What Phil Did Last

By Brian HewittFebruary 11, 2008, 5:00 pm
New golf joke:
Q: Whats the only thing worse than making an 11 on No. 14?
A: Making a 14 on No. 11.
No, nobody made a 14 on the 11th hole on the PGA TOUR over the last four days. But by now the whole golf world knows world No. 2 Phil Mickelson carded an 11 on the par 5 14th at Pebble Beach Saturday.
For what its worth, a lot of Monterey Peninsula veteran golf watchers think No. 14, an uphill, dogleg right, with a slight reverse camber to a nasty, split-level green complex, is the hardest hole on the course. Steve Lowery, who beat Vijay Singh in a Sunday playoff bogeyed 14 in the final round. So did Singh.
Its just not worth 11 pops.
So now Phils critics will come out in force again. Theyll recount all the makeable putts he missed just last week at the FBR Open down the stretch that allowed J.B. Holmes to catch him on the 72nd hole and beat him in a playoff.
Theyll remind us of the clutch of sloppy errors Phil made at Riviera last year that opened the door for Charles Howell III to beat him in a playoff there.
Theyll re-tell the story of the meltdown at Winged Foot in the 2006 U.S. Open when bad judgment and worse execution on the final hole cost Mickelson that championship and prompted him to label himself such an idiot moments after he had gone down in figurative flames .
Some will even think back to the 2002 PLAYERS when he 5-putted the 10th green.
What will Phil do next? they will snicker with glee while smugly rolling their eyes.
And they will all have missed the point.
The only thing Phil Mickelson was thinking about when he reached No. 14 Saturday at Pebble was winning the golf tournament. If theres any part of that you dont understand, read one of Tiger Woods biographies.
Mickelson was 2 under standing on the 14th tee Saturday and rightly figured a birdie there and a birdie on the par-5 18th, accompanied by one or two other birdies in between, would have putt him within striking distance of the lead which wound up at 9 under by the time darkness fell over the Del Monte Forest Saturday night.
For years now Americas top male golfers have been charged, as a group, with being fat and happy thanks to purses that have made millionaires out of players who never dreamed what the career money list would look like one day.
But what most people never realized was this: If you are massively-talented, highly-motivated and financially-secure for life, you can afford to play for first place and take the consequences when that noble goal doesnt work out every time.
Money isnt necessarily a disincentive. Ill look forward to coming back next year, Mickelson said late Saturday, not hiding from reporters after the 11 on 14. I always do.
And he will return with one thought in mind: Winning.
Go ahead and rip Phil for his shot selection at Winged Foot. I suspect nobody, in the cold aftermath of that galling defeat, was harder on Mickelson than Mickelson himself. But if you want to mock him for his 11 on 14 Saturday at Pebble, you just dont get it.
The mentality that allows a player to put himself in a position to run the risk of going down in flames, is the only mentality that, if allowed to incubate, will encourage players to beard the Tiger in his own den.
And that, after all, is the only thing professional golf needs more than Tiger Woods these days: Players who will truly challenge him.
Phil Mickelson likes to say its Tigers world and hes just living in it. But at least hes living in it without surrendering his hubris; without giving in to resignation.
Mickelsons crash and burn and missed cut at Pebble Beach was an unhappy accident but it didnt lack for color. In fact, Pebble Beach'where the reds are redder, the greens are greener and the blues are bluer'is a living advertisement for the advantages of HDTV.
The flushed face Mickelson wore late Saturday was unmistakable. But at least he came by it honestly.
Q: Whats the only thing worse than a making an 11 on No. 14.
A: Not having a good explanation why.
Saturday at Pebble Beach Phil Mickelson had one.
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    Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

    Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

    Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

    As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

    "That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

    Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

    Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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    Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

    By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

    If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

    Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

    But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

    Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

    Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

    Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

    Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

    Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

    Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

    Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

    Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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    Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

    SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

    Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

    “It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

    Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

    “What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

    Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

    “When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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    Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

    SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

    Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

    Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

    Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.