Loving Phil-ing

By David AllenJune 17, 2009, 4:00 pm
Bookmark and Share
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Judging by the size of the galleries on Wednesday ' four, five deep in many spots on the back nine at Bethpage Black ' and the boisterous chants of Get em Lefty and Go Philly, youd think it was already Saturday at the U.S. Open and Phil Mickelson was making a charge up the leaderboard. Instead, it was a Wednesday practice round, and the pairing was Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Justin Leonard and Darron Stiles, not Mickelson-Tiger Woods, the one so many people are hoping to see this weekend.
Mickelson, the object of New York fans affection in 2002, was back at Bethpage Black on Wednesday, and so were the throngs of Phil backers who adopted him as their own at Bethpage in 02, Shinnecock in 04, Baltusrol in05 and Winged Foot in 06. Only this time, the home crowd was decked out in pink. Not just women, but men, too.
Phil Mickelson
Media and officials follow Phil Mickelson's group Wednesday at Bethpage. (Getty Images)
They were there to cheer Phil and his wife Amy, who is thousands of miles away in San Diego awaiting treatment for breast cancer. Amy Mickelson was diagnosed with the disease a month ago, and since then, the support for the Mickelsons, from Tour players and their wives to fans to cancer survivors, has been incredible. And if Wednesday is any indication, pink will be the predominant color in the galleries this week, just as it was at the Colonial several weeks ago.
Among the thousands of spectators hanging along the ropes on Wednesday hoping to get a glimpse of Mickelson was Janine Augustine, a four-year breast cancer survivor. Augustine, wearing a pink top, pink hat and button that read, I Kicked Cancers Ass, wanted to deliver a message to the Mickelsons and assure them that Amy would beat the disease. Her message came in the form of a button she hoped to give Phil. The button bluntly says, Cancer Can Kiss My Ass.
Its great, said Augustine of all the pink in the crowds on Wednesday. It brings more attention to the cause. Theyve done so much for breast cancer in the last few years, and were so close to a cure. I believe were going to find one, and that would be my message to Amy. Whatever they throw at her, shes going to be fine.
Augustine, who will turn 48 on Thursday, has been a fan of Mickelsons long before she or Amy were diagnosed with breast cancer. She cheered him on in two U.S. Opens at Shinnecock (1995, 2004), at the Black Course in 2002 and will do so again this week.
Hes just a regular guy, said Augustine. Hes a nice guy. Hell smile at you and when you ask for his autograph, he says, Ill sign later, and you can tell he really means it.
Augustine has one other theory why hes so popular with the New York galleries. In 2002, they sang Happy Birthday to Mickelson as if they were singing the words to a Bruce Springsteen song in concert.
Im from [Northport] Long Island. Phil, hes like the Mets, she says. Hes the underdog. Anybody can cheer for the Yankees. Phil, hes the proverbial underdog. Hes our guy.
As Mickelson and hundreds of spectators funneled down the hill toward the 15th tee box, a fan yelled, Best wishes for Amy. Mickelson acknowledged him with a thumbs up, a smile, and a thank you. It was a scene that played itself out hole after hole on Wednesday, and figures to do so for as long as Mickelson plays this week.
He makes eye contact with everyone and interacts with the crowds, thats something that people appreciate, said Matt Jordan of Wanaque, N.J. A lot of people are affected by cancer and that gives them a personal link with him as well. I happen to like him because he plays just like normal golfers do. He tries and hits ridiculous shots like we do.
Mickelson struggled on the closing hole, the par-4 18th, hitting his tee shot well right into a fairway bunker and then dropped his approach shot in a deep, greenside bunker. As Phil made his way down into the bunker, a fan screamed, Phil, even though youre on the beach, we still love you. Mickelson responded with a nod and a smile.
I just love Phil, said Lisa Ryan of Endicott, N.Y. Hes a very personable guy.
Ryans not kidding, either. She wore a white t-shirt that read, I Love Phil, the word Love replaced by a heart sign. She made the shirt herself before making the trip here with her family on Saturday.
'Phil looks like hes enjoying himself out there, said Ryan. Hes more friendly than that other guy.
Says Jordan of Mickelsons chief rival: Tiger might look stone cold and corporate, but everyone prepares differently. People like to root for the underdog, and even though he [Mickelson] is the No. 2 player in the world, you see him as the underdog because Tigers so good. The whole field is the underdog to Tiger.
But even the pro-Tiger fans admit they wont be too disappointed if Mickelson captures his first U.S. Open championship later this week.
Im more of a Tiger fan, but Im rooting for Phil this time because of whats going on off the course with Amy, said Kevin Kennedy of Islip, N.Y. I might even wear pink.
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage ' 2009 U.S. Open
  • Leaderboard ' U.S. Open
  • Man vs. Bethpage
  • Getty Images

    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.

    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

    Getty Images

    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

    Getty Images

    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

    Getty Images

    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.

    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.