Notes McIlroy Mickelson have nice chat round

By Associated PressAugust 6, 2010, 2:31 am

WGC-Bridgestone - 125wAKRON, Ohio – Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson, a future superstar and a current one, were paired in Thursday’s opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

It was a big hit with the fans, and especially with the two players.

After McIlroy completed a 2-under 68 and Mickelson finished off a 66, they were already looking forward to playing together again on Friday. 

“Every time I’ve played with Phil, I’ve enjoyed it,” said McIlroy, the 21-year-old phenom from Northern Ireland. “I think we enjoy each other’s company. We chatted pretty much the whole way around. It’s nice, especially when you’re out in a two-ball. It’s nice to have a playing partner that you can talk to and have a little bit of a chat.”

Mickelson felt the same way.

“I do enjoy playing with Rory,” he said. “He’s fun, he’s interesting, he’s a smart guy. So we always have intelligent conversation. He’s really got a great demeanor – always upbeat, great to be around, not to mention his talent. I do enjoy playing with him and we get to play together again tomorrow.”

The two discussed building projects, of all things. Both are in the process of constructing new practice facilities at their homes and were comparing notes throughout the round on different designs, grasses and greens.

Mickelson was 2 over throught his first six holes and 1 over though 10. But he birdied five of the last eight holes to pull into a tie for second, two shots back of Bubba Watson.

The highlight came at the par-4 6th. He hit 300 yard drive, but overcooked his 170-yard second shot, leaving himself with a difficult, short-sided flop shot from 50 feet.

“I needed to get that up and down to maintain some momentum,” Mickelson said later. “I was only 1-under par and I was trying to keep it just a couple under. And when that lob shot went in the hole, it gave me a nice boost.”

McIlroy raved about the shot.

“That was one of the best shots I’ve seen this year,” he said.

Mickelson grinned when he was told that.

“Well, it was a good one,” said the dramatic winner of the Masters. “There were some at Augusta that I kind of remember a little more fondly than Thursday here at Akron. But it was a good one.”


BEST MOVE: Tiger Woods had a dreadful day, shooting a 74, but after making a 7-foot birdie putt at the 17th hole he bowed and tipped his cap – in two directions.


TWO THUMBS UP: A change in tee times at the Bridgestone Invitational made a big difference. Instead of playing off both tees in groups of threes, the PGA Tour decided to send players off in twosomes.

“We just figured we would try it and thought it would work,” said Slugger White, vice president of rules and competition.

There were 10 groups of two that started on each nine, morning and afternoon, and among other things it kept more players on the course at the same time for the gallery.

“It fills the golf course which helps the spectators, so they’re not sitting around for an hour waiting on someone to come through,” White said. “And the pace has been good.”

Players much prefer twosomes over threesomes for the pace of the round.

White said the tour might try this at the World Golf Championship at Doral, where the field size (81 at Firestone) is about the same. The only holdup for Florida in March, however, is that it gets dark around 6:30 p.m. In Ohio in August, they can play until almost 9 p.m.

“If you like playing in 3 hours, 40 minutes, it was perfect,” Adam Scott said after his 66. “The field is small enough that we should be able to do it.”


BUBBA VS.: Bubba Watson took the last two weeks off, playing only five holes of golf. But he kept plenty busy.

He shot an episode of “Inside The PGA Tour,” giving viewers a look into his life. He also spent time playing with family and friends on a lake in North Carolina.

Oh, and he also filmed a segment of “Shaq Vs.” in which the NBA’s gentle giant tests himself against other athletes.

“He’s not very good at golf (but) Shaq actually impressed me,” said Watson, the first-round leader of the Bridgestone Invitational after shooting a 6-under 64. “Shaq is an athlete; he just happens to be 7-foot-2, 300 pounds of pure muscle. His feel on the greens wasn’t very good, but for the first five holes he’s ever played, he impressed me.”

Watson wouldn’t disclose the outcome of the alternate-shot match pitting Shaq and Anthony Kim against Watson and Charles Barkley.

He did reveal something that wasn’t really a secret.

“Charles Barkley is not very good at golf,” he cracked to loud laughter.


TRYING TO BE INVISIBLE: Firestone Country Club head pro David Champagne was a marker for Sweden’s Henrik Stenson.

“My goal was to stay out of his way,” Champagne said.

Stenson struggled to a 79; Champagne was three strokes better.


SHORTER DRIVER: Mickelson was playing with a reconfigured Callaway driver. At the urging of his coach, Butch Harmon, Mickelson had the shaft of his driver shortened to 44 inches and made heavier by 20 grams.

“I seemed to hit the ball a little bit straighter with it,” said Mickelson, who hit 8 of 14 fairways and averaged 310 yards on his measured drives.


DIVOTS: Watson’s 64 matched the lowest round ever by a playing making his debut at the Bridgestone (Ben Curtis in 2003). … No player has ever won the Bridgestone in his first appearance. … International players have won the year’s first two World Golf Championship events (Ian Poulter in the Match Play and Ernie Els in the CA Championship). … Anthony Kim, making his first appearance after a three-month layoff following left thumb surgery, shot a 77. … Woods’ 74 was his highest score ever in a competitive round at Firestone Country Club. The previous worst was a 72.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.