Team Mickelson Looking for History

By Associated PressMay 7, 2008, 4:00 pm
2007 THE PLAYERSPONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- A corridor beneath the grandiose clubhouse is lined with black-and-white photographs from more than a quarter-century of winners at THE PLAYERS Championship since it moved to the notorious TPC Sawgrass.
 
They have little in common except they beat the best field in golf and got very rich.
 
There is powerful Adam Scott, 23, and pea-shooter Fred Funk, 48, the youngest and oldest champions.
 
Hal Sutton captured this event twice, once as a svelte young man in his second year, later at age 41 with a paunch, sweat stains and five of the most famous words uttered on the 18th hole of the Stadium Course'Be the right club today!
 
Past champions feature the power of Tiger Woods, Greg Norman and Fred Couples, the accuracy off the tee of Calvin Peete, grinders like Tom Kite, Lee Janzen and Justin Leonard, the pure ball striking of Nick Price, the short game of Phil Mickelson.
 
It suits good players, Paul Goydos concluded Wednesday. If you show up here with your best game, you have a shot to win. I dont think anyone walks out there and says, I cant play this golf course.
 
There are a few things about THE PLAYERS Championship that fall into the death-and-taxes category.
 
  • Woods has no chance of winning because hes not here. He had surgery on his right knee two days after the first major, giving him time to recover before the second major, making his absence a setback for the tournament debated as the fifth major.
     
  • Every player will watch anxiously until his tee shot on the 17th hole hits the island green, if it does.
     
  • The winner will walk away with $1.71 million, more money than any other single tournament offers on the PGA TOUR.
     
    But making a sound prediction on which style of game the Sawgrass best suits is like spinning a roulette wheel.
     
    Everybody can play their own game on this golf course, said British Open champion Padraig Harrington, twice a runner-up. Theres a lot of different strategies. Probably the greatest thing about the course is you can watch a threeball (threesome), and theyll consistently hit different clubs off the tee.
     
    Power is negated because everyone can reach the par 5s in two shots, except for the ninth hole, where the entrance to the green is blocked by a massive oak. And now that the fairways have been refurbished to allow for fast, firm conditions, the par 4s are all about position. Length really only helps on a couple of holes, such as the seventh and 14th.
     
    You can probably get away with probably three holes where youd have to hit driver, Lee Westwood said.
     
    Perhaps the greatest testament to the variety of winners at THE PLAYERS Championship is that Mickelson will try to become the first player in 35 years' this is the 27th year at the Stadium Course'to successfully defend his title.
     
    Mickelson was asked why it has been so hard on defending champions.
     
    Until this year? he said to laughter. I dont know. I have no idea.
     
    If anyone is a favorite at THE PLAYERS, it would be Mickelson based on the trophy in his possession and his No. 2 world ranking. Of the top 25 players in the world at Sawgrass this week, only Mickelson and third-ranked Scott have won this tournament.
     
    Not having Woods around helps only slightly.
     
    Hes giving us a little bit of a break at the moment, said Scott, two weeks removed from a playoff victory in the EDS Byron Nelson Championship. Still, theres so many good players here this week that I think your percentages are only just a little bit better.
     
    Woods will be out at least until the Memorial, but he was rarely a factor at The Players. Since winning in 2001, he has failed to crack the top 10. There hasnt been much buzz during the practice rounds, but there rarely is at a tournament that has yet to attract a national following like the four majors, something PGA TOUR commissioner Tim Finchem hopes will happen over time.
     
    The field, however, is considered the strongest in golf. Unlike the other four majors, which include amateurs, club pros or past champions approaching Social Security, everyone in the 144-man field is capable of winning.
     
    In fact, 101 players in the field have won on the PGA TOUR.
     
    And in this age of golf courses being lengthened, the Stadium Course hasnt required an overhaul to remain a test.
     
    When par times 100 is less than the yardage, its a relatively short golf course, Goydos said. And this is a pretty good course.
     
    It is a tough test, but not overbearing like a U.S. Open. Norman set the record in 1994 at 24-under par, which should be safe for quite a while, but that doesnt mean Sawgrass wont yield a good score to some good golf.
     
    No matter how tough the course is playing, you feel like if you get on a run out there, you can shoot a 65, Harrington said. There will be great scores shot on the course, but its hard to keep it going for 72 holes.
     
    It is such a unique design, beyond the infamous island green, that anyone can win. Not even the man who designed it'Pete Dye, selected Tuesday for the World Golf Hall of Fame'could explain why the roll call of champions is so diverse.
     
    Thats a secret, Dye said, acting at first as though there was a clue stashed away in some vault. If I tried to tell you, Id just be lying. I havent any idea, to tell you the truth.
     
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    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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    Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

    By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

    The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

    Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

    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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

    Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

    Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

    None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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    Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

    An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

    In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

    Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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    Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

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    Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm