Phil Mickelsons got to get this thing turned around

By Associated PressAugust 14, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' Phil Mickelson walked off the wind-blown Hazeltine course, unsure whether he would be back for the weekend.
 
He barely made the cut, but after shooting a second straight 2-over 74 on Friday in the second round of the PGA Championship, Mickelson was 4 over for the tournament. At mid-day, the second-ranked player in the world was in real trouble of heading home early. It took a 19-way tie for 62nd place to keep him in it.
 
Im not going to beat many people putting the way I am, said Mickelson, who decided after the first round to do something he hadnt done in a long time: go to the practice green and work on his shoddy short game.
 
The extra time didnt pay off, though Mickelson insisted he felt better about his putter than the day before.
Phil Mickelson PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson watches his tee shot on the 15th hole during the second round of the 91st PGA Championship. (Getty Images)
Beginning on the back nine, he shot into the wind on No. 12 and made birdie. Two holes later, however, he finished with a bogey because of another missed putt.
 
He amended a double bogey on No. 5 with an eagle on the par-5 seventh hole and had an opportunity to pick up another stroke with a 15-footer on No. 8. It sailed long, and Mickelson waved his hands as if to say, Come on!
 
In all, he needed 77 putts for 36 holes.
 
Ive got to get this thing turned around, Mickelson said.
 
Receiving plenty of support from the galleries, one guy yelled, Keep your head up, Phil! after he failed to putt for par and made the turn toward the front nine. If it was any consolation, Mickelsons group didnt fare much better than he did.
 
David Toms followed his first-round 69 with a 75, a high score also attributable to some struggles on the greens.
 
You dont see a lot of balls that close to the hole, it seems like, Toms said, assessing the course. At least not in our group. So then if youre not making your 25- and 30-footers, or a couple of those, its hard to make birdies.
 
The last time Mickelson missed the cut in a major was the 2007 British Open, a tournament he skipped this summer to be with his wife and mother, both of whom were recently diagnosed with breast cancer.
 
Since tying for second place at the U.S. Open in June, Mickelson played only last weeks Bridgestone Invitational in Ohio before this. He tied for 58th place at Firestone Country Club.
 
The assumption is that Mickelsons increased family focus and decreased time on the course has affected his game, but he said that his putting problems were to blame.
 
I think the struggling on the greens is carrying over a little bit into, maybe, my focus on some other shots, Mickelson said. I dont feel Im hitting it bad, but Im hitting some bad shots.
 
Mickelson sent tee shots into the rough, the sand and the gallery over the first two rounds. On Friday, he hit only six of a possible 14 fairways.
 
I dont feel like Im striking it horrendously, he said. Its just Im having trouble scoring right now.
 
This wasnt Mickelsons worst PGA Championship performance; he shot a 78 in the third round in 2002. This is an event, though, that he won four years ago and took second at in 2001. He hasnt missed the cut in the seasons last major since 1995, when he was 25.
 
Perhaps its because of deepened perspective, the process at home now his priority, but Mickelson didnt sound so down at the end of his rough round. As he crossed the catwalk from the course to the scoring trailer, a few fans yelled encouragement while he flashed a smile during a chat with his caddie.
 
Mickelson certainly didnt show the same resigned look he had after his missed chance at the U.S. Open. Asked about his plans for the remainder of the season, he declined to speculate other than to confirm his participation at The Barclays in New Jersey later this month.
 
I dont want to look too far down the road for at least another year, because were day to day with everything, Mickelson said, referring to the health of his wife. Right now things are OK, and Im planning on playing Barclays and well see where I go from there.
 
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  • Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.