DUBLIN, Ohio – No, that wasn’t golf ball-sized hail at the 14th. It was Phil Mickelson’s golf ball.
Mickelson pulled out the driver on the 363-yard, par-4 hole in Friday’s second round of the Memorial and came close to reaching the putting area.
Players usually don’t chance it because it’s such a narrow green that slopes hard toward a creek that crosses the fairway and then meanders along the right side of the green. If a ball comes in with too much pace, it can easily kick into the drink. The conventional play is a 3-iron or 3-wood off the tee that comes up just short of the creek, then a wedge into the treacherous, fast green.
But Mickelson spit in the eye of such thinking.
“I have never gone an entire round hitting every fairway, and I had hit every fairway through 12 holes,” he said after completing a 71 that left him at 6-under 138. “When I missed (the fairway) on 13, I thought I’d drive on 14 because it didn’t matter. If I had hit that fairway on 13, I would have hit iron on 14. I know it sounds crazy, but that’s the way I was thinking.”
Mickelson hit a 335-yard drive that came up just short of the green, leaving him just 75 feet to the pin.
The strategy might have been sound; the execution wasn’t. He chipped to 5 feet but then missed the birdie putt, settling for par – just like so many who didn’t even run the risk.
DIRTY DOZEN: Geoff Ogilvy felt as if he couldn’t do anything wrong in the first round of the Memorial, when he shot a 65 for his lowest start of any tournament this year.
He was a dozen shots worse Friday, when he couldn’t get anything right.
“Anything that could go wrong went wrong,” Ogilvy said.
The worst of it came on the 14th, when he pulled his tee shot into the water, took a penalty drop, then found a bunker and had to scramble for a double bogey. He finished bogey-bogey for a 77.
Ogilvy didn’t seem overly concerned. He has been hitting the ball well for the last month, and plans a light week of practice and play at his summer home in San Diego next week with good friend Adam Scott.
OLD RELIABLE: Three-time Memorial winner Kenny Perry tied a tournament record by making his 17th consecutive cut at Muirfield Village. Perry shot a 68 and was at 5-under 139, still somewhat in the picture.
The streak began in 1993 with a tie for 19th. Perry did not play in 2006 because of an injury.
Jim Furyk extended his record at the Memorial with the most starts without ever missing the cut. He had played this tournament 15 times and picked up a check every Sunday.
MEMORIAL WEATHER: So fraught with weather problems is the annual tournament at Muirfield Village that locals refer to monsoon-like conditions and heavy rain in the spring as “Memorial weather.”
A year ago, Jack Nicklaus’ tournament enjoyed four days with nary a hint of rain, tornadoes, hurricanes, volcanic eruptions or a plague of locusts.
This year’s tournament has not been so fortunate.
The first round was suspended for 2 hours and 4 minutes by thunderstorms, with a later 34-minute delay because lightning was in the area. Still, all 120 players were able to finish their round.
On Friday, heavy rains suspended play for 24 minutes midway through the afternoon and the threat of dangerous weather held up play for another 35 minutes later. Again, the entire field completed play.
But, not too surprisingly, the forecast for Saturday and Sunday is thunderstorms.
QUOTE OF THE DAY: Steve Stricker on how the media and players’ private lives: “We don’t judge any of you guys on what you do in your personal life.” Then he paused for effect and cracked, “Nor do I WANT to know what you do with your personal life.”
IT’S IN THE HOLE!: The golf movie “Caddyshack” is turning 30.
Few weekend players don’t know at least a line or two from the film. The irreverent and, OK, sophomoric film starred Rodney Dangerfield, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase and Ted Knight.
It figures that touring pros also love the movie.
Tiger Woods says he’s seen it almost a 100 times.
Asked if he had worn out his DVD watching it, Woods joked, “I’ll just buy another one.”
OLD GUARD: Tom Pernice Jr. could be collecting money and spending leisurely weekends out on the Champions Tour. Instead, he gets a kick out of taking on guys half his age on excruciatingly difficult courses.
He could have played all this season on the over-50 circuit, but instead has played just four times – half as many times as he’s started in a regular-tour event.
Why doesn’t the 50-year-old act his age?
“I’ve always said I’m competitive out here,” said Pernice, winner of the 1999 Buick Open and 2001 International. “The ball doesn’t know how old you are. As long as I can keep it in close and make some putts and post the scores, I’m going to try to stay out here and see what I can do.”
So far, so good at the Memorial. Pernice followed an opening 72 with a 67 and is among the leaders through 36 holes.
He credits good habits and hard conditioning for still being on the regular tour after turning pro in 1982.
“I work out quite a bit,” he said. “Through my workouts, I’ve stayed healthy. Haven’t had any major medical problems, so that’s an asset.”
VISION IN MINT: Almost every other player in the field at the Memorial Tournament would like to have Rickie Fowler’s game.
Almost none want his fashion sense.
The tournament’s long-haired leader wore a mint green shirt with an M.C. Escher-like optical-illusion print covering everything but the sleeves. He had on matching mint green pants and color-coordinated Puma shoes with mint green accents and mint green strings. Oh, and he wore a flat-brimmed white Puma hat with black trim and a white belt.
“They wouldn’t even let me in if I wore that,” said Tim Petrovic, who matched Fowler’s 6-under 66 in the second round. “We tease him about maybe getting a haircut, you know, once or twice a year.”
DIVOTS: Angel Cabrera may have two major championship victories but that didn’t prevent the main scoreboard from listing him as Cabreraa. … Jason Day could avoid U.S. Open qualifying by winning the Memorial, falling under the criteria of multiple PGA Tour victories since the previous U.S. Open. He won two weeks ago in Dallas. … Mark Calcavecchia can delay ever so slightly his departure from the PGA Tour. He huffed and he puffed and he made the cut with a second straight round of even-par 72. … Only six of the 22 second-round leaders or co-leaders in PGA Tour events this season have gone on to win. … Henrik Stenson is playing the Memorial for the first time and with a substitute caddie. Fanny Sunesson is taking the week off, so the Swede is using Jude O’Riley, who also filled in when Stenson and Robert Karlsson won the World Cup two years ago.
AP Golf Writer Doug Ferguson contributed to this report.