Mickelson claims third green jacket

By Doug FergusonApril 12, 2010, 2:46 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Phil Mickelson ended a trying year by shooting a 5-under 67 for a three-stroke win over England’s Lee Westwood and an emotional third Masters title Sunday.

As Mickelson strolled up to the 18th green, his third green jacket as good as won, he wondered if his wife would be waiting for him.

She’d been there the first two times he won the Masters, but he would’ve understood if she decided to skip this victory celebration.

Yet there she was, waiting with an embrace they’ll remember for a lifetime.

Phil and Amy Mickelson
Phil Mickelson gives wife Amy a kiss after winning the Masters. (Getty Images)

“I normally don’t shed tears over wins,” Mickelson said, his eyes watering. “When Amy and I hugged off 18, that was a very emotional moment for us. I’ll cherish every moment of this week.”

Eleven months ago, Amy Mickelson was diagnosed with breast cancer. While the prognosis is good, she’s worn down physically. It’s difficult to get out among the crowds at a place like Augusta National.

“She didn’t feel well and she doesn’t have energy,” her husband said. “To have her here and share this moment and share the joy of winning on 18, and to share this with my kids, is something that we’ll look back on the rest of our lives.”

So, a tournament that started with the focus on a man who committed serial adultery, ended with a victory celebration that was much more family friendly.

This has been a trying year for Mickelson, who not only dealt with his wife’s illness, but his mother’s, too. She also is battling breast cancer. Not surprising that he’s been distracted from the game he plays for a living.

Mickelson arrived at Augusta National without a top five finish all year. But he’s always felt as comfortable at this course as any other, winning his first major here in 2004, then another two years later. When his family arrived – Amy, their three kids and his mother – Mickelson knew this might be the week he started playing like himself again.

He opened with a 5-under 67. He closed with two more 67s on the weekend. Mickelson played with that same bravado and confidence that has always been his trademark – and often his undoing.

He certainly could’ve gone either way at the par-5 13th hole, where he followed a birdie putt in Amen Corner that gave him the outright lead by pushing his drive into the trees along the right side of the fairway.

Most golfers would have played it safe, punched out into the fairway to give themselves at least a shot at birdie and no worse than par. But Mickelson saw an opening between the trees and decided to go for the green – 207 yards away – with a 6-iron.

“I had a good lie in the pine needles,” Mickelson explained. “I was going to have to go through that gap if I laid up or went for the green. I was going to have to hit a decent shot. The gap was a little bit wider – well, it wasn’t huge, but it was big enough for a ball to fit through.”

Mickelson ripped away with all his might, watched the ball clear the trees and soar through the air, plopping down 4 feet from the flag.

“I just felt like at that time,” he said, “I needed to trust my swing and hit a shot. It came off perfect.”

Even though Mickelson missed the short putt and settled for birdie instead of eagle, that was the hole where he let it be known this tournament was his. He finished with a 16-under 272, three strokes ahead of Westwood and four ahead of Anthony Kim, who shot 31 on the back side for a closing 65.

“It’s one of those shots only Phil could pull off,” said Westwood, who started the final round with a one-stroke lead but wound up just missing another major title. “I think most people would have chipped that one out. But that’s what great players do: They pull off great shots at the right time.”

Mickelson was steady the rest of the way – another birdie at the par-5 15th, pars at the tricky 16th and 17th holes. That way, he could play it safe for once, going with the 3-wood at No. 18 to assure he didn’t spray it up in the trees and cost himself a tournament that no one else could win, but he could still lose.

As the patrons rose to salute a familiar champion who was clearly the sentimental favorite on this day, Mickelson had one person on his mind. She was there, and she was beaming.

“I was just really glad she was there,” he said. “I knew she would be watching. I didn’t know if she would be behind 18. To walk off the green and share that with her is very emotional for us.”

Woods’ wife, Elin, would not have been waiting if her husband had won.

She stuck with her plan not to be at Augusta with their two kids, undoubtedly still grappling with the stunning reports that her husband has been cheating with numerous women.

At the start of the week, Woods hoped that returning to golf from a five-month layoff would return some normalcy to a life that’s been tabloid fodder since the infamous November night car crash.

