Notes Leftys fun project fighting breast cancer

By Doug FergusonMay 19, 2009, 4:00 pm
What started as a fun project to share his wizardry with the short game has gone beyond Phil Mickelsons expectations.
 
His Secrets of the Short Game DVD debuted last month at No. 2 on the Billboard Video Sales recreational sports category. Early sales have topped 25,000 copies, and it now is in the second print run.
 
We did a lot better than we prepared for, Mickelson said, which is a good problem to have.
 
Lefty considered it a success even before it went on sale.
 
He has amazed with his short game since he was a kid and his father built a putting green in the yard. Mickelson is most famous for his flop shot, but he has shown incredible imagination from all points around the green and with all clubs, such as the side sauce he put on a wedge at The Players Championship one year, or the 9-iron he played from a buried lie in front of a lip in a bunker at the Ryder Cup.
 
Making the DVD allowed him to teach himself.
 
I had no script, he said. I had to come up with the outline and decide what I wanted to say. That forced me to think about what I actually do and how I can articulate it clearly. Its not a difficult concept. Its easy to understand and emulate. I had to identify what I do, and I had to simplify it. I got rid of the complex jargon and got back to the basic techniques.
 
The DVD was produced by Terry Jastrow, a former ABC golf producer who created instruction videos with Jack Nicklaus and Tom Watson among others in the 1980s. It was shot over two days in January at The Bridges of Rancho Santa Fe. The DVD is about two hours and covers every shot inside 50 yards.
 
Mickelson said he wanted to help players of all levels, but the highest compliments have been seeing some tour players using the drills. And last week, he received an unsolicited testimonial from Ted Purdy.
 
Purdy had 20 birdies at Hilton Head and only finished at 2-under 282 for the tournament. He was browsing through a PGA Tour store in the airport when he came across Mickelsons DVD and plunked down $49.95.
 
Ive always been a decent ball striker, and my putting has turned around, but my short game always seems to lag, Purdy said. I bought the DVD, and Ive been chipping great ever since.
 

 
SKINNERS LIFE: The economy didnt stop Val Skinner from raising another $500,000 through her LIFE event, believed to be the biggest one-day golf fundraiser for breast cancer programs.
 
The 10th anniversary was held Monday at Ridgewood Country Club in New Jersey. Among the 28 LPGA players who participated were Solheim Cup captain Beth Daniel, Meg Mallon, Morgan Pressel, Karrie Webb, Laura Davies and Kraft Nabisco winner Brittany Lincicome.
 
LIFE stands for LPGA Pros in the Fight to Eradicate breast cancer. It now has raised more than $5.6 million for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Cancer Institute of New Jersey. Skinner founded LIFE in honor of former LPGA player Heather Farr, who died of breast cancer in 1993 at age 28.
 
While I am extremely proud of what LIFE has accomplished in the past decade, I know that we still have much work ahead in the fight to eradicate breast cancer, Skinner said.
 

 
DIVOTS: This isnt a shot Briny Baird will face on the PGA Tour ' a 9-iron from 230 yards with a 375-foot drop in elevation. In a promotion for his corporate sponsor, P.F. Changs China Bistro, Baird hit from the top of the Omni Hotel to a target in the outfield of Petco Park, home of the San Diego Padres. Baird hit the target eight out of 10 times, meaning the restaurant will make good on an online coupon for a free lettuce wrap, along with a $25,000 donation to the San Diego Navy/Marine Corps Relief Society. John Kaczkowski has been promoted to president and CEO of the Western Golf Association. He succeeds Don Johnson, who has led the WGA the last 21 years. Kaczkowski had been the associations VP of tournaments. Dicks Sporting Goods has agreed to continue as a title sponsor on the Champions Tour for upstate New York through 2012. People vs. the Pros is returning to the silly-season schedule this year, played Oct. 23-27 at Pinehurst Resort on courses Nos. 1, 2 and 4. The two winning amateurs after 54 holes will use their handicap index to play the final round against Fred Couples and Nick Faldo.
 

 
STAT OF THE WEEK: The Irish Open offered more world ranking points than the Texas Open, the first time the European Tour has had a stronger field than the PGA Tour since the third week of January.
 

 
FINAL WORD: When youre trying to win a tournament, youre not playing for money. The only time youre playing for money is when youre not going to win the tournament. ' Scott Verplank.
 

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  • Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

    A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

    In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

    “I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

    Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


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    Full-field scores from the CME Group Tour Championship


    “I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

    Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

    “We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

    How does she feel?

    “I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

    Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

    New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

    Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

    She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

    “I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

    Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


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    Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

    Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

    Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

    “Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

    Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

    “I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”

    You Oughta Know: LPGA's Sunday scenarios

    By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:17 am

    NAPLES, Fla. – The CME Group Tour Championship is loaded with pressure-packed subplots Sunday at Tiburon Golf Club.

