Phil has second-most major runner-ups of all time

By Golf Channel Digital, Bailey MosierJuly 17, 2016, 7:40 pm

TROON, Scotland – Phil Mickelson shot a bogey-free final-round 65 Sunday at The Open and bested the field by 11 shots. Well, he bested everyone except Henrik Stenson, who won by three Sunday to claim his first major championship and deny Mickelson his sixth.

Mickelson is no stranger to disappointment in major championships. Sunday marked his 11th career runner-up finish. Only Jack Nicklaus (19) has more. Of course, Nicklaus also had 18 major wins.

“It’s disappointing to come in second, but I’m happy for Henrik,” Mickelson said. “He’s really a great champion. We’ve been friends for some time. I’ve always thought that he is one of the best ball-strikers in the game and that major championships are perfectly suited for him.

“I knew that he would ultimately come through and win. I’m happy that he did. I'm disappointed that it was at my expense.”

Here’s a closer look at all 11 of Mickelson’s second-place finishes:

1999 U.S. Open: Payne Stewart drained a 15-footer for par on the final hole at Pinehurst to edge Mickelson by a shot. It was the first of six runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open.

2001 PGA Championship: Mickelson was paired with David Toms at Atlanta Athletic Club and the two went back and forth for most of the day. Ultimately, Toms won by a shot even though Mickelson shot 68 in the final round.

2002 U.S. Open: This was at Bethpage Black, and even though Mickelson shot a final-round 70, he still finished second by three shots to Tiger Woods.

2004 U.S. Open: Retief Goosen putting on one of the all-time putting performances to win by two shots at Shinnecock Hills. In the face of Goosen's brilliance, Mickelson hung tough until the end. He made birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 before a double bogey on the 17th hole derailed his hopes.

2006 U.S. Open: Winged Foot. This should almost be in a category by itself. Mickelson needed par on the final hole to win but he made double bogey when he blew his drive way left. You're far more ikely to remember that week for the guy who lost than the one who won. Hey, Geoff Ogilvy!

2009 U.S. Open: Mickelson finished two shots behind Lucas Glover, once again at Bethpage Black. He was tied for the lead after 13, but three-putted for bogey on 15 and made another bogey on the 17th hole.

2011 Open: Darren Clarke won at Royal St. George’s by three shots. It wasn’t particularly close for Mickelson, but it proved to him that he could contend more regularly in links golf.

2013 U.S. Open: Yet another crushing U.S. Open, this one at Merion. This one came at the hands of Justin Rose, by two shots. Mickelson had the trophy squarely within reach but made bogey on three of the last six holes.

2014 PGA Championship: At Valhalla, Mickelson was three shots behind Rory McIlroy at the start of the day and shot a final-round 66. He played beautifully down the stretch but McIlroy was too tough and won by a shot.

2015 Masters: This one didn’t hurt at all because Jordan Spieth was in control the whole way. Mickelson finished second by four shots but never had a real chance to win a fourth green jacket.

2016 Open: Shoots final-round 65, but finishes second by three shots to Henrik Stenson, who fired a final-round 63. Mickelson was 11 shots ahead of third-place J.B. Holmes.

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McCoy earns medalist honors at Q-School

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 am

One year after his budding career was derailed by a car accident, Lee McCoy got back on track by earning medalist honors at the final stage of Tour Q-School.

McCoy shot a final-round 65 at Whirlwind Golf Club in Chandler, Ariz., to finish the 72-hole event at 28 under. That total left him two shots ahead of Sung-Jae Im and guaranteed him fully-exempt status on the developmental circuit in 2018.

It's an impressive turnaround for the former University of Georgia standout who finished fourth at the 2016 Valspar Championship as an amateur while playing alongside Jordan Spieth in the final round. But he broke his wrist in a car accident the day before second stage of Q-School last year, leaving him without status on any major tour to begin the year.

McCoy was not the only player who left Arizona smiling. Everyone in the top 10 and ties will be exempt through the first 12 events of the new Tour season, a group that includes former amateur standouts Curtis Luck (T-3), Sam Burns (T-10) and Maverick McNealy (T-10).

Players who finished outside the top 10 but inside the top 45 and ties earned exemptions into the first eight events of 2018. That group includes Cameron Champ (T-16), who led the field in driving at this year's U.S. Open as an amateur, and Wyndham Clark (T-23).

Everyone who advanced to the final stage of Q-School will have at least conditional Tour status in 2018. Among those who failed to secure guaranteed starts this week were Robby Shelton, Rico Hoey, Jordan Niebrugge, Joaquin Niemann and Kevin Hall.

Els honored with Heisman Humanitarian Award

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 11:41 pm

The annual Heisman Trophy award ceremony is one of the biggest moments in any football season, but there was a touching non-football moment as well on Saturday night as Ernie Els received the Heisman Humanitarian Award.

The award, which had been announced in August, recognized Els' ongoing efforts on behalf of his Els for Autism foundation. Els received the award at Manhattan's PlayStation Theater, where Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield won the Heisman Trophy.

Els, 47, founded Els for Autism in 2009 with his wife after their son, Ben, was diagnosed with autism. Their efforts have since flourished into a 26-acre campus in Jupiter, Fla., and the creation of the Els Center for Excellence in 2015.

The Heisman Humanitarian Award has been given out since 2006. Past recipients include NBA center David Robinson, NFL running back Warrick Dunn, soccer star Mia Hamm and NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon.

A native of South Africa, Els won the U.S. Open in 1994 and 1997 and The Open in 2002 and 2012. He has won 19 times on the PGA Tour and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2011.

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Monday finish for Joburg Open; Sharma leads by 4

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 10, 2017, 8:57 pm

Rain, lightning and hail pushed the Joburg Open to a Monday finish, with India’s Shubhankar Sharma holding a four-stroke lead with 11 holes to play in Johannesburg.

Play is scheduled to resume at 7:30 a.m. local time.

South Africa’s Erik van Rooyen will have a 3-foot putt for birdie to move within three shots of Sharma wen play resumes at the Randpark Golf Club. Sarma is at 22 under par.

Tapio Pulkkanen of Finland and James Morrison of England are tied for third at 14 under. Pulkkanen has 10 holes remaining, Morrison 11.

The top three finishers who are not already exempt, will get spots in next year’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.



Stricker, O'Hair team to win QBE Shootout

By Will GrayDecember 10, 2017, 8:55 pm

It may not count in the official tally, but Steve Stricker is once again in the winner's circle on the PGA Tour.

Stricker teamed with Sean O'Hair to win the two-person QBE Shootout, as the duo combined for a better-ball 64 in the final round to finish two shots clear of Graeme McDowell and Shane Lowry. It's the second win in this event for both men; Stricker won with Jerry Kelly back in 2009 while O'Hair lifted the trophy with Kenny Perry in 2012.

Stricker and O'Hair led wire-to-wire in the 54-hole, unofficial event after posting a 15-under 57 during the opening-round scramble.

"We just really gelled well together," Stricker said. "With his length the first day, getting some clubs into the greens, some short irons for me, we just fed off that first day quite a bit. We felt comfortable with one another."

Full-field scores from the QBE Shootout

Stricker won 12 times during his PGA Tour career, most recently at the 2012 Tournament of Champions. More recently the 50-year-old has been splitting his time on the PGA Tour Champions and captained the U.S. to a victory at the Presidents Cup in October. O'Hair has four official Tour wins, most recently at the 2011 RBC Canadian Open.

Pat Perez and Brian Harman finished alone in third, four shots behind Stricker and O'Hair. Lexi Thompson and Tony Finau, the lone co-ed pairing in the 12-team event, finished among a tie for fourth.