Mickelson not taking cheating accusation lightly

By Doug FergusonJanuary 31, 2010, 4:09 am
Farmers Insurance OpenSAN DIEGO – Phil Mickelson hinted at legal action for being accused of “cheating,” saying on Saturday that if the PGA Tour did not do something about him being “publicly slandered,” then he would let others handle it.

Mickelson didn’t mention Scott McCarron by name in a series of interviews after his third round at the Farmers Insurance Open.

McCarron was quoted in The San Francisco Chronicle on Friday as saying about Mickelson using the Ping-Eye 2 wedges with square grooves, “It’s cheating, and I’m appalled Phil has put it in play.”

The U.S. Golf Association has a new rule this year that irons have V-shaped grooves. However, the Ping-Eye 2 wedges that were made before April 1, 1990 remain approved for play through a Ping lawsuit that was settled 20 years ago and takes precedence over new regulations.

Mickelson is using one of those wedges this week after reading about John Daly and Dean Wilson using them in Hawaii.

When asked on Friday about McCarron’s quote about him cheating, Mickelson declined to get into what he referred to as “name-calling.” Instead, he suggested that McCarron was upset with the new rule on grooves.

But after a 70 in the third round put Mickelson within four shots of the lead, he made it clear he would not go quietly.

“We all have our opinions on the matter, but a line was crossed and I just was publicly slandered,” Mickelson said. “And because of that, I’ll have to let other people handle that.”

Asked if he was contemplating a lawsuit, Mickelson said, “I’m not going into specifics what that meant.”

Still, it was clear that his message reached PGA Tour headquarters. The Tour released a statement during the third round explaining why the Ping-Eye 2 wedges with square grooves were approved for play.

“Public comments or criticisms characterizing their use as a violation … are inappropriate at best,” the statement said.

Told about the Tour’s statement, Mickelson paused before saying it was “cool if they put that out there.”

“Again, everybody has their opinions and so forth, and it’s healthy to talk about it,” he said. “But when you cross that line and slander someone publicly, that’s when the Tour needs to step in – or someone else.”

McCarron, who missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open, could not be reached for comment. He did not back off his criticism on Friday of Mickelson using the wedges, although he used “bending the rules” instead of “cheating” in his comments.

He maintains that Mickelson, and others using the Ping wedges, are violating the spirit of the new rule.

Mickelson has been feuding with the USGA, in particular senior technical director Dick Rugge, since last summer when it became clear the new grooves would be effective this year.

He said he was not even certain that 20-year-old wedges spun the ball more than his new wedges, yet offered no apologies because the clubs are approved for play.

“I understand black and white,” Mickelson said on Friday. “And I think that myself or any other player is allowed to play those clubs because they’re approved – end of story.”

Instead, the story might just now be starting.

McCarron, who was on the 16-man Players Advisory Council, said the wedges would be discussed on Tuesday at a PAC meeting in Los Angeles with Tour commissioner Tim Finchem.

Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

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.