Plenty questioned if Woods was making the right call, returning from such a long layoff at the first major of the year, without so much as a warmup event. Some wondered if he’d even make the cut.

He did that and so much more, contending for all four days.

But he never made much of a run on Sunday, undone by one wild swing after another and a three-putt bogey from 6 feet at the 14th hole, the sort of mistakes he couldn’t afford facing a four-stroke deficit at the start of the final round.

When Woods walked off No. 18, having closed with a birdie that only assured he would finish in a fourth-place tie with South Korea’s K.J. Choi, his answers were a little terse and clipped.

“I wanted to win this tournament,” he said. “As the week wore on, I kept hitting the ball worse.”

Woods said he will now take another break from golf.

“I’m going to take a little time off,” he said, “and kind of re-evaluate things.”

Westwood said there’s no need to re-evaluate what he’s doing, even though he keeps coming up just short on the biggest stages.

Over the previous seven majors, he finished third three times. Now, he’s been a runner-up.

“When you’ve come close, there’s a tinge of disappointment straight off,” Westwood said. “I was disappointed walking up to the last green, obviously. But once that’s passed, I didn’t do too much wrong today. I can walk away with a lot of positive thoughts and memories from this Masters.”

So can Mickelson.

“I’m in love with this place,” he said. “It brings out the best in me.”

Even sweeter than Phil Mickelson slipping into another green jacket was seeing his wife waiting for him behind the 18th green Sunday at Augusta National with tears streaming down her face.

She had not been at a golf tournament since being diagnosed with breast cancer 11 months ago.

He had not looked the same ever since.

A shattered world seemed at peace in the fading sunlight Sunday at the Masters, where Mickelson made one last birdie for a 5-under 67 and a three-shot victory over Lee Westwood.

The conclusion was far more emotional than anyone expected.

“To win this tournament, it’s the most amazing feeling,” Mickelson said from Butler Cabin. “This has been a special day. I’ll look back on this day as very memorable, something I’ll always cherish.”

Determined to win one for his family, Mickelson made two remarkable par saves from the trees, then made a gutsy play off the pine straw and over Rae’s Creek on the par-5 13th hole. It was the kind of shot that has brought Mickelson so much criticism for taking too many risks. This time, nothing was going to stop him.

His final birdie only mattered on the scorecard, 16-under 272, the lowest by a Masters champion since Tiger Woods in 2001. Mickelson had this won as he walked up the 18th fairway to a massive ovation. He raised both arms when the putt fell, had a long embrace with caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay then walked toward the scoring hut and into Amy Mickelson’s arms.

Standing behind them was Mary Mickelson, his mother, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in July.
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Lesson with Woods fetches $210K for Harvey relief

By Will GrayDecember 13, 2017, 2:51 pm

A charity event featuring more than two dozen pro golfers raised more than $1 million for Hurricane Harvey relief, thanks in large part to a hefty price paid for a private lesson with Tiger Woods.

The pro-am fundraiser was organized by Chris Stroud, winner of the Barracuda Championship this summer, and fellow pro and Houston resident Bobby Gates. It was held at Bluejack National in Montgomery, Texas, about an hour outside Houston and the first Woods-designed course to open in the U.S.

The big-ticket item on the auction block was a private, two-person lesson with Woods at Bluejack National that sold for a whopping $210,000.

Other participants included local residents like Stacy Lewis, Patrick Reed and Steve Elkington as well as local celebrities like NBA All-Star Clyde Drexler, Houston Texans quarterback T.J. Yates and Houston Astros owner Jim Crane.

Stroud was vocal in his efforts to help Houston rebuild in the immediate aftermath of the storm that ravaged the city in August, and he told the Houston Chronicle that he plans to continue fundraising efforts even after eclipsing the event's $1 million goal.

"This is the best event I have ever been a part of, and this is just a start," Stroud said. "We have a long way to go for recovery to this city, and we want to keep going with this and raise as much as we can and help as many victims as we can."

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LPGA schedule features 34 events, record purse

By Randall MellDecember 13, 2017, 2:02 pm

The LPGA schedule will once again feature 34 events next year with a record $68.75 million in total purses, the tour announced on Wednesday.

While three events are gone from the 2018 schedule, three new events have been added, with two of those on the West Coast and one in mainland China.

