Mickelson fails to make birdie, struggles off tee

By Will GrayJanuary 16, 2014, 1:34 pm

Thus far in Abu Dhabi, the words and the music aren't in sync for Phil Mickelson.

After the five-time major winner extolled the virtues of his new Callaway driver during early-week interviews leading up to the HSBC Abu Dhabi Golf Championship, Mickelson struggled mightily off the tee in Thursday's opening round, carding a 1-over 73 that left him six shots off the pace.

"It was rusty. I didn't strike the ball very well; my swing feels a little rusty," Mickelson said. "I'm hoping just to work my way into this tournament. This first round I played a little cautious."

The southpaw's level of caution was largely a product of his inability to put himself in position off the tee Thursday at Abu Dhabi Golf Club. Mickelson hit just six of 14 fairways in the opening round, and found his target just once in six attempts with his new driver. He opened his round with 17 consecutive pars before closing with a bogey on the par-4 ninth hole, marking the first time the 43-year-old has failed to make a birdie during a round on the PGA or European tour since the 2012 U.S. Open at Olympic.

Following the round, Mickelson admitted that a recalibration off the tee may be in order because of the unusually penal rough lining the fairways.

"You've got to get the ball in play off the tee, there's no other way around it. I hit a lot of 3-woods today trying to get it in play," he added. "I may have to even fall back and hit hybrids just to get the ball in the fairway because you can't play from the rough."

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PGA Tour, LPGA react to video review rules changes

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 1:32 pm

The USGA and R&A announced on Monday updates to the Rules of Golf, including no longer accepting call-ins relating to violations. The PGA Tour and LPGA, which were both part of a working group of entities who voted on the changes, issued the following statements:

PGA Tour:

The PGA Tour has worked closely with the USGA and R&A on this issue in recent years, and today's announcement is another positive step to ensure the Rules of Golf align with how the game is presented and viewed globally. The PGA Tour will adopt the new Local Rule beginning January 1, 2018 and evolve our protocols for reviewing video evidence as outlined.


We are encouraged by the willingness of the governing bodies to fully vet the issues and implement real change at a pace much quicker than the sport has seen previously. These new adaptations, coupled with changes announced earlier this year, are true and meaningful advances for the game. The LPGA plans to adopt fully the protocols and new Local Rule as outlined.

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Sharma closes on Monday, wins Joburg Open

By Associated PressDecember 11, 2017, 12:43 pm

JOHANNESBURG – Shubhankar Sharma won his first European Tour title by a shooting 3-under 69 Monday in the final round of the weather-delayed Joburg Open.

The 21-year-old Indian resumed his round on the eighth green after play was halted early Sunday afternoon because of storms. He parred that hole, birdied No. 9 and made par on every hole on the back nine.

Full-field scores from the Joburg Open

Sharma finished at 23-under 264, three strokes ahead of the pack, and qualified for next year's British Open, too.

''I actually wasn't going to come here about a week ago ... so I'm really happy that I came,'' said Sharma, who shot 61 in the second round. ''I don't think I'm ever going forget my first time in South Africa.''

Erik van Rooyen (66) was second, three strokes ahead of Shaun Norris (65) and Tapio Pulkkanen (68).

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 11, 2017, 12:30 pm

Sharma among three Open qualifiers at Joburg Open

By Will GrayDecember 11, 2017, 12:16 pm

Shubhankar Sharma earned his first career European Tour win at the rain-delayed Joburg Open and punched his ticket to The Open in the process.

Sharma returned to Randpark Golf Club Monday morning after storms washed out much of the scheduled final day of play. Beginning the re-start with a four-shot lead, he hung on to win by three over South Africa's Erik Van Rooyen.

Both men can make travel plans for Carnoustie next summer, as this was the second event in the Open Qualifying Series with three spots available for players not otherwise exempt who finished inside the top 10. The final spot went to Shaun Norris, who tied for third with Finland's Tapio Pulkkanen but had a higher world ranking (No. 192) than Pulkkanen (No. 197) entering the week.

The Joburg Open was the final official European Tour event of the year. The next tournament in the Open Qualifying Series will be the SMBC Singapore Open in January, where four spots at Carnoustie will be up for grabs.