Ride That Cycle Phil Maybe Not

By George WhiteAugust 11, 2004, 4:00 pm
Phil Mickelson has an awesome opportunity, and I think he should fully take advantage of it. Lets see, he won the Masters. He finished second in the U.S. Open. And he finished third in the British Open.
 
Could he possibly finish fourth in the PGA Championship and make it 1-2-3-4? Will he go for the cycle this week?
 
No, of course not ' not on purpose, anyway. Mickelson has come to Whistling Straits to finish first again ' is there any prize given to someone who busts a cycle with two 1s, a 2 and a 3?
 
Mickelson shudders when he thinks about how close it was to three 1s. A chip here, a putt there, maybe one more drive on the fairway has he contemplated how close he was to having this multiple-win scenario happen?
 
Oh, absolutely, he said. I'm three shots away from having the Grand Slam. Certainly I think about that.
 
The coulda-woulda-shouldas of golf - such thoughts could drive a man to chess. And for a lesser man than Mickelson, it certainly would. Maybe it was all those years of carrying that hated label ' you know the one. That must have made him better able to carry the almosts and come back the next month for yet another try at shedding it.
 
Had it not been for the double bogey on 17 at the U.S. Open that let Reteif Goosen squeeze through to the win ' a three-putt from five feet. And at the British, he finished just one lousy stroke out of the Hamilton-Els playoff. A four-footer for par on 13 stayed out of the cup when he was tied for the lead, and he never could get his nose in front again.
 
I don't dwell on it, he said, and he probably really doesnt. What I try to do is think about what I can do to make up those three shots. I would also like to maybe make up a couple of shots, even at Augusta, so I don't have to make one on the 18th on the last hole for the win.
 
I'm constantly thinking about how to salvage a half a shot here or there or even a quarter of a shot. If I can improve my 72-hole total by three or four shots, it would be a world of difference. That's less than a shot a round. Those are the things I'm trying to improve upon. I've been able to do it well this year, but had I been able to do it just a little bit better, it could have been an incredible year.
 
That Mickelson is enjoying his greatest year ever wont even be debated here. At the end of the day, those two close ones ' the Opens ' will be forgotten. The Masters will live on, of course, and because he won that one, the two setbacks didnt carry quite as much string.
 
I think it would have been quite a bit tougher, absolutely, he said. Having those close chances, having the lead in the final nine and not winning would have been a lot tougher had I not won the Masters.
 
From another viewpoint ' standing outside the ropes, looking at this whole thing strictly as a spectator ' it couldnt get much better. Mickelson has played extremely well. So has Els. Vijay Singh has amassed four wins already. And Tiger Woods has been all around the victory circle, reaching it once.
 
We've had four guys play very well and then we've had some incredible performances from other players, confirmed Mickelson. Todd Hamilton's performance at the British Open is something special and makes the year very exciting. But to have Vijay and Ernie and myself and Retief and Tiger, guys that you expect to play well play well, that makes for a fun year.
 
And how much has it been if youre out there grinding, looking at the guys as one of their opponents?
 
Well, my year is fun because I've been playing well and I had a win at the Masters and have had very consistent play, he said. That's what's made my year fun.
 
And then, it was honesty time.
 
It doesn't really excite me, he confessed, I'll be honest with you, to see Ernie or Vijay play that well.
 
And then, a hearty laugh. You can do that when youve finished 1-2-3 in the majors.
 
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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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    Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

    Well, this is a one new one.

    According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

    “No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

    Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

    “If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

    The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

    “I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

    The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

    Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

    Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.