What We Learned: From Pebble Beach to Dubai

By Golf Channel DigitalFebruary 13, 2012, 12:00 am

Each week, the GolfChannel.com team offers thoughts on 'what we learned' from the most recent events. This week, the team reflects on Phil Mickelson's big win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and what happened – or didn't happen – in Dubai.

I learned that Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson is still the game’s preeminent top card. It seems obvious, but since Woods’ fall from grace in 2009 and Mickelson’s relatively pedestrian play since his 2010 Masters victory, it seems golf’s most intriguing head-to-head had defaulted to others, namely Rory McIlroy vs. Woods.

Even though Lefty lapped Woods by 11 strokes on Sunday at Pebble Beach, the marquee matchup gave an otherwise quiet event an added level of buzz. – Rex Hoggard

Learned a couple of things this week: Phil still needs Tiger, and Rory is no Tiger. After all these years, Mickelson still needs Woods to stoke his competitive fire. I don't think he wins Pebble – and certainly doesn't shoot 64 – alongside Hunter Mahan on Sunday. As for McIlroy, he may be the top talent in the game but he's still more disappointment than dominant in winning situations. – Mercer Baggs

I learned that NFL players and Hollywood actors – both of which spend plenty of time on camera in their professions – get queasy when having to watch themselves and their own golf swings on camera. Highly skilled and successful athletes and actors become humbled by the game of golf. – The Golf Guy

I know that Phil Mickelson just won the AT&T, so what I’m about to say may seem contradictory … but hear me out.

I learned that just because you’re a household name, just because you’re one of the best in the world and just because we as fans expect the big-namers to win … doesn’t mean they will.

OK, yes, Mickelson won at Pebble Beach, but how many of you can honestly say Phil was the big name you expected to see hoisting the trophy by day’s end?

Robert Rock – 117th at the time – topped Tiger Woods two weeks ago in Abu Dhabi. An 18-year-old by the name of Jessica Korda – ranked 285th – won the Women’s Australian Open besting Yani Tseng, So-Yeon Ru and Brittany Lincicome. Rafael Cabrera-Bello – 119th in the world – topped Lee Westwood and Rory McIlroy in Dubai.

Watching Tiger Woods all these years has spoiled us – we assume that the player we want to win, will. But evidence as of late would suggest that it’s anybody’s to take and the underdogs are stepping up and finding their footing. – Bailey Mosier

I learned that sometimes we need to take Phil Mickelson at his word. It’s not as easy as it sounds, because the truth often gets lost between his various off-course agendas and sponsor testimonials. Last week, prior to the Waste Management Phoenix Open, I asked Phil whether he could still get motivated after getting voted into the World Golf Hall of Fame. “I love to compete,” he answered. “I'm excited about this year. I'm ready to play.” It sounded like lip service at the time – hey, what else was he going to say? – but this week I learned that he truly is still motivated to find greater success. He proved it on Sunday. – Jason Sobel

Phil Mickelson may not be the best player in the game today, but he is still the most entertaining.

Nobody else is close.

We wondered if he still held the distinction before his victory Sunday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, but there's no doubt tonight.

At 41, getting ready for Hall of Fame induction, Mickelson still keeps you on the edge of your seat more than any other player. He is still just as capable of spectacular success as he is spectacular failure. Nobody in the game has more range that way.

While there were no impossible shots between a gap in the trees as there was in his last Masters’ victory, Mickelson’s closing 64 ranked among his most impressive finishes with Tiger Woods in his pairing. – Randall Mell

I learned why Phil Mickelson plays money matches during practice rounds with the likes of Dustin Johnson, Keegan Bradley and other young guns. It keeps him young, feeling the constant pressure these kids – my contemporaries – feel on a weekly basis to perform and prove themselves.

With four majors and 39 PGA Tour wins coming into the Sunday showdown at Pebble, Mickelson has nothing left to prove to anyone. He did prove, however, that he still can stand the burning heat of the spotlight on one of the game’s biggest stages. Paired with Tiger Woods, Mickelson relished in the opportunity to show he does, in fact, have a chance of reaching 50 PGA Tour wins. He needs just 10 more, now having won in nine consecutive seasons.

While he waits until April to add to his major tally, maybe Mickelson can start plotting how to continue the streak next season. He’s just five years away from matching Tiger’s 14-year streak and eight away from Jack Nicklaus’ mark. To catch Jack, Mickelson would be need to continue winning on the PGA Tour up to the verge of turning 50. If he keeps running with the young guns who keep him young, that doesn’t sound all that outlandish. – Ryan Ballengee

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm