Mickelson gets visit from wife Amy

By Doug FergusonOctober 12, 2009, 6:22 am
Presidents Cup

SAN FRANCISCO – This was the 15th time Phil Mickelson has played in the Presidents Cup or the Ryder Cup, and the first time he came alone. His wife, Amy, is recovering from breast cancer and stayed home in San Diego.

Or so he thought.

Mickelson had no idea that when he returned to his hotel room Saturday night, his wife was hiding in the bathroom.

“It was an incredible surprise,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t think she was coming up, and she actually hid in the bathroom when I walked in the room. I didn’t know she was there, and she scared me pretty good. It was an awesome surprise, though.”

It was a treat for the rest of the team, too.

They had worn pink ribbons in their hat during the week to commemorate breast cancer awareness. Players and wives alike were surprised to find Mickelson and his wife at the team dinner Saturday night.

“It was pretty neat,” Mickelson said. “It was pretty emotional. Just everyone seeing each other was pretty cool.”

Amy Mickelson, who faces more tests over the next few weeks in Houston, did not make it out to Harding Park.

Mickelson said she can only leave the room for a few hours at a time because of her medicine that takes energy out of her.

“Couple good hours each day,” he said.

His wife stayed behind in the hotel during the Sunday singles, when her husband won the final match on the course against Retief Goosen. She was waiting back in the team room for the celebration.

“She looked great,” U.S. captain Fred Couples said. “All the wives were excited.”


JORDAN RULES: Michael Jordan helped the U.S. team win the Presidents Cup. Then some players went home with his jersey.

Captain Fred Couples handed out four limited-edition No. 23 jerseys to show his appreciation for a team that easily defeated the International team for the sixth time in eight tries.

One went to Tiger Woods, another to Steve Stricker, and still another to Anthony Kim, as a way to motivate the young player.

And one was given to Amy Mickelson, who is being treated for breast cancer.

Jordan was an unofficial assistant captain on the U.S. team, and he bonded with players from the moment they all arrived in San Francisco. He was a constant presence in a golf cart on the course, and an even bigger presence in the team room and at team gatherings.

Couples said the smartest thing he did after being named captain was bring Jordan aboard because he was a winner. And when asked if he had any advice to Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin, he had just one thing to say.

“Maybe sign up Michael Jordan.”

Jordan wasn’t on stage for the opening ceremonies so he wouldn’t overshadow the event, but he was in the closing ceremonies. And he came to the team’s media interview afterward, where he talked about the importance of teamwork.

“Obviously I don’t play in team sports anymore, but I’m glad to see that this sport has adapted to a whole team concept,” Jordan said. “Contrary to what people may say, there is team sports here in professional golf at the right time and at the right moments and the right events. So I’m very proud to be a part of it.”


PAIRING PANIC: Fred Couples was never obsessed with having the perfect pairing for the U.S. team, confident that his players were so good they could win no matter who they played with or against.

When he did make them, he said he found it a lot easier than what he thought. For Thursday’s opening foursomes, he said he and assistant captain Jay Haas spent just a few minutes figuring out who would play where.

Then came the pairings for Sunday’s singles matches, and suddenly the easygoing Couples was feeling uneasy. He thought International captain Greg Norman would try to front-load his pairings in an effort to win some early points since his team was down going into the final matches, and had trouble adjusting when that didn’t happen.

“A little bit last night Jay and I were talking, we didn’t want the pairings like they were. We were trying to go the complete opposite,” Couples said. “And I woke up at about 3:30 and for three hours all I did was think, `How are we going to do this and how are we going to do that?’ That’s the only night of the whole week where I worried about anything. I don’t know why. Just the other pairings were so easy.”

Turned out Couples could have rested easy. The first four matches ended in U.S. victory for an insurmountable lead. The Americans won the singles session, 7-5.


THE CONCESSION: For a final touch at this Presidents Cup, Vijay Singh was all square in his match with U.S. Open champion Lucas Glover as they played the 18th. Glover blasted out of a bunker to 7 feet, while Singh had an eagle putt from about 35 feet.

After the Fijian missed, he conceded Glover’s birdie putt to halve the match.

“We had already lost on the 13th hole,” Singh said, alluding to Tiger Woods’ cup-clinching putt. “It was kind of demoralizing. But Lucas played well. He would have made it, anyway.”

Glover said after watching Woods win his match – that gave the Americans more than then 17 1/2 points they needed to win – he and Singh were “pretty much ready to go in then.”

“It was great. It was a good gesture,” Glover said. “I’m not sure he knew what the score was, because he came up afterward and said, ‘I didn’t know that was for a halve. I thought I was 1 up.”’

Glover laughed as he said it, adding it was a fitting way to end the match.

“It was pretty cool of Vijay, even if he jokes around and says he didn’t know what the score was,” Glover said.


BACK IN 2011?: Fred Couples and Greg Norman said they wouldn’t mind returning as captains when the Presidents Cup is held in Australia two years from now.

It’s a natural for Norman, one of the greatest players from Down Under.

“If I was asked to be captain in 2011, yeah, I would absolutely accept it,” Norman said. “I think it would be a joy to go to my home country and a golf club that I’m a member at to go and try and finally win the cup back after 10 years.”

The only International victory came in 1998 at Royal Melbourne.

“Would I do it again? Hell, yeah, I would do it again,” Couples said. “Would I be picked again? I have no idea, but I certainly wouldn’t turn it down. It was … way better than any golf tournament, ever. It was that much fun.”

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Ortiz takes Web.com Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

Former Web.com Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Web.com Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Web.com Tour Player of the Year.

McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

Memo to the golf gods:

If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.


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Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

"I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

"I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

Ball: Titleist Pro V1x