What Did Phil Do Last
First of all, he won the tournament on Thursday and Friday.
Yes, I know, he birdied the 72nd hole Monday morning to officially stake out his claim to the Wanamaker Trophy. But Mickelson opened with a 3-under par 67 Thursday that earned a share of the first-round lead. He followed that with a Friday 65 that neatly placed him three shots ahead of the field.and, perhaps more importantly, 12 shots ahead of Tiger Woods.
Know this: Mickelson pays a lot more attention to Woods than Woods does to Mickelson. And the comfort level of being a dozen shots ahead of the worlds top-ranked player was a clear advantage for Mickelson heading into the weekend.
They say you cant win the golf tournament on Thursday or Friday. And, strictly speaking, that is correct. But in retrospect, Woods may have lost this one with his opening round 75. And, in the end, Mickelson would turn out to need every bit of the cushion he built. His winning total of 4-under was one better than runners up Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington.
Every shot counts one. Doesnt matter what day.
Secondly, we must now consider that Mickelson should not be ignored any more going into any major. Not many people figured him, in advance, to be in the final mix at Baltusrol, mainly because his three victories this year came early in the season and his performance in the three previous 2005 majors had been mostly indifferent.
Basically, Mickelson was written off. He arrived at the PGA in no particular kind of good form. And it was hard to ignore the fact that his final-round scores in the four most recent majors were 76, 74, 74 and 74, respectively.
Now we know Mickelson can turn on the jets at a major at any time. Ignore him in future majors at your own peril.
Finally, the critics that have charged Mickelson with paralysis by analysis need to stand silent. He has won two of the last eight majors and those results are hard to question.
Mickelson has a top-100 swing coach in Rick Smith. His interaction with short game guru Dave Pelz clearly has been beneficial. And his physical therapist, Sean Cochran, was present at Baltusrol. Sources in the Mickelson camp told me Phil worked out with Cochran at least an hour each day the week of the tournament.
Of course Mickelsons weight fluctuates from month-to-month. And he will never be the poster boy for Golds Gym. But Mickelson should get some modicum of credit for not ignoring fitness altogether.
Mickelson also has decided playing the week before a major is best for him after having visited the venue prior to that. In the case of Baltusrol he spent 10 hours with head pro Doug Steffen, picking his brain, 10 days before the PGA.
Steffen subsequently told me nobody else in the field, among the tour pros, asked him about the golf course.
So dont be surprised if other players take notice of Mickelsons method and his success. Woods got everybody into the gym when it became clear he was gaining an advantage with his fitness. Mickelsons modus operandi may become something of a gold standard going forward as the top players look for ways to better prepare for major championships.
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Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters
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.
Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational
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.
Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs
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
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.
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.
Playing with the pros
Tiger, DJ and Faxon
President at the Presidents Cup
Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham
Cart on the green
Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open
Trump golf properties
Reportedly fake TIME covers
Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story
Pros comment on the president