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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    McCoy earns medalist honors at Web.com Q-School

    By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

    One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Web.com Tour Q-School.

    McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

    It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

    McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Web.com Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

    Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

    Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Web.com Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

    Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

    The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

    The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

    Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

    The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

    A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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    Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

    Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

    Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

    South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

    Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

    The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

     

     

    Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

    By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

    It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

    Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

    Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

    "We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."


    Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout


    Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

    Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.