Notes No dinosaur head for Phils birthday

By Associated PressJune 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Phil Mickelson could not have asked for a better time celebrating his 39th birthday, even if his presents were a little more traditional than the head of a dinosaur or a meteorite.
Mickelson turned 39 on Tuesday, and he spent the first half of the day at home in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif.
Maybe the best present of all was eating breakfast ' twice.
We celebrated with the family. We all went to breakfast together at my favorite little breakfast joint, he said. And my kids brought me breakfast in bed first. But then we decided to go out.
His wife, Amy, is awaiting surgery for breast cancer, perhaps limiting her creativity. In an interview this year with Golf Digest, Mickelson said she gave him the skeleton of a dinosaur head for his birthday last year. And at Christmas, she managed to find a meteorite from a crash in Argentina in the 1930s.
Yeah, it was tough to top last years dinosaur, he said.
She went more conventional for No. 39. Mickelson said among the gifts were sunglasses and a camera.
I love it when she picks me out fashion stuff like sunglasses and such because my fashion sense isnt the best, he said.
The camera is capable of taking 30 frames each second, which Mickelson said he will use to film his swing on the practice range instead of having to bring out the heavy equipment.

OHAIR ON CALL: Sean OHair is to tee off Thursday afternoon, but he has no idea how long his U.S. Open will last ' or even if it gets started. His wife, Jackie, is expecting their third child any day.
She had back spasms Sunday, and OHair took her to the hospital near their home outside Philadelphia, believing she had gone into labor. It was a false alarm, so he left for Bethpage with great uncertainly.
Ill deal with it as it comes, he said.
Will there be a pager in his bag, like Phil Mickelson at Pinehurst No. 2 in 1999? OHair shook his head.
Im not that dramatic, he said. Im not carrying a beeper.
The ideal scenario would be for her to go into labor sometime Wednesday, allowing him to get home for the birth and back to Bethpage in time for the start. But that didnt seem likely, and OHair said he would leave the U.S. Open when ' of if ' he got word.
I would love to be there, and I would love to play the U.S. Open, he said. But sometimes, you cant have it both ways. But you get one chance to be there for the birth of your baby. And dont they have a U.S. Open next year?

CAMPBELLS RECOVERY: Chad Campbell was playing a bunker shot at the Colonial when he heard a pop in his left calf.
Suddenly, he had doubts about the rest of the year, much less the U.S. Open.
But he is healed in time for Bethpage Black, and feeling almost as good as new.
I didnt have an MRI, he said. But the doctor said it was a strain or a slight tear. It didnt swell, so that was a good thing.

ROMEROS A GO: One of the perks of being the U.S. Senior Open champion is an invitation to the U.S. Open, a prize that not everyone feels they should accept. Bruce Fleischer earned a spot at Bethpage in 2002, took a look at the demanding course and decided he couldnt compete, so he dropped out.
Eduardo Romero has a decidedly different feeling.
The 54-year-old from Argentina will be the oldest man in the 156-player field Thursday, and last years Senior Open champ says hes looking forward to one of the toughest layouts hes ever competed on.
Its too tough, Romero said. But I like playing it. I love it.
Romero said he played a practice round Tuesday from the farthest tips at Bethpage, hitting 3-wood and 2-iron into many of the par-4s, three of which are over 500 yards.
But if he hits the fairway, he figures hell be able to get around as well as anyone.
Im still hitting it straight and hit it good, Romero said. Good confidence, very relaxing. And Im very happy with the golf course. Its tough. Very tough.

IMMELMAN UPDATE: Former Masters champion Trevor Immelman had to withdraw Sunday because of tendinitis in his left wrist, and tests have revealed two small tears and some bone damage.
He had a CT scan earlier Wednesday and is awaiting results.
You obviously hate to miss any time due to injury, but it is a huge disappointment to not be ready to go for a major, Immelman posted on his Facebook account. As badly as I want to be there, I am following my doctors advice so that it will help me get back out on the golf course as soon as I can, but most importantly, getting back out there healthy.

WOODS LOFTY WOOD: Tiger Woods is using a driver with a loft of 10.5 degrees.
As we all know, loft is your friend, Woods said. And the reason why you hit a 3-wood straighter is obviously because its got more loft. That helps. My release has changed over the years and I just need a little bit more loft now.
When he joined the tour, he used a driver with 6.5 degrees of loft.
I hate to see when I get to 40, how thats going to be, have to get a 46-inch driver and 15-degree lofted driver, he said. But it is what it is. Technology has changed, the ball doesnt spin as much as it used to. You have to have more loft than you used to.

DIVOTS: The USGA made it official Wednesday by announcing that Oakmont, reputed to be the toughest golf course in America, will host the U.S. Open in 2016. It will be a record ninth-time for Oakmont to host the U.S. Open, and the first time since 1962 that it only had to wait nine years for another one. Bandon Dunes in Oregon will host the U.S. Amateur Public Links and the U.S. Womens Amateur Public Links the same week in July 2011. Officials have not decided which of the courses will host the men. The USGA Museum and Arnold Palmer Center for Golf History has launched the Tiger Woods Championship Scrapbook, an online exhibit that shows each of Woods nine USGA titles ' three each at the U.S. Open, U.S. Amateur and U.S. Junior Amateur.
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    Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

    By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

    While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

    The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

    "I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

    Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

    According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

    "I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

    Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

    Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

    "I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

    Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.

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    Spieth vs. Reed random? Hmm, wonders Spieth

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:42 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Monday’s blind draw to determine the 16 pods for this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play didn’t exactly feel “blind” for Jordan Spieth, whose group includes Patrick Reed.

    Spieth and Reed have become a staple of U.S. teams in recent years, with a 7-2-2 record in the Ryder and Presidents Cup combined. So when the ping-pong ball revealed Reed’s number on Monday night Spieth wasn’t surprised.

    “It seems to me there's a bit more to this drawing than randomness,” laughed Spieth, whose pod also includes Haotong Li and Charl Schwartzel. “It's not just me and him. It's actually a lot of groups, to have Luke List and Justin [Thomas] in the same group seems too good to be true. It might be some sort of rigging that's going on, I'm not sure.”

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    Spieth will play Reed on Friday in the round-robin format and knows exactly what to expect from the fiery American.

    “I've seen it firsthand when he's been at his best. And we have history together in a couple of different playoffs, which is a match-play scenario,” Spieth said. “I've got to take care of work tomorrow and the next day for that day to even matter. But even if it doesn't matter, trust me, it will matter to both of us.”

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    U.S. Open champ Koepka (wrist) to miss Masters

    By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:12 pm

    Reigning U.S. Open champ Brooks Koepka will miss the Masters, according to a USA Today report.

    Koepka has been battling a left wrist injury since late last year, and he hasn't played since finishing last at the limited-field Sentry Tournament of Champions in early January. Weeks later he revealed that he had a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU) tendon but hoped to return in time for the season's first major.

    According to the report, Koepka only started putting this week and plans to begin hitting chips next week.

    "They said I would be about 80 percent, but I can't play 80 percent," Koepka said. "I either have to go full bore or not at all. I don't want to risk getting it re-injured and then be out a long time."

    Koepka has finished T-33 or better in each of his three prior Masters appearances, culminating in a T-11 result last year.

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    Spieth's agent leaving firm, but keeping Spieth as client

    By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 6:07 pm

    AUSTIN, Texas – Jay Danzi has stepped down as COO of Lagardère Sports U.S., and will take one of the game’s most marketable players, Jordan Spieth, with him.

    In a press release, Danzi said, “after careful consideration I feel that it’s time for a new adventure.” Danzi will represent Spieth independently.

    “It’s been a privilege having Jordan be part of the Lagardère Sports’ family for the last five years and watching him grow from a promising young player to someone who transcends the game,” said Steve Loy, Lagardère Sports president of golf. “We are also grateful for Jay’s contributions over the years, in golf and other areas of our business.”

    Lagardère Sports underwent an aggressive expansion in recent years, acquiring numerous boutique firms including Danzi’s business and Crown Sports Management.

    Although losing Spieth, the world’s fourth-ranked player, and Danzi, who took over as Lagardère COO in February 2017, is a setback, the firm still has a number of high-profile clients including Phil Mickelson, Jon Rahm and Patton Kizzire, a two-time winner on the PGA Tour this season.