    Here’s what You Oughta Know about the prizes at stake:

    Race to the CME Globe

    Lexi Thompson and Sung Hyun Park are 1-2 in CME Globe points. They are best positioned Sunday to take home the $1 million jackpot in the season-long competition.

    Thompson and Park are tied for fifth in the tournament, one shot off the lead. If either of them wins, she will take home the jackpot.

    The way it’s unfolding Thompson is a good bet to take home the jackpot by merely finishing ahead of Park, unless they both stumble badly on Sunday.

    Ariya Jutanugarn is tied for the lead. She must win to take home the jackpot, but she would also need Thompson to finish ninth or worse and Park to finish eighth or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points to make a bold Sunday charge.

    Stacy Lewis is one shot off the lead with a longshot chance at the jackpot. She must win the tournament while Thompson finishes 26th or worse, Park finishes 12th or worse and nobody else among the top 12 in points makes a bold Sunday charge.

    So Yeon Ryu, Shanshan Feng and Brooke Henderson are among others who still have a shot at the $1 million prize, but they have fallen back in the pack and need bold Sunday charges to take home the jackpot.

    Rolex Player of the Year

    The Rolex Player of the Year Award remains a four-player race.

    Ryu (162), Feng (159), Park (157) and Thompson (147) all have a chance to win the award.

    Park and Thompson are best positioned to make Sunday moves to overtake Ryu.

    Park needs to finish sixth or better to win the award outright; Thompson needs to win the tournament to win the award.

    It’s simple math.

    The top 10 in the tournament will be awarded points.

    1st - 30 points

    2nd – 12 points

    3rd – 9 points

    4th – 7 points

    5th – 6 points

    6th – 5 points

    7rd – 4 points

    8th – 3 points

    9th – 2 points

    10th – 1 point

    Vare Trophy

    Thompson took a 69.147 scoring average to Naples. Park needs to finish nine shots ahead of Thompson to have a shot at the trophy.

    Money-winning title

    Park leads the tour in money winnings with $2,262,472. Ryu is the only player who can pass her Sunday, and Ryu must win the tournament to do so. Ryu is tied for 32nd, five shots off the lead. If Ryu wins the tournament, she also needs Park to finish worse than solo second.

    Rolex world No. 1 ranking

    World No. 1 Feng, No. 2 Park and No. 3 Ryu are separated by just three hundredths of a point.

    Because they are so close, the scenarios for overtaking Feng are head spinning.

    At No. 4, Thompson is a full average ranking point behind Feng, but she could become the sixth different player this season to move to No. 1. Thompson, however, has to win Sunday to have a chance to do so, and then it will depend on what Feng, Park and Ryu do. Again, the scenarios are complex.

    Cook leads RSM Classic by three at Sea Island

    By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 12:28 am

    ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. - PGA Tour rookie Austin Cook shot a 4-under 66 on Saturday to increase his lead to three strokes in the RSM Classic.

    Cook, a shot ahead after a second-round 62, had five birdies and a bogey - his first of the week - to reach 18-under 194 with a round left at Sea Island Golf Club's Seaside Course.

    ''Putting is key right now,'' Cook said. ''Been able to make a lot of clutch putts for the pars to save no bogeys. Hitting the ball pretty much where we're looking and giving ourselves good opportunities on every hole.''

    Former University of Georgia player Chris Kirk was second after a 64.

    ''I'm really comfortable here,'' Kirk said. ''I love Sea Island. I lived here for 6 1/2 years, so I played the golf course a lot, SEC Championships and come down here for the RSM Classic. My family and I, we come down here a few other times a year as well.''

    Brian Gay was another stroke back at 14 under after a 69.

    ''I love the course,'' Gay said. ''We keep getting different wind directions so it's keeping us on our toes. Supposed to be another completely different wind direction tomorrow, so we're getting a new course every day.''


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    J.J. Spaun had a 62 to get to 13 under.

    ''I just kind of played stress-free golf out there and kept the golf ball in front of me,'' Spaun said. ''I had a lot of looks and scrambled pretty well, even though it was only a handful of times, but pretty overall pleased with how I played today.''

    Cook has made the weekend cuts in all four of his starts this season. The 26-year-old former Arkansas player earned his PGA Tour card through the Web.com Tour.

    ''I think with an extra year on the Web this past year, I really grew mentally and with my game, just kind of more confidence,'' Cook said. ''I was able to put myself in contention on the Web.com more this year than I have in the past. I think I've just, you know, learned from experiences on the Web to help me grow out here.''

    He planned to keep it simple Saturday night.

    ''I've got my parents here and my in-laws are both here as well as my wife,'' Cook said. ''Go home and just have a good home-cooked meal and just kind of enjoy the time and embrace the moment.''

    Kirk won the last of his four PGA Tour titles in 2015 at Colonial.

    ''It's nice to be back in contention again,'' Kirk said. ''It's been a little while for me. But I felt great out there today, I felt really comfortable, and so hopefully it will be the same way tomorrow and I'll keep my foot on the pedal and stay aggressive, try to make some birdies.''