Notes Mickelsons new winning formula

By Associated PressApril 30, 2010, 4:08 am

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Maybe Masters champion Phil Mickelson has found a winning formula: get sick before a tournament.

In his first event since Augusta, Mickelson fired a 2-under 70 on Thursday to put himself in the mix after the first round at Quail Hollow Championship. Mickelson persevered despite being fatigued following an illness that forced him to withdraw from the pro-am a day earlier.

Mickelson was quick to point out he won at Doral last year and Torrey Pines in 2001 not long after being sick.

“The last two times I’ve fainted and woken up in a pool of vomit, I’ve won,” Mickelson said, smiling. “Laying there on the floor wondering where I am, a good omen came over me.”

Mickelson isn’t sure what caused this week’s 48-hour bug that left him dehydrated and needing IV fluids at the tournament medical center. He did acknowledge he started feeling tired walking up the 15th fairway, and he closed with consecutive bogeys that left him five shots behind leader Bo Van Pelt.

“I may have run out of a little bit of energy there toward the end, but I did hit some good shots and was able to shoot a decent round for the first round,” Mickelson said.

“I don’t quite have the energy yet, but I think this weekend I’ll feel great. It think it helps me pace myself.”

CLUB REUNION: Bo Van Pelt thanked his refurbished putter for not only his 7-under 65, but his returning sanity. Kenny Perry raved about finding his lost driver and his game after shooting 66.

The pair sit atop the leaderboard at Quail Hollow thanks to the familiarity of old clubs.

“I guess I’ve got a lot of good feelings with that putter,” Van Pelt said,

Van Pelt had ditched that reliable putter he had used for five years because it was getting rusty and dinged up. It touched off a dizzying stretch where he went through 10 putters of all shapes and sizes with little success.

“I was temporarily insane for about eight weeks,” Van Pelt said.

After missing the cut in Houston following 69 putts in two rounds, Van Pelt retrieved his old putter and had it fixed up and shortened.

He used it at Hilton Head two weeks ago and finished tied for third. On Thursday, he had just 26 putts after entering the week ranked 162nd in putting.

“It was good to have it back in my hands,” Van Pelt said.

Perry had the same feeling later in the day. He had taken off the shaft of the driver he won two tournaments with last year and put it in a drawer, only to forget where it was.

He recently found it, and used the driver and a belly putter to sit alone in second place.

“I was like, ‘Wow, where has this been?”’ Perry said. “It was a nice treasure I found.”

MORE CROWDED: The media tent has been expanded. The interview room is bigger, too.

But the media frenzy for Tigers Woods’ second tournament since his sex scandal seems to be missing from Quail Hollow Club.

Media director Lee Patterson said he gave out 353 media credentials, up from about 280 during a normal year. That did force officials to expand the media work area by 40 seats and move the interview room to an adjacent tent.

Most of the extra credentials went to national media outlets and television networks. Patterson said he denied credential requests to TV shows Inside Edition and Extra because they came after the request deadline. TMZ did not request a credential, Patterson said.

MAYFAIR’S WILD WEEK: Billy Mayfair likely took the most unusual route to get himself into contention.

Mayfair didn’t have an exemption into the field this week, so after finishing tied for 43rd at New Orleans, he was scheduled to fly to Charlotte Sunday night to play in the Monday qualifier.

Trouble is, he missed his flight Sunday. His wife, Tami, rebooked them on a 6 a.m. flight Monday through Atlanta. Mayfair awoke at 3 a.m. and arrived in Charlotte at noon for a 12:45 tee time.

“We hit a few balls, got rid of the airplane swing, hit a few putts, and off we went,” Mayfair said.

With his wife caddying, Mayfair shot 65 – including a birdie-birdie-birdie finish – to make the Quail Hollow field.

“I think I was still riding high from the week. I played pretty well in New Orleans,” Mayfair said. “Monday qualifier, you just fire at the pins and make as many birdies as you can, and you don’t worry about making bogeys.”

Mayfair followed that up with seven birdies on Thursday, shooting a 4-under 68 to sit three shots behind Van Pelt.

“I had a great day, drove it real well and had a lot of good iron shots,” Mayfair said. “I played very well.”

MAJOR FEEL: Geoff Ogilvy peered over and saw fans five and six deep jammed around the putting green shortly after he finished his round of 68 before noon.

“It feels like a major, doesn’t it,” Ogilvy said. “Look at the putting green Thursday lunchtime, that doesn’t happen every week. This is a really well-attended tournament by players and fans.”

With 11 of the 16 in the world rankings in the field, Quail Hollow has a top field. Ogilvy also thinks it has a course that could host a major. Quail Hollow officials haven’t hidden their desire to someday do that.

“It’s a course that feels a step above, challenge-wise, I guess,” Ogilvy said. “Even in good conditions with short rough, it’s still a really big challenge. So I think if we all turned up here and had a U.S. Open or PGA (Championship), it would feel like a normal U.S. Open or a PGA. It does feel like a major kind of place.”

DIVOTS: Parker McLachlin had a nightmare seventh hole, hitting four consecutive tee shots in the water to the right of the fairway before carding a 12 on the par-5. It matched Michael Campbell’s 12 on the sixth at Bay Hill for the worst score this season on the PGA Tour. McLachlin, who has missed four straight cuts, shot 88, worst score of the season on the Tour. … Defending champion Sean O’Hair shot 72. … Greg Kraft withdrew after nine holes because of vertigo.

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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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.