Mickelson, McIlroy have right attitude on Quail Hollow greens

By Jason SobelMay 2, 2013, 11:42 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There’s an excellent chance that if you showed up at your local muni and plunked down 35 bucks to play a quick 18, only to discover the greens as patchy and scratchy and splotchy and blotchy as they are at Quail Hollow Club this week, you’d soon find yourself back in the pro shop, demanding a refund or a rain check or at the very least an explanation as to whom should be blamed for ruining your afternoon.

In this case, as in the case of so many other pratfalls on the PGA Tour already this season, the blame has fallen to an