Notes Mickelson mojo motoring along

By Associated PressMay 1, 2010, 4:14 am

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Masters champion Phil Mickelson is nearly over his stomach ailment – perhaps just in time to win his second straight tournament.

Long before Tiger Woods’ Friday afternoon meltdown left him with only his sixth missed cut in his professional career, Mickelson put together a bogey-free 4-under 68 that left him two shots behind leader Billy Mayfair at the halfway point of the Quail Hollow Championship.

Not bad for somebody who was so ill vomiting two days earlier that he had had to withdraw from the pro-am in his first event since Augusta.

“One more day of rest after we get done here, and I should be 100 percent for the weekend,” Mickelson said.

After acknowledging he tired Thursday when he finished with consecutive bogeys, Lefty got off to a quick start early Friday on the difficult back nine.

He hit a 5-iron to 8 feet for an eagle at the par-5 15th, then birdied the water-protected 17th.

“It’s a bonus because I’m not trying to make 2 on 17. It’s one of those holes like 17 at TPC Sawgrass,” Mickelson said. “You just want a 3 and move on. Today the tee was up, not too much wind, the green was soft, and I ended up hitting a good shot that slightly pushed by the hole. I ended up having a 3-footer for birdie.”

Mickelson finished his round with 10 consecutive pars, but it leaves him in good shape in an event where he hasn’t won, but has four top-10 finishes.

“This is a wonderful, fun golf course to play,” Mickelson said. “The way the course is set up right now is perfect, so I hope that it doesn’t vary too much.”

MONDAY MAYFAIR: Billy Mayfair last won in 1998 and finished a career-worst 157th on the money list last year. He had to scramble just to make it in time for the Monday qualifier for Quail Hollow.

And after two rounds he’s alone in the lead.

Mayfair followed his 65 on Monday that put him in the field with consecutive 68s that left him at 8-under and one shot ahead of Angel Cabrera.

“A lot of guys will say when they had to Monday qualify a long time ago before this was an all-exempt tour, some of the best weeks they had was when they did Monday qualify,” Mayfair said. “They were hot coming in and they just kind of kept rolling the wave. That’s what I’m going to try to do.”

The 43-year-old Mayfair’s eventful stretch began when he missed his flight to Charlotte on Sunday night after finishing 43rd in New Orleans. His wife, Tami, booked them on a 6 a.m. flight Monday that required a 3 a.m. wakeup call.

After connecting through Atlanta, Mayfair arrived in Charlotte at about noon and had a 12:45 tee time.

Mayfair is convinced the momentum from his solid round under the circumstances carried over to the tournament.

“Any time you can go out and shoot 65, which I think is my lowest round this year, it gives you confidence,” he said. “You can hit the ball as good as you want and putt as good as you want, but if you’re not shooting the numbers, the confidence isn’t there.

“I’m starting to shoot the numbers.”

Mayfair had seven birdies and needed only 26 putts for the second straight day.

TIGER NUMBERS: Tiger Woods missing the cut – by eight shots – produced plenty of rarities.

It marked just the sixth missed cut in 241 starts as a professional, and his first since the 2009 British Open. His last missed cut in a non-major was in 2005 at Walt Disney World.

His 79 was his worst round as a professional in a non-major and his two-day total of 153 was his worst as a pro.

Woods also had consecutive double-bogeys on holes 14-15. His only worse stretch as a pro was a double-bogey and triple-bogey on consecutive holes at Bay Hill in 2007.

Woods’ 43 on the back nine matched the worst of his career.

“That’s surprising,” said Anthony Kim, who was tied for 15th, five shots back. “He’s the best player in the world, still. He’s had such a long time off. I’m sure he’s disappointed, but he’ll be back.”

SURPRISING MULROY: Even die-hard PGA Tour fans probably did a double-take seeing Garth Mulroy atop the leaderboard at midday Friday.

The rookie from South Africa hadn’t made the cut in seven previous starts and was playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption. Yet after an opening-round 69, there he was at 7 under after an eagle at the 10th.

Mulroy then had six straight pars before putting two balls into the water at the par-3 17th. A triple bogey left him with a 71, but he’s tied for ninth at 4-under.

Mulroy finished 14th on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2009, which included a victory at the South Georgia Classic. He’s also spent time on the E-Golf Tour, formerly the Tarheel Tour.

DIVOTS: Former champions Sean O’Hair (72-77) and Vijay Singh (77-72) missed the cut. … The second-round leader has won six of 17 stroke-play events this year on the PGA Tour. The last second-round leader to win at Quail Hollow was Woods in 2007. … J.P. Hayes matched the course record with an 8-under 64 that left him two shots off the lead. … Parker McLachlin, who had a 12 on the seventh hole on his way to an opening 88, withdrew Friday because of a wrist injury.

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Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

 There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

“The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

“You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

When will he play again? Can he compete against the current generation of world-beaters? Can his body withstand the rigors of a full PGA Tour schedule? Should Jim Furyk make him a captain’s pick now or wait to see if he should be driving a vice captain’s golf cart instead?

Little is certain when it comes to Woods, and the over-sized question mark goes to ... the guy in red and black.

After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

“We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

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Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

Snedeker started the year ranked No. 28, but after missing five months because of injury he entered the week ranked No. 51 and is projected to slip even further by the end of the month. As a result, he likely needs a top-3 finish in order to secure a return to the Masters, which he has missed only once since 2007.

World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.

Nathaniel Crosby at the 1983 Bing Crosby Pro-Am at Pebble Beach. Getty Images

Crosby selected as 2019 U.S. Walker Cup captain

By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 3:19 pm

The USGA announced that former U.S. Amateur champ Nathaniel Crosby will serve as the American captain for the 2019 Walker Cup, which will be played at Royal Liverpool Golf Club in Hoylake, England.

Crosby, 56, is the son of entertainment icon and golf enthusiast Bing Crosby. He won the 1981 U.S. Amateur at The Olympic Club as a teenager and earned low amateur honors at the 1982 U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. He also played in the 1983 Walker Cup, coincidentally held at Royal Liverpool, before embarking on a brief career in professional golf, with his amateur status reinstated in 1994.

"I am thrilled and overwhelmed to be chosen captain of the next USA Walker Cup team," Crosby said in a statement. "Many of my closest friends are former captains who will hopefully take the time to share their approaches in an effort to help me with my new responsibilities."

Crosby takes over the captaincy from John "Spider" Miller, who led the U.S. squad both in 2015 and earlier this year, when the Americans cruised to a 19-7 victory at Los Angeles Country Club.

Crosby is a Florida resident and member at Seminole Golf Club, which will host the 2021 matches. While it remains to be seen if he'll be asked back as captain in 2021, each of the last six American captains have led a team on both home and foreign soil.

Started in 1922, the Walker Cup is a 10-man, amateur match play competition pitting the U.S. against Great Britain and Ireland. The U.S. team holds a 37-9 all-time lead in the biennial matches but has not won in Europe since 2007.