Mickelson not taking cheating accusation lightly
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.
Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome
Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)
The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...
And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.
Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas
He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.
Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.
Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.
In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.
Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.
Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.
Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic
Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double
Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open
Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open
Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row
Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow
Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship
The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ
Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year
And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season
Photo Galleries: Best of ...
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com counted down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below. And click here for the full collection of articles.
Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge
ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.
The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.
They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.
Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.
Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.
Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.
''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''
The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.
In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''
Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.