Phil Pining for First Open Victory

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
Phil Mickelson doesnt watch the tape. He remembers the good parts well enough, and there are certain other parts he'd rather forget.
 
Mickelson doesnt need to view a replay of the 1999 U.S. Open to remind him of what happened that Sunday in Pinehurst, N.C. He recalls quite vividly the putts he missed: the 7-footer for par on 16; the 7-footer for birdie on 17; and the 25-footer for birdie on 18.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson has three runner-up finishes in his last six U.S. Open appearances.
He also recalls just as clearly the putts Payne Stewart made: the 25-foot par save on 16; the 3-foot birdie putt on 17; and the 15-foot birdie clincher on 18.
 
I think that I have looked back, but I really don't remember much of the round now except the last three holes, and I stopped really rehashing it, he said.
 
And hell never forget the way Stewart approached him in the chaotic aftermath ' when Stewart embraced Mickelsons face with both his hands and told him the joys of fatherhood would far outweigh this disappointment.
 
I was most impressed with Payne when here he just won the greatest championship of the game and he's thinking about Amy and myself, Mickelson said. He's very prophetic, too; being a father is the most fulfilling thing that I've ever experienced in life.
 
Once again, the best in the game have returned to the No. 2 course at Pinehurst; this time for the 105th edition of the United States Open. Unfortunately, they do so without Stewart, who died in a plane accident just four months after his most defining victory.
 
This is the second major of the season, with Tiger Woods having won the Masters in April. It marks an opportunity for Woods to complete the second leg of the seasonal Grand Slam for the second time in four years.
 
It also marks an opportunity for the United States Golf Association to redeem themselves after being taken to task by players, media and fans after the way they set up last years venue, Shinnecock Hills.
 
Complaints were few and far between in regards to the way Pinehurst was set up in 99. Most players ' at least those not named John Daly ' enjoyed the unique challenge the course presented. They liked the fact that the courses defense against red numbers was shifted from the fairways to the greens.
 
Only one player finished under par in 99. And he was only one stroke to the good.
 
But what a good stroke that last one was. Stewarts reaction is one of the most indelible images in golf history.
 
Mickelson can see it clearly. He doesnt need to close his eyes or watch it on tape.
 
There is one video, however, he enjoys viewing. The event took place in 2004 in Augusta, Ga. It also ends with a player making about a 15-foot putt on the final hole to win by a stroke.
 
I've actually watched that probably four or five times, yeah, Mickelson said with a laugh about the 04 Masters, which he won for his first major championship. Of course I knew the outcome then, but it was more exciting for me.
 
Come Sunday he may very well want a copy of the 2005 U.S. Open for his own collection.
 
Five for the Title:
 
Phil Mickelson
No one this week will be a more sentimental choice to win than Mickelson. And no one should be a more favored pick than Mickelson either. The left-hander has a short game like no other, which is critical to scoring and saving shots around Pinehursts greens, which Woods likened to upside-down bowls. Mickelson has three runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open, and they have all come on non-traditional Open venues: Pinehurst, 1999; Bethpage Black, 2002; Shinnecock, 2004. While most of the top players were competing at the Memorial two weeks ago, Mickelson got in some quality practice time at Pinehurst. He then tried to stir up his competitive juices last week at Congressional, where he tied for 29th in the Booz Allen Classic after a disappointing, closing 74.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is seeking his third U.S. Open victory in the last six years.
The last time Woods won the Masters, he went on to win the U.S. Open, and the golf world was abuzz with Grand Slam talk. Its just a murmur right now, but should he win this week cover your ears. Like Mickelson, Woods already has a couple of Pinehurst practice rounds under his belt, playing the course last week. But while Mickelson reportedly took seven hours during one round to familiarize himself with the layouts intricacies, Woods reportedly completed two rounds in about five hours. Woods, who finished two back of Stewart in 99, tied for third in his last start at the Memorial. He said that his game is in great shape, despite his historic missed cut at the Byron Nelson.
 
Vijay Singh
Singh tied Woods for third place six years ago at Pinehurst. He did so thanks to leading the field in scrambling. Singh missed 36 of 72 greens in regulation at Pinehurst in 99, but still made par or better on 27 of those occasions. If the ever-accurate Singh can get his ball to finish on the green only half of the time, you know scrambling is going to be an important category this week. Singh would dearly love to win the U.S. Open; not because of this years venue, but because it would give him three legs of the career Grand Slam. To do so, however, hell have to find the form that has led to three wins and seven top-3s this season. In his last two starts, Singh has a missed cut and a tie for 29th.
 
Retief Goosen
The defending champion doesnt have very many positive memories in relation to his last competitive foray to Pinehurst. He shot 75-82 to miss the cut by 10 shots. Of course, that was a much different Goosen ' one who hadnt won two U.S. Open titles. Putting was the key to Stewarts success in 99, as he led the field in putting average. Goosen is a tremendous clutch putter. He needed only 11 swipes over his final nine holes in winning at Shinnecock last year. On a course that emphasizes the importance of the short game, Goosen should be confident in his chance of becoming just the second player (Curtis Strange, 1988-89) in over 50 years to repeat as champion.
 
Jim Furyk
Weve been pushing Furyk as a favorite hard over the last month, and hes performed fairly well. He closed in 64-68 to tie for eighth at the Memorial two weeks ago. Last week, however, he tied for 37th. Furyk, like Goosen, is a great clutch putter. He has one U.S. Open title (2003 at Olympia Fields) to his credit, and has total package to add another one.
 
Playing Out the Front Nine:
 
Four more players to keep an eye on
 
*Ernie Els, who is a two-time U.S. Open champion. Els was in contention to win his third Open trophy last year, but shot 80 in the final round at a baked-out Shinnecock. Els missed the cut here in 99 and admits to having a greater affinity for the championships more traditional, tree-lined courses.
 
*Chris DiMarco, who lost to Woods in a playoff at this years Masters. It should be interesting to see how DiMarco fares in his first major since that difficult defeat at Augusta. He tied for ninth last year at Shinnecock for his best-ever Open finish. He also leads the tour in putting average, which should be a critical statistic this week.
 
*Luke Donald, who is among the chic picks this week. Donald has the consistency to eventually be a U.S. Open champion. He tied for 18th in his lone Open appearance at Bethpage Black in 2002. In addition to putting average, another statistical category of importance this week is scrambling. Donald is tied with Jose Maria Olazabal for first on tour in this department. Tony Jacklin, however, is the last European player to win the Open, doing so in 1970.
 
*David Duval, who led the field in greens hit in regulation in 99 at Pinehurst. Duval most certainly wont win this week, but hes definitely worth keeping an eye on. He hasnt played since missing the cut at the Masters. In between the seasons first two majors, he became a first-time father and has been working with his former college coach, Puggy Blackmon, in hopes of finding his old swing.
 
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    Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

    Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

    The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


    2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


    And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

    Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

    He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

    Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

    Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

    Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

    Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

    Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

    Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


    Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

    Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

    Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


    Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

    Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

    Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


    Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

    Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


    Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

    Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


    Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

    Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


    Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

    Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


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    Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

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    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 12:30 pm

    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.