In Phils Wake

By Brian HewittJune 26, 2006, 4:00 pm
No, not that kind of wake. Despite his meltdown at Winged Foot, Phil Mickelson is very much alive and will live to fight another day.
 
But in the wake of his shocking demise at the U.S. Open earlier this month, a nerve has been struck. I wrote a column on this website saying Mickelson was not an idiot even though thats what he said he was after double bogeying the 72nd hole in New York and losing to winner Geoff Ogilvy by one shot.
 
More than 600 of you responded with E-mails that were more like mini-blogs. People had a lot to get off their respective chests.
 
A few samples: I believe there is something no one has touched on, regarding Phil. I have watched the replay several times. I think it is his poor conditioning that caused his demise.He is in terrible physical condition.
 
Comment: Sounds suspiciously like a jealous Tiger fan.
 
Perhaps, in the end, its simply the nature of golf. Similar to the story of the scorpion who asks the frog for a lift across the river. The frog replied, How do I know you wont sting me? The scorpion said, If I sting you, then you will drown and I will drown with you. The frog agreed to give the scorpion a lift. Halfway across the river, the scorpion stung the frog. When the frog asked why, the scorpion replied, Im a scorpion, its my nature.
 
Comment: But it was RIVET-ing to watch.
 
As Forrest Gump said, Stupid is as Stupid doesWho is to say that he wouldnt have duck-hooked a four iron in an attempt to coast home on 18 Sunday afternoon?
 
Comment: Frogs, ducks, Tigers..what a zoo.
 
Where was Bones (Phils caddie Jim Mackay) in all of this. He knows Phil best.Bones didnt say anything.
 
Comment: It is not the nature of Phils relationship with Bones that the caddie talks the player off of club selections. Bones is more valuable to Phil around he greens.
 
You are an idiot.
 
Comment: Yeah, but what does that have to do with Phil Mickelson?
 
It was nothing more than a brain lock.
 
Comment: And just because you have a brain lock doesnt automatically qualify you for idiocy.
 
.but for now, yes, he is an idiot.
 
Comment: No.
 
Like you said, Phil is not an idiot.
 
Comment: Yes.
 
What is it about this man that has everyone fooled?
 
Comment: Looks to me like Phil fooled himself at the worst possible time.
 
Phil lost his head on the 18th hole. Thats a bad thing because your head is where your brains are.
 
Comment: And your bag is where your 4-wood is.
 
I guess he was just in a charitable gift giving mood. Hence the definition: Phil-Anthropic.
 
Comment: Lexicographers take note.
 
Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

“I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

“It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.” 

Getty Images

Closing eagle moves Rory within 3 in Abu Dhabi

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:57 pm

What rust? Rory McIlroy appears to be in midseason form.

Playing competitively for the first time since Oct. 8, McIlroy completed 36 holes without a bogey Friday, closing with an eagle to shoot 6-under 66 to sit just three shots back at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

“I’m right in the mix after two days and I’m really happy in that position,” he told reporters afterward.

McIlroy took a 3 ½-month break to heal his body, clear his mind and work on his game after his first winless year since 2008, his first full season as a pro.

He's back on track at a familiar playground, Abu Dhabi Golf Club, where he’s racked up eight top-11s (including six top-3s) in his past nine starts there.


Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


McIlroy opened with a 69 Thursday, then gave himself even more chances on Day 2, cruising along at 4 under for the day when he reached the par-5 closing hole. After launching a 249-yard long iron to 25 feet, he poured in the eagle putt to pull within three shots of Thomas Pieters (65). 

Despite the layoff, McIlroy edged world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, by a shot over the first two rounds. 

“DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now, and one of, if not the best, driver of the golf ball," McIlroy said. "To be up there with him over these first two days, it proves to me that I’m doing the right things and gives me a lot of confidence going forward.”

Getty Images

Duke to fill in for injured Pavin at CareerBuilder

By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 12:25 pm

Ken Duke will fill in for Corey Pavin for the next two rounds of the CareerBuilder Challenge – with nothing at stake but his amateur partner’s position on the leaderboard.

Pavin was 4 over par when he withdrew after 17 holes Thursday because of a neck injury. Tournament officials phoned Duke, the first alternate, and asked if he would take Pavin’s spot and partner with Luis Lopez for the next two rounds, even though he would not receive any official money.

Duke accepted and explained his decision on Twitter:

Playing on past champion’s status, the 48-year-old Duke has made only four starts this season, with a best finish of a tie for 61st at the RSM Classic.

Pavin received a sponsor exemption into the event, his first PGA Tour start since the 2015 Colonial. 

Getty Images

Kelly, Sauers co-lead in Hawaii; Monty, Couples in mix

By Associated PressJanuary 19, 2018, 3:52 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii - Fresh off a solid performance on Oahu, Jerry Kelly shot an 8-under 64 on the Big Island on Thursday to share the first-round lead at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 51-year-old Kelly, who tied for 14th at the PGA Tour's Sony Open last week in Honolulu, birdied five of his final seven holes to shoot 30 on the back nine at Hualalai. He won twice last season, his first on the over-50 tour.

Gene Sauers also shot 64, going bogey-free amid calm conditions. Thirty-two of the 44 players broke par in the limited-field event, which includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

Rocco Mediate and Colin Montgomerie were one shot back, and Fred Couples, Kevin Sutherland and Kirk Triplett were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was in the middle of the pack after a 69.