Pinehurst Special Place for Mickelson

By Associated PressJune 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson brought his family to the U.S. Open this week, and not just to watch him play golf.
 
He wanted his wife to see where he stayed that eventful week in 1999. He wanted his daughter to understand what happened six years ago when her dad would have given up his chance at an Open title to be able to witness her birth.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson hopes to earn his first U.S. Open title this week.
He wanted them to understand the emotions of frustration and then joy that he felt as he lost an Open and gained a daughter within the space of 24 hours.
 
'We tell the story to our daughter Amanda about her birth and how it all took place and the story about it,' Mickelson said earlier this week. 'It'll be fun for her to be at the place that we've been talking about all these years.'
 
Mickelson was not yet a father on Father's Day 1999, but it seemed he was about to become something else he also wanted badly to be ' an Open champion.
 
He came to North Carolina the night before the Open began, not wanting to leave his expectant wife, Amy, any longer than he had to. He came wearing a beeper that would go off if Amy's water broke.
 
And he came promising everyone he would leave immediately if that happened. Becoming a father, he said, was more important than winning an Open.
 
During the day he played golf ' and played it well. At night, he and Amy talked long hours on the phone about becoming parents for the first time.
 
'My wife and I shared something very special, not only the day after the event ended but throughout the whole week,' Mickelson said. 'We were talking on the phone, talking about how she was feeling, talking about Amanda kicking and the things she was doing.'
 
Mickelson was already stuck with the label of being the best player who had never won a major, and it didn't seem that would be his week. Not only was he preoccupied with Amy's pregnancy, but he had never set foot on Pinehurst No. 2 before.
 
That didn't seem to matter on Thursday when, beeper in his bag, Mickelson opened with a 67 for a share of the first round lead. He came into the interview area afterward and told a disbelieving media he would pack up his clubs and go home when the beeper went off, no matter if he was leading the Open.
 
'It's not worth the tournament,' he insisted. 'As important as the U.S. Open is to me and every other player in the field, this is the birth of my first child.'
 
Mickelson followed with rounds of 70 and 73 and was a stroke behind Payne Stewart entering the final round. The beeper still hadn't gone off and now Mickelson moved into the lead on the back nine on Father's Day.
 
Standing on the 16th fairway ahead by a shot, Mickelson thought the Open was his to lose. Then Stewart saved par with a 25-footer on 16, Mickelson missed his 6-foot par putt and Stewart birdied the 17th with a 6-iron to 3 feet.
 
Mickelson still had a shot. Stewart was in trouble on 18, and Lefty's 25-foot birdie putt stopped just inches short. He then watched as Stewart stood over his 15-footer to win in the fading light and stroked it into the cup for the win.
 
Stewart celebrated, then went up to Mickelson, grabbed both sides of his face and said to him, 'Good luck with the baby. There's nothing like being a father.'
 
'I was so focused and I really thought I was going to win the tournament and it was kind of a shock to me that it didn't happen,' Mickelson said.
 
Stewart's putt didn't just go down in Open history. It also prevented a Monday playoff that might have been a one-man affair.
 
Amy's water broke the next day, just about the time the playoff would have started. By then, Mickelson had already flown in his private jet home and was with her for Amanda's birth.
 
'I would have left,' Mickelson said, assuming there was a playoff. 'I would have just made it back probably.'
 
Six years later, Mickelson returns to Pinehurst still looking for his first Open win. This time he's more prepared, having spent several days working on his short game around the tricky domed greens on No. 2 and trying to keep his driver under control for the tight fairways.
 
He's no longer the best player never to win a major ' his Masters win last year eliminated that tag ' but Mickelson is eager to win a bunch more. He came close two more times last year, and credits his improved play to coming prepared with a game plan.
 
'That's been exciting for me because my performance in the majors has improved dramatically,' he said. 'My consistency in the majors has improved.'
 
Mickelson is now the father of three, and he knows there wouldn't be a better Father's Day present than to be able to celebrate with his family while holding the Open trophy.
 
Amanda, who turns 6 next week, could celebrate with her dad just like she did at the Masters last year when Mickelson held her in his arms and said:
 
'Daddy won! Can you believe it?'
 
Related links:
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

  • Tee Times - U.S. Open

  •  
    Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

    Watch: Pros try to hit 2-yard wide fairway in Dubai

    By Grill Room TeamNovember 18, 2017, 5:20 pm

    While in Dubai for the DP World Tour Championship, the European Tour prestented a little challenge to Ross Fisher, Richie Ramsay, Nicolas Colsaerts and Soren Kjeldsen. On a stretch of road outside of town, the four players had to try and hit a 2-yard wide fairway. Check out the results.

    Rose (65) leads Rahm, Frittelli in Dubai

    By Associated PressNovember 18, 2017, 3:24 pm

    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Justin Rose will take a one-shot lead into the final day of the season-ending Tour Championship as he attempts to win a third straight title on the European Tour and a second career Race to Dubai crown.

    The 37-year-old Rose made a gutsy par save on the final hole after a bogey-free round for a 7-under 65 Saturday and overall 15-under 201.

    The Englishman leads South African Dylan Frittelli, who produced the day's best score of 63, and Spain's Jon Rahm, who played in the same group as Rose and matched his 65.

    Rose is looking to be Europe's season-ending No. 1 for the second time. His leading rival for the Race to Dubai title, Tommy Fleetwood, is only two shots behind here after a second straight 65 on the Earth course of Jumeirah Golf Estates.

    Fleetwood did his chances no harm by overcoming a stuttering start before making eight birdies in his final 11 holes to also post a 65. The 26-year-old Englishman was tied for fourth place at 13 under, alongside South African Dean Burmester (65) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat (67), who closed with five birdies in a row.

    ''So, last day of the season and I've got a chance to win the Race to Dubai,'' Fleetwood said. ''It's cool.''


    DP World Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the DP World Tour Championship


    Masters champion Sergio Garcia, the only other player with a chance to win the Race to Dubai title, is tied for 13th on 10 under after a 67.

    Fleetwood had a lead of 256,737 points going into the final tournament and needs to equal or better Rose's finishing position to claim the title. If Rose doesn't finish in the top five and Garcia doesn't win, Fleetwood will have done enough.

    Rose is hoping to win a third straight tournament after triumphs in China and Turkey.

    Rose, who made some long putts for birdies apart from chipping in on the 13th hole, looked to be throwing away his advantage on the par-5 18th, when his second shot fell agonizingly short of the green and into the water hazard. But with his short game in superb condition, the reigning Olympic champion made a difficult up-and-down shot to stay ahead.

    ''That putt at the last is a big confidence-builder. That broke about 18 inches right-to-left downhill. That's the kind of putt I've been hoping to make. That was a really committed stroke. Hopefully I can build on that tomorrow,'' said Rose. ''I know what I need to do to stay at the top of the leaderboard. If I slip up tomorrow, he's (Fleetwood) right there. He's done everything he needs to do on his end, so it's a lot of fun.''

    The last player to win three tournaments in a row on the European Tour was Rory McIlroy, when he won the Open Championship, the WGC-Bridgestone and the PGA Championship in 2014.

    Fleetwood was 1 over after seven holes but turned it on with a hat trick of birdies from the eighth, and then four in a row from No. 13.

    ''I wanted to keep going. Let's bring the tee times forward for tomorrow,'' quipped Fleetwood after closing with a birdie on the 18th. ''Just one of them strange days where nothing was going at all. A couple sloppy pars on the par 5s, and a bad tee shot on fifth and I was 1-over through seven on a day where scoring has been really good ... Ninth and 10th, felt like we had something going ... it was a really good last 11 holes.''

    If Park is nervous, she sure doesn't show it

    By Randall MellNovember 17, 2017, 11:24 pm

    NAPLES, Fla. – Sung Hyun Park says she can feel her heart pounding every time she steps to the first tee.

    She says she always gets nervous starting a round.

    You don’t believe it, though.

    She looks like she would be comfortable directing a sky full of Boeing 737s as an air traffic controller at Incheon International Airport . . .

    Or talking people off the ledges of skyscrapers . . .

    Or disarming ticking bombs . . .

    “In terms of golf, I always get nervous,” she insists.

    Everything about Park was at odds with that admission Friday, after she took control halfway through the CME Group Tour Championship.

    Her Korean nickname is “Dan Gong,” which means “Shut up and attack.” Now that sounds right. That’s what she looks like she is doing, trying to run roughshod through the Tour Championship in a historic sweep of all the LPGA’s most important awards and honors.

    Park got just one look at Tiburon Golf Club before this championship began, playing in Wednesday’s pro-am. Then she marched out Thursday and shot 67, then came out Friday and shot 65.

    At 12 under overall, Park has a three-shot lead on Caroline Masson and Sarah Jane Smith.

    She is six shots up on Lexi Thompson, who leads the CME Globe point standings in the race for the $1 million jackpot.

    She is 11 shots up on world No. 1 Shanshan Feng.

    And 11 shots up on So Yeon Ryu, who leads the Rolex Player of the Year point standings.


    CME Group Tour Championship: Articles, photos and videos

    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    There’s a long way to go, but Park is in position to make an epic sweep, to win the Tour Championship, that CME Globe jackpot, the Rolex Player of the Year Award, the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award, the Vare Trophy for low scoring average, the LPGA money-winning title and the Rolex world No. 1 ranking.

    Nobody’s ever dominated a weekend like that in women’s golf.

    It’s all there for the taking now, if Park can keep this going.

    Park has another nickname back in South Korea. Her fans call her “Namdalla.” That means “I am different.” She’ll prove that if she owns this weekend.

    Park, 24, isn’t assuming anything. She’s humbly aware how much talent is flooding the LPGA, how the tour’s depth was underscored in a year where five different players have reigned as world No. 1, five different players won majors and 22 different winners stepped forward in 32 events.

    “I don’t think it’s quite that far a lead,” Park said of her three-shot advantage. “Two, three shots can change at any moment.”

    About those nerves that Park insists plague her, even Hall of Famer Judy Rankin can’t see it.

    Not when Park unsheathes a driver on a tee box.

    “She’s the most fearless driver of the ball out here,” Rankin said. “I would put Lexi a close second and everybody else a distant third. She hits drivers on holes where you shouldn’t, and she hits it long and she just throws it right down there between hazard stakes that are 10 yards apart, like it’s nothing. Now, that’s a little hyperbole, but she will hit driver almost everywhere.”

    David Jones, Park’s caddie, will attest to that. He was on Park’s bag when she won the U.S. Women’s Open in July and won the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open in August.

    “She reaches for driver a lot because she is a good driver,” Jones said. “She isn’t reckless. She’s as accurate with a driver as she is a 3-wood.”

    Park and Thompson played together in the first round. Park is eighth on tour in driving distance, averaging 270 yards per drive, and Thompson is third, averaging 274.

    Thompson loves to hit driver, too, but . . . 

    “Lexi hit a lot of 3-woods compared to us when we played together yesterday,” Jones said.

    Jones doesn’t find himself talking Park out of hitting driver much.

    “It’s really simple,” Jones said. “When you hit driver as straight as she does, why mess around?”

    Count Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee, a student of the swing, among admirers of Park’s abilities.

    “No other swing in the game comes close to her technical perfection and elegance in my opinion,” Chamblee tweeted Friday.

    Come Sunday, Park hopes to complete a perfect sweep of the LPGA’s most important awards.

    National champion Sooners meet with Trump in D.C.

    By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 17, 2017, 11:10 pm

    The national champion Oklahoma men's golf team visited Washington D.C. on Frday and met with President Donald Trump.

    Oklahoma topped Oregon, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2, in last year's national final at Rich Harvest Farms to win their second national championship and first since 1989.

    These pictures from the team's trip to Washington popped up on social media late Friday afternoon: