Mickelson backtracks on course setup comments

By Jay CoffinJuly 19, 2013, 8:09 pm

GULLANE, Scotland – Phil Mickelson never disappoints.

A day after questioning the R&A’s setup of Muirfield, Mickelson finished the second round of the British Open five shots worse than the day before. Lefty recorded a spiffy 69 on Thursday, but followed it with an unspectacular 74 to enter the weekend at 1 over par and in an 11th-place tie, four shots off the lead.

Would Mickelson continue to hammer home the message that some of the hole locations were unfair or would he say nothing? What would Phil do next?

Well, he praised the setup, and apologized for being too harsh a mere 24 hours earlier.

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“I wasn’t being totally fair to the R&A because they’ve done a lot of things great this championship,” Mickelson said. “I think that this is set up where if you’re playing well, you can make up some ground an separate yourself.”

Mickelson did nothing to separate himself on this difficult day along the Firth of Fourth. He did, however, do plenty to keep himself in contention.

Sitting in his room in the morning watching television coverage, Mickelson knew conditions were going to be much more difficult than the day before. With that frame of mind he set out to record a round near par but that promptly went awry when he made double bogey on the second hole. The next 13 holes saw three birdies and two bogeys until Mickelson again made double bogey on the par-3 16th hole when he four-putted, which included a three-putt from 3 feet.

“Look, it’s part of the game, it happens,” Mickelson said of the costly doubles. “You do the best you can and fortunately I made a heck of a lot more (than) my share today.”

In fairness to Mickelson, he did putt extremely well – sans the 16th hole – on greens that he insists are much faster than they play annually at Augusta National. It’s a momentum builder for him heading into the weekend.

An important 36 holes lies ahead for Mickelson, to say the least. First, the U.S. Open near-miss last month at Merion was a huge disappointment; it’d be good for Mickelson to stay in contention so quickly after that championship. Secondly, Mickelson has said that past couple years here at the British Open that he now loves links golf. This is his chance to prove it once and for all. A win would also give him the third step on a way to a career grand slam.

“I’m excited, I’m playing great,” he said. “I’m putting phenomenal. And I’m looking forward to the next two days.”

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Tiger Tracker: Arnold Palmer Invitational

By Tiger TrackerMarch 17, 2018, 3:00 pm

Tiger Woods tees off at 12:15PM ET alongside Justin Rose for Round 3 of the Arnold Palmer Invitational. We're tracking him at Bay Hill.

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Fowler among 5 to skip WGC-Match Play

By Ryan LavnerMarch 17, 2018, 2:24 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. – Five of the top 64 players in the world will skip next week’s WGC-Dell Match Play.

Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Henrik Stenson, Brooks Koepka and Adam Scott all will miss the second WGC event of the year, held next week at Austin Country Club.

As a result, the last man into the field is world No. 69 Luke List. Kevin Na, Charles Howell III, Joost Luiten and Keegan Bradley also got into the field.

Julian Suri and Bill Haas are the first two alternates, if anyone else withdraws from the round-robin-style match-play event.

This is the second year in a row that Rose, Fowler, Stenson and Scott will not play in Austin. Koepka reached the quarterfinals each of the past two years, but he is still recovering from a wrist injury.

The final seeding for the event will be determined after this week’s tournaments. The bracket show is at 7:30 p.m. Monday, live on Golf Channel.

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Korda happy to finally be free of jaw pain

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 2:43 am

PHOENIX – Jessica Korda isn’t as surprised as everyone else that she is playing so well, so quickly, upon her return from a complex and painful offseason surgery.

She is inspired finally getting to play without recurring headaches.

“I’d been in pain for three years,” she said after posting a 4-under-par 68 Friday to move two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

Korda had her upper jaw broken in three places and her low jaw broken in two places in December in a procedure that fixed the alignment of her jaw.

Korda, 25, said the headaches caused by her overbite even affected her personality.

“Affects your moods,” Korda said. “I think I was pretty snappy back then as well.”

She was pretty pleased Friday to give herself a weekend chance at her sixth LPGA title, her second in her last three starts. She won the Honda LPGA Thailand three weeks ago in her first start after returning from surgery.

“I'm much happier now,” Korda said. “Much calmer.”

Even if she still can’t eat the things she would really like to eat. She’s still recuperating. She said the lower part of her face remains numb, and it’s painful to chew crunchy things.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“Chips are totally out of question,” Korda said.

She can eat most things she likes, but she has to cut them into tiny pieces. She can’t wait to be able to eat a steak.

“They broke my palate, so I can't feel anything, even heat,” Korda said. “So that's a bit difficult, because I can't feel any heat on my lip or palate. I don't know how hot things are going in until they hit my throat.”

Korda has 27 screws in her skull holding the realignment together. She needed her family to feed her, bathe her and dress her while she recovered. The procedure changed the way she looks.

While Korda’s ordeal and all that went into her recovery has helped fans relate to her, she said it’s the desire to move on that motivates her.

“Because I was so drugged up, I don't remember a lot of it,” Korda said. “I try to forget a lot of it. I don't think of it like I went through a lot. I just think of it as I'm pain-free. So, yeah, people are like, `Oh, you're so brave, you overcame this and that.’ For me, I'm just going forward.”

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Finally adapted to short putter, Martin near lead

By Randall MellMarch 17, 2018, 1:54 am

PHOENIX – Mo Martin loved her long putter.

In fact, she named her “Mona.”

For 10 years, Martin didn’t putt with anything else. She grew up with long putters, from the time she started playing when she was 5.

While Martin won the Ricoh Women’s British Open in 2014, about nine months after giving up Mona for a short putter, she said it’s taken until today to feel totally comfortable with one.

And that has her excited about this year.

Well, that and having a healthy back again.

Full-field scores from the Bank of Hope Founders Cup

“I've had a feeling that this year was going to be a good one,” Martin said. “My game is in a special place.”

Martin was beaming after a 6-under-par 66 Friday moved her two shots off the lead at the Bank of Hope Founders Cup.

“Just a beautiful day,” Martin said. “I was able to play my game, make my putts.”

Martin hit all 14 fairways in the second round, hit 15 greens in regulation and took just 27 putts. After struggling with nagging back pain last year, she’s pain free again.

She’s happy to “just to get back to a place now where my ball striking is where it has been the last few years.”

Martin, by the way, says Mona remains preserved in a special place, “a shrine” in her home.