Phil Mickelson WGC - Accenture Match Play News Conference

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 24, 2009, 5:00 pm
2007- WGC-Accenture MARANA, Ariz.
 
Q. Talk about your expectations this week and having Cabrera in the first round.
PHIL MICKELSON: We all as players love this event, and it's fun to be back playing the Match Play. We only get this once a year, really. Fortunately we have a chance in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup to play match play, but everybody loves this event. I know what a great player Angel Cabrera is. He won the Open there a year or two ago. But it'll be fun.
 
Q. I know you practiced this morning. Have you had a chance to see the golf course?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't been out there. I'll take a look as soon as we finish up. I hear it's quite challenging.
 
Q. It's hard when you haven't seen the course yet.
PHIL MICKELSON: I don't know what to say regarding the golf course yet.
 
Q. Can you just make something up?
PHIL MICKELSON: From what I can tell around the greens, it is very severe and will require some interesting shots, bump-and-runs, flops, spinning shots. It will be difficult to get the ball close to the hole, and I enjoy that. I like that challenge. I'm looking forward to that challenge. I feel like that gives me a slight advantage in some areas around the greens, being that they're so penalizing and difficult. If short game is a big factor, which I believe it will be, I believe that that's going to play into my strengths.
 
Q. What kind of lift did you get from Riviera, and do you think it's going to carry over?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, first of all, it feels great to win. You know, it feels great to be back in contention. It feels great to be able to pull through when I wasn't hitting some of my best shots and still find it there in the end.
 
I think that it's also kind of a platform for me to hopefully get better. I had a good session with Butch this morning trying to improve on it and build my game up as the coming six weeks come for Augusta.
 
Q. I'm not trying to accentuate on any negative, but of all these WGCs this is the one where you really haven't had a really good chance of winning. I don't think you've reached the semis, have you?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't. I've played well a couple times and lost some matches on the last holes. I lost to Davis Love when I was playing very well, and there was one other year, too. I think I lost to David Toms one year.
 
There's times I've headed into this event playing some of my best golf and just couldn't pull through. I'm going to need a little bit of luck. As we saw last week I have some hot rounds, and I think I'll be okay on those days, but I've had some less than stellar rounds and I'll need a little bit of luck on those.
 
Over six rounds, six matches, nobody is going to play their best golf. You do need a little bit of a break when you don't have your best stuff.
 
Q. You need luck regardless, don't you?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah.
 
Q. More than any other tournament?
PHIL MICKELSON: Probably so.
 
Q. Obviously coming back this week, Tiger, everybody seems to be focused on that. A lot of players have even said that they're pleased to see him back, and it gives a lift to the sport. I wonder what your take is on what has happened on the PGA TOUR and elsewhere in the world and perhaps the return giving the attention and a lift to the sport and to people in general.
PHIL MICKELSON: It's pretty evident to see what he has done for the game of golf. You know, I came here on a Tuesday practice round, and as I'm walking to the range I've never seen so many cameras and photographers and so forth, especially that early in the morning waiting for Tiger to get there.
 
It's amazing to me what he has done for our sport, and for us to have the most recognizable athlete in the world playing our sport is so fortunate for all of us, and we've all been able to benefit from it and to have him back is awesome.
 
We are going to have more of a challenge winning golf tournaments certainly, but also it will be more rewarding if we're able to win those.
 
Q. Have you played Angel at all in Presidents Cup in any singles or doubles matches?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, we have played together. We played together in singles, we've played against each other in Match Play here I think once or twice.
 
I remember we played The Presidents Cup two years ago, and I was one back on 18. I ended up birdieing 18 to force a playoff, and that's when DiMarco birdied the last hole to close it out. We've certainly had tough matches in the past, and he's an incredible player. He won the U.S. Open. He hits the ball a long ways, great feel around the greens. I think that's going to be his strength. He's very good with his short game and with the putter.
 
Q. You guys never finished that match, did you?
PHIL MICKELSON: No, we didn't, because it was closed out with DiMarco.
 
Q. You had him though, right?
PHIL MICKELSON: I was looking good on the first hole, but you just never know.
 
Q. If you could describe the differences of your mindset and approach opposing match play to stroke play.
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, match play is like a final round every day, and you're starting even. You don't get the luxury of a four-shot lead like I had last week. You've got to go out and beat that player straight up every day.
 
But on the other hand you don't necessarily have to play your best if your opponent isn't playing his best. Again, it requires a little bit of fortune to be able to get through each match, but the great thing about this match play event is every day feels like a final round, so at the end of it, it's very draining.
 
Q. Did you look at your bracket at all? Do you know who you would play if you were to win?
PHIL MICKELSON: I haven't looked at it. Somebody was saying that the winner of Graeme McDowell against somebody, of his match. I'm not sure who he's playing tomorrow.

 
Q. I'm just curious.
PHIL MICKELSON: I actually try not to look at the brackets because when you start thinking ahead, it takes you out of your present match and your present focus, and so I really don't -- I almost make an effort not to look at it.
 

Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am
  • Golf Channel Airtimes
  • Getty Images

    Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

    By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

    Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

    ''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

    ''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

    David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

    The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    ''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

    Getty Images

    The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

    By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

    Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

    Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

    I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

    One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

    So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

    You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

    Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

    I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

    This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

    Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

    On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

    The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

    “What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

    Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

    Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

    Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

    Getty Images

    Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

    Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

    Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

    In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

    Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

    After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

    Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation. 

    Getty Images

    Even on 'off' day, Rahm shoots 67 at CareerBuilder

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 20, 2018, 12:36 am

    Jon Rahm didn’t strike the ball as purely Friday as he did during his opening round at the CareerBuilder Challenge.

    He still managed a 5-under 67 that put him just one shot off the lead heading into the weekend.

    “I expected myself to go to the range (this morning) and keep flushing everything like I did yesterday,” said Rahm, who shot a career-low 62 at La Quinta on Thursday. “Everything was just a little bit off. It was just one of those days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    After going bogey-free on Thursday, Rahm mixed four birdies and two bogeys over his opening six holes. He managed to settle down around the turn, then made two birdies on his final three holes to move within one shot of Andrew Landry (65).

    Rahm has missed only five greens through two rounds and sits at 15-under 129. 

    The 23-year-old Spaniard won in Dubai to end the year and opened 2018 with a runner-up finish at the Sentry Tournament of Champions. He needs a top-6 finish or better this week to supplant Jordan Spieth as the No. 2 player in the world.