Mickelson 1 off lead; Kang flirts with 59

By Al TaysFebruary 12, 2016, 10:57 pm

East met West on Friday at Pebble Beach, where the 36-hole leaderboard includes Phil Mickelson, a four-time winner of this event; Hiroshi Iwata, a Japan Tour veteran who is a member of the "I shot 63 in a major" club; and Sunghoon Kang, a South Korean pro who has a similar name as a Korean-American actor who played "Han Seoul-Oh" in the "Fast and Furious" movies. Here's how things are shaking out under the watchful eye of the blimp on the Monterey Peninsula.

Leaderboard: Sung Kang (-11, MP), Hiroshi Iwata (-11, PB) Phil Mickelson (-10, MP), Freddie Jacobson (-10, SH), Chez Reavie (-10, PB).

What it means: Mickelson is looking to match Mark O'Meara's feat of winning five times at Pebble Beach. More important, though, Lefty is looking to break a victory drought that dates back to the 2013 Open Championship.

Round of the day: Kang, who shot 72 on Thursday, was on 59 watch all the way to his final hole. Playing at par-71 Monterey Peninsula CC (with Fluff Cowan on his bag), he teed off on No. 10 and played the par-37 back nine in 6 under thanks to four birdies and an eagle. On the par-34 front, he made five more birdies to shoot 29, but could not birdie the par-3 ninth and "settled" for a 60

Best of the rest: Mickelson and Patrick Reed each shot 65 at Monterey Peninsula. Mickelson did it with an eagle, six birdies and two bogeys, while Reed had seven birdies and a lone bogey.

Biggest disappointment: Dustin Johnson. Even starting his round with a hole-out for eagle at the par-5 10th, DJ managed only a 73 at Pebble Beach. A triple-bogey 8 at No. 6 didn't help.

Celebrity watch: Kenny G, Carson Daly, Andy Garcia, Joe Don Rooney, Wayne Gretzky, Justin Timberlake, Condoleezza Rice, Mark Wahlberg. Check out our celebrity gallery.

Celebrity question of the day: Am I the only one hearing "Joe Don Looney" (colorful NFL running back from the '60s) when the announcers talk about "Joe Don Rooney" (member of the band Rascal Flatts)?

Main storyline heading into the weekend: Most eyes will be on Mickelson and his quest to finally get a win.

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.

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Wie takes shot at LPGA dress code in crop top

By Grill Room TeamDecember 10, 2017, 5:33 pm

The new LPGA dress code got mixed reviews when it was announced in July, and Michelle Wie is taking full advantage of her offseason with no restrictions.

The 28-year-old former U.S. Women's Open champion is keeping her game sharp while back in her home state of Hawaii, but couldn't help taking a shot at the rules while doing it, posting a photo to Instagram of her playing golf in a crop top with the caption, "Offseason = No dress code fine."

Offseason = No dress code fines #croptopdroptop

A post shared by Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) on

Wie isn't the first to voice her displeasure with the rules. Lexi Thompson posted a similar photo and caption to Instagram shortly after the policy was announced.