Phil Looks to Add PGA to PLAYERS Title

By Associated PressAugust 7, 2007, 4:00 pm
PGA ChampionshipTULSA, Okla. -- At times Tuesday, it was hard to tell if Phil Mickelson was a promoter for the PGA TOUR or a contender for the PGA Championship.
 
During his news conference in advance of the season's last major, Mickelson insisted he'd already won a major this year -- THE PLAYERS Championship -- and talked more than once about how excited he was for the FedExCup playoffs, which debut in two weeks.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson looks to win his second career PGA Championship (2005) (Getty Images).
Although that must make TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem happy, it's still hard know what 'Fans of Phil' who show up at steamy Southern Hills this week should expect from the injured star.
 
Mickelson conceded his left wrist is still less than 100 percent. But he said he has been cleared to practice and no longer needs to apply a substance on the wrist to numb the pain.
 
A player who used to prepare for some majors, like last year's U.S. Open at Winged Foot, over the span of weeks and months, now finds encouragement in being able to practice more over the last several days.
 
'I've been able to put more time in my game now in the last week or two than I have in the last three months,' Mickelson said. 'And so I'm really excited about getting back out and playing. I'm excited about the upcoming FedExCup Series, but especially excited about trying to play well here at Southern Hills.'
 
Southern Hills has been good to Lefty. He finished third at the PGA here in 1994 and tied for seventh at the 2001 U.S. Open.
 
But he wasn't injured then. His experiences so far this year when playing at less than 100 percent have been bad.
 
He hurt his wrist Memorial Day weekend, practicing for the U.S. Open. He missed the cut at Oakmont in June, at the AT&T National in July, then once more later in the month at the British. It marked the first time he'd missed three straight cuts on tour since 1995. A 46th-place finish last week at Bridgestone marks the only time he's cashed a check on the tour this summer.
 
In between all that, he hit a pair of awful drives on No. 18 in the Scottish Open -- once in regulation, then again in a playoff -- to give away a victory there. Besides that, he hasn't been competitive.
 
He thinks things are getting better for this week. Not all the way back, but better.
 
'I've been talking to the doctors. They think another two weeks, I should be 100 percent,' Mickelson said.
 
Two weeks, Mickelson reminds, is the start of the PGA TOUR's first foray into establishing a playoff-like system to bring more oomph to the end of the year.
 
The winner will get $10 million in deferred payments. Mickelson said he'd like to see something more dramatic, like a big brick of cash laid out on the 18th green, sort of like they do at the World Series of Poker.
 
'I think it would be cool,' he said. 'But it's just me. I don't know.'
 
Some might say all this talk about the playoffs seems premature with 'Glory's Last Shot' bearing down on what will turn out to be the toughest field in golf this season, with 97 of the top 100 in the world ranking.
 
For Mickelson, a win at the PGA Championship -- which is run by the PGA of America, not the PGA TOUR -- would make him one of only five players to record a major victory in four consecutive years. Tiger Woods, Tom Watson, Jack Nicklaus and Walter Hagen are the others.
 
Of course, according to Mickelson, he should already be on that list.
 
'I'd love to double up and win two,' Mickelson said. 'But that's just -- we look at THE PLAYERS a little differently. That was one of the biggest events that I was gunning for.'
 
THE PLAYERS debate was once reserved for March, but now takes place in May. That's the event's new spot on the schedule, during which Finchem and the PGA TOUR trot out their biggest tournament, with a $9 million purse and another of the toughest fields in golf, and say that one should be considered a major, too.
 
Mickelson won THE PLAYERS this year, marking his second victory and fifth top-5 of the season and giving indications that his meltdown on the final hole of the U.S. Open at Winged Foot last year could really be behind him.
 
Shortly after that, though, he got hurt practicing out of the rough for the U.S. Open at Oakmont.
 
Nothing has been the same since.
 
The good news for Mickelson fans is he insists he'll be fully motivated even after this week is over. Often in the past, he has shut things down -- mentally, if not physically -- after the last shot at the PGA.
 
'I missed some tournaments in the middle of the year,' Mickelson said. 'I hadn't played to the level that I expect. My desire is much higher at this point in the year than it has been in past years. I am looking forward and wanting to play more competitive golf.'
 
How competitive will he be this week?
 
Seems like anybody's guess.
 
'I think going into the FedExCup, I should be 100 percent,' he said. 'But I feel close to 100 percent this week.'
 
If not, he'll always have THE PLAYERS.
 
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    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

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    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”

    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.

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    Landry stays hot, leads desert shootout at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 12:35 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Andrew Landry topped the crowded CareerBuilder Challenge leaderboard after another low-scoring day in the sunny Coachella Valley.

    Landry shot a 7-under 65 on Thursday on PGA West's Jack Nicklaus Tournament Course to reach 16 under. He opened with a 63 on Thursday at La Quinta Country Club.

    Jon Rahm, the first-round leader after a 62 at La Quinta, was a stroke back. He had two early bogeys in a 67 on the Nicklaus layout.


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    Jason Kokrak was 14 under after a 67 at Nicklaus. Two-time major champion Zach Johnson was 13 under along with Michael Kim and Martin Piller. Johnson had a 64 at Nicklaus.

    Landry, Rahm, Kokrak and Johnson will finish the rotation Saturday at PGA West's Stadium Course, also the site of the final round.

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    Mickelson 'displeased' with iron play; 10 back

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:18 am

    All of Phil Mickelson’s offseason work on his driver has paid off through two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    His iron play? Not as sharp, and it’s the reason why he heads into the weekend 10 shots off the lead.

    “I’ve been pretty pleased, overall, with the way I’ve been driving the ball, and very displeased with the way my iron game has been,” said Mickelson, who shot 68 Friday on PGA West’s Nicklaus course. He has hit only 21 of 36 greens so far this week. “Usually my iron play is a lot better than what it’s been. So I’ll go work on it and hopefully improve each round in this tournament and build a solid foundation for the upcoming West Coast events.


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    “I feel like if I continue to drive the ball the way I am, and if I got my iron play back to my normal standard, I should have the results that I’ve been expecting.”

    Mickelson, of course, is always bullish this time of year, but he has been able to find 10 of 14 fairways each of the past two rounds, including at narrower La Quinta Country Club, which doesn’t always fit his eye.

    “This is actually the best I’ve driven it in a lot of years,” he said.

    Currently in a tie for 67th, Mickelson will need a solid round on the more difficult Stadium course Saturday to ensure that he makes the 54-hole cut. He hasn’t missed a cut in his first West Coast event of the new year since 2009.