The season will again start with the Pure Silk Bahamas Classic on Paradise Island (Jan. 25-28) and end with the CME Group Tour Championship in Naples, Fla., (Nov. 15-18).

The LPGA played for $65 million in total prize money in 2017.

An expanded West Coast swing in the front half of the schedule will now include the HUGEL-JTBC Championship in the Los Angeles area April 19-22. The site will be announced at a later date.

The tour will then make a return to San Francisco’s Lake Merced Golf Club the following week, in a new event sponsored by L&P Cosmetics, a Korean skincare company. Both new West Coast tournaments will be full-field events.

The tour’s third new event will be played in Shanghai Oct. 18-21 as part of the fall Asian swing. The title sponsor and golf course will be announced at a later date.

“Perhaps the most important aspect of our schedule is the consistency — continuing to deliver strong playing opportunities both in North America and around the world, while growing overall purse levels every year,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said in a statement. “There is simply no better [women’s] tour opportunity in the world, when it comes to purses, global TV coverage or strength of field. It’s an exciting time in women’s golf, with the best players from every corner of the globe competing against each other in virtually every event.”

While the Evian Championship will again be played in September next year, the tour confirmed its plans to move its fifth major to the summer in 2019, to be part of a European swing, with the Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and the Ricoh Women’s British Open.

The Manulife LPGA Classic and the Lorena Ochoa Invitational are not returning to the schedule next year. Also, the McKayson New Zealand Women’s Open will not be played next year as it prepares to move to the front of the 2019 schedule, to be paired with the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.

The U.S. Women’s Open will make its new place earlier in the summer, a permanent move in the tour’s scheduling. It will be played May 31-June 3 at Shoal Creek Golf Club outside Birmingham, Ala. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship (June 28-July 1) will be played at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on the north side of Chicago and the Ricoh Women’s British Open (Aug. 2-5) will be played at Royal Lytham & St. Annes in England.

For the first time since its inception in 2014, the UL International Crown team event is going overseas, with the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea, scheduled to host the event Oct. 4-7. The KEB Hana Bank Championship will be played in South Korean the following week.

Here is the LPGA's schedule for 2018:

Jan. 25-28: Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic; Paradise Island, Bahamas; Purse: $1.4 million

Feb. 15-18: ISPS Handa Women's Australian Open; Adelaide, Australia; Purse: $1.3 million

Feb. 21-24: Honda LPGA Thailand; Chonburi, Thailand; Purse: $1.6 million

March 1-4: HSBC Women's World Championship; Singapore; Purse: $1.5 million

March 15-18: Bank of Hope Founders Cup; Phoenix, Arizona; Purse: $1.5 million

March 22-25: Kia Classic; Carlsbad, California; Purse: $1.8 million

March 29 - April 1: ANA Inspiration; Rancho Mirage, California; Purse: $2.8 million

April 11-14: LOTTE Championship; Kapolei, Oahu, Hawaii; Purse: $2 million

April 19-22: HUGEL-JTBC Championship; Greater Los Angeles, California; Purse: $1.5 million

April 26-29: Name to be Announced; San Francisco, California; Purse: $1.5 million

May 3-6: Volunteers of America LPGA Texas Classic; The Colony, Texas; Purse: $1.3 million

May 17-20: Kingsmill Championship; Williamsburg, Virginia; Purse: $1.3 million

May 24-27: LPGA Volvik Championship; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Purse: $1.3 million

May 31 - June 3: U.S. Women's Open Championship; Shoal Creek, Alabama; Purse: $5 million

June 8-10: ShopRite LPGA Classic presented by Acer; Galloway, New Jersey; Purse: $1.75 million

June 14-17: Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give; Grand Rapids, Michigan; Purse: $2 million

June 22-24: Walmart NW Arkansas Championship presented by P&G; Rogers, Arkansas; Purse: $2 million

June 28 - July 1: KPMG Women's PGA Championship; Kildeer, Illinois; Purse: $3.65 million

July 5-8: Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic; Oneida, Wisconsin; Purse: $2 million

July 12-15: Marathon Classic presented by Owens-Corning and O-I; Sylvania, Ohio; Purse: $1.6 million

July 26-29: Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open; East Lothian, Scotland; Purse: $1.5 million

Aug. 2-5: Ricoh Women's British Open; Lancashire, England; Purse: $3.25 million

Aug. 16-19: Indy Women in Tech Championship presented by Guggenheim; Indianapolis, Indiana; Purse: $2 million

Aug. 23-26: CP Women's Open; Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; Purse: $2.25 million

Aug. 30 - Sept. 2: Cambia Portland Classic; Portland, Oregon; Purse: $1.3 million

Sept. 13-16: The Evian Championship; Evian-les-Bains, France; Purse: $3.85 million

Sept. 27-30: Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Purse: $1.8 million

Oct. 4-7: UL International Crown; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $1.6 million

Oct. 11-14: LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship; Incheon, Korea; Purse: $2 million

Oct. 18-21: Name to be Announced; Shanghai, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Oct. 25-28: Swinging Skirts LPGA Taiwan Championship; New Taipei City, Chinese Taipei; Purse: $2.2 million

Nov. 2-4: TOTO Japan Classic; Shiga, Japan; Purse: $1.5 million

Nov. 7-10: Blue Bay LPGA; Hainan Island, China; Purse: $2.1 million

Nov. 15-18: CME Group Tour Championship; Naples, Florida; Purse: $2.5 million

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 4, Jordan Spieth

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 1:00 pm

Dismissed because he’s supposedly too short off the tee, or not accurate enough with his irons, or just a streaky putter, Jordan Spieth is almost never the answer to the question of which top player, when he’s at his best, would win in a head-to-head match.

And yet here he is, at the age of 24, with 11 career wins and three majors, on a pace that compares favorably with the giants of the game. He might not possess the firepower of Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, but since he burst onto the PGA Tour in 2013 he has all that matters – a better résumé.

Spieth took the next step in his development this year by becoming the Tour’s best iron player – and its most mentally tough.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


Just a great putter? Oh, puhleeze: He won three times despite putting statistics (42nd) that were his worst since his rookie year. Instead, he led the Tour in strokes gained-approach the green and this summer showed the discipline, golf IQ and bounce-back ability that makes him such a unique talent. 

Even with his putter misbehaving, Spieth closed out the Travelers Championship by holing a bunker shot in the playoff, then, in perhaps an even bigger surprise, perfectly executed the player-caddie celebration, chest-bumping caddie Michael Greller. A few weeks later, sublime iron play carried him into the lead at Royal Birkdale, his first in a major since his epic collapse at the 2016 Masters.

Once again his trusty putter betrayed him, and by the time he arrived on the 13th tee, he was tied with Matt Kuchar. What happened next was the stuff of legend – a lengthy ruling, gutsy up-and-down, stuffed tee shot and go-get-that putt – that lifted Spieth to his third major title.

Though he couldn’t complete the career Grand Slam at the PGA, he’ll likely have, oh, another two decades to join golf’s most exclusive club.

In the barroom debate of best vs. best, you can take the guys with the flair, with the booming tee shots and the sky-high irons. Spieth will just take the trophies.

THE MAJORS

Masters Tournament: Return to the 12th; faltering on Sunday (T-11)

Spieth pars 12, but makes quad on 15

Spieth takes another gut punch, but still standing

Article: Spieth splashes to worst Masters finish

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U.S. Open: 1 over usually good ... not at Erin Hills (T-35)

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The Open: Unforgettable finish leads to major win No. 3 (1st)

Spieth survives confusing ordeal on 13

Photos: Spieth's incredible journey on 13

Take it, it's yours: Spieth gets claret jug

Chamblee: Spieth doesn't have 'it' - 'he has it all'

Article: Spieth silences his doubters - even himself

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PGA Championship: Career Grand Slam bid comes up well short (T-28)

Article: Spieth accepts that Grand Slam is off the table


TWO REGULAR TOUR WINS

AT&T Pebble Beach

Article: Spieth rising from 'valley' after Pebble Beach win

Travelers Championship

Spieith wins dramatic Travelers in playoff

Watch: Spieth holes bunker shot, goes nuts


FUN OUTSIDE OF TOUR LIFE


PHOTO GALLERIES

Photos: Jordan Spieth and Annie Verret

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Photos: Jordan Spieth through the years

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 13, 2017, 12:30 pm