
'We're about to find out,' he said.
 
He hit a 210-yard shot from the rough over the back of the green and saved par. But he was done on the 11th. After a hybrid club off the tee, he laid up on the par 5 into a divot. Mickelson had only 100 yards to the hole, but wound up in the bunker.
 
'The wedge shot on 11 out of the divot jarred it pretty good,' he said. 'And I just didn't feel like I could hit a shot on 12.'
 
Mickelson said he 'half-clubbed it around,' taking easy swings to keep the ball in play. But as much as he wants to join an impressive list of winners at the Memorial, he is more concerned with the U.S. Open, where he is a four-time runner-up.
 
'The U.S. Open is more what we're gearing up for,' he said. 'As much as I'd like to play here and as excited as I was to play here and get back into the swing of it, I couldn't swing.'
 
Mickelson had planned to play next week in Memphis, and said he would still like to get in another tournament before the U.S. Open if his wrist will allow him to play.
 
The only other time Mickelson has withdrawn from a tournament was the 2004 Las Vegas Invitational because of food poisoning.
 
'Bones said he's never been injured and he has a high tolerance for pain,' Palmer said. 'I was looking forward to it because I'd never played with him. It was fun. But he made the right move. You don't want to risk that with the U.S. Open coming up.'
 
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    McIlroy gets back on track

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 21, 2018, 3:10 pm

    There’s only one way to view Rory McIlroy’s performance at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship:

    He is well ahead of schedule.

    Sure, McIlroy is probably disappointed that he couldn’t chase down Ross Fisher (and then Tommy Fleetwood) on the final day at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. But against a recent backdrop of injuries and apathy, his tie for third was a resounding success. He reasserted himself, quickly, and emerged 100 percent healthy.

    “Overall, I’m happy,” he said after finishing at 18-under 270, four back of Fleetwood. “I saw some really, really positive signs. My attitude, patience and comfort level were really good all week.”

    To fully appreciate McIlroy’s auspicious 2018 debut, consider his state of disarray just four months ago. He was newly married. Nursing a rib injury. Breaking in new equipment. Testing another caddie. His only constant was change. “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place,” he said, “and that was because of where I was physically.”

    And so he hit the reset button, taking the longest sabbatical of his career, a three-and-a-half-month break that was as much psychological as physical. He healed his body and met with a dietician, packing five pounds of muscle onto his already cut frame. He dialed in his TaylorMade equipment, shoring up a putting stroke and wedge game that was shockingly poor for a player of his caliber. Perhaps most importantly, he cleared his cluttered mind, cruising around Italy with wife Erica in a 1950s Mercedes convertible.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    After an intense buildup to his season debut, McIlroy was curious about the true state of his game, about how he’d stack up when he finally put a scorecard in his hand. It didn’t take him long to find out. 

    Playing the first two rounds alongside Dustin Johnson – the undisputed world No. 1 who was fresh off a blowout victory at Kapalua – McIlroy beat him by a shot. Despite a 103-day competitive layoff, he played bogey-free for 52 holes. And he put himself in position to win, trailing by one heading into the final round. Though Fleetwood blew away the field with a back-nine 30 to defend his title, McIlroy collected his eighth top-5 in his last nine appearances in Abu Dhabi.

    “I know it’s only three months,” he said, “but things change, and I felt like maybe I needed a couple of weeks to get back into the thought process that you need to get into for competitive golf. I got into that pretty quickly this week, so that was the most pleasing thing.”

    The sense of relief afterward was palpable. McIlroy is entering his 11th full year as a pro, and deep down he likely realizes 2018 is shaping up as his most important yet.

    The former Boy Wonder is all grown up, and his main challengers now are a freakish athlete (DJ) and a trio of players under 25 (Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm) who don’t lack for motivation or confidence. The landscape has changed significantly since McIlroy’s last major victory, in August 2014, and the only way he’ll be able to return to world No. 1 is to produce a sustained period of exceptional golf, like the rest of the game’s elite. (Based on average points, McIlroy, now ranked 11th, is closer to the bottom of the rankings, No. 1928, than to Johnson.)

    But after years of near-constant turmoil, McIlroy, 28, finally seems ready to pursue that goal again. He is planning the heaviest workload of his career – as many as 30 events, including seven more starts before the Masters – and appears refreshed and reenergized, perhaps because this year, for the first time in a while, he is playing without distractions.

    Not his relationships or his health. Not his equipment or his caddie or his off-course dealings.

    Everything in his life is lined up.

    Drama tends to follow one of the sport’s most captivating characters, but for now he can just play golf – lots and lots of golf. How liberating.

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    Crocker among quartet of Open qualifiers in Singapore

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 2:20 pm

    Former amateur standout Sean Crocker was among four players who qualified for the 147th Open via top-12 finishes this week at the Asian Tour's SMBC Singapore Open as part of the Open Qualifying Series.

    Crocker had a strong college career at USC before turning pro late last year. The 21-year-old received an invitation into this event shortly thereafter, and he made the most of his appearance with a T-6 finish to net his first career major championship berth.

    There were four spots available to those not otherwise exempt among the top 12 in Singapore, but winner Sergio Garcia and runners-up Shaun Norris and Satoshi Kodaira had already booked their tickets for Carnoustie. That meant that Thailand's Danthai Boonma and Jazz Janewattanond both qualified thanks to T-4 finishes.


    Full-field scores from the Singapore Open


    Crocker nabbed the third available qualifying spot, while the final berth went to Australia's Lucas Herbert. Herbert entered the week ranked No. 274 in the world and was the highest-ranked of the three otherwise unqualified players who ended the week in a tie for eighth.

    The next event in the Open Qualifying Series will be in Japan at the Mizuno Open in May, when four more spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs. The 147th Open will be held July 19-22 in Carnoustie, Scotland.

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    Got a second? Fisher a bridesmaid again

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:40 pm

    Ross Fisher is in the midst of a career resurgence - he just doesn't have the hardware to prove it.

    Fisher entered the final round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship with a share of the lead, and as he made the turn he appeared in position to claim his first European Tour victory since March 2014. But he slowed just as Tommy Fleetwood caught fire, and when the final putt fell Fisher ended up alone in second place, two shots behind his fellow Englishman.

    It continues a promising trend for Fisher, who at age 37 now has 14 career runner-up finishes and three in his last six starts dating back to October. He was edged by Tyrrell Hatton both at the Italian Open and the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in the fall, and now has amassed nine worldwide top-10 finishes since March.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Fisher took a big step toward ending his winless drought with an eagle on the par-5 second followed by a pair of birdies, and he stood five shots clear of Fleetwood with only nine holes to go. But while Fleetwood played Nos. 10-15 in 4 under, Fisher played the same stretch in 2 over and was unable to eagle the closing hole to force a playoff.

    While Fisher remains in search of an elusive trophy, his world ranking has benefited from his recent play. The veteran was ranked outside the top 100 in the world as recently as September 2016, but his Abu Dhabi runner-up result is expected to move him inside the top 30 when the new rankings are published.

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    McIlroy (T-3) notches another Abu Dhabi close call

    By Will GrayJanuary 21, 2018, 1:08 pm

    Rory McIlroy's trend of doing everything but hoist the trophy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship is alive and well.

    Making his first start since early October, McIlroy showed few signs of rust en route to a tie for third. Amid gusty winds, he closed with a 2-under 70 to finish the week at 18 under, four shots behind Tommy Fleetwood who rallied to win this event for the second consecutive year.

    The result continues a remarkable trend for the Ulsterman, who has now finished third or better seven of the last eight years in Abu Dhabi - all while never winning the tournament. That stretch includes four runner-up finishes and now two straight T-3 results.


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    McIlroy is entering off a disappointing 2017 in which he was injured in his first start and missed two chunks of time while trying to regain his health. He has laid out an ambitious early-season schedule, one that will include a trip to Dubai next week and eight worldwide tournament starts before he heads to the Masters.

    McIlroy started the final round one shot off the lead, and he remained in contention after two birdies over his first four holes. But a bogey on No. 6 slowed his momentum, and McIlroy wasn't able to make a back-nine birdie until the closing hole, at which point the title was out of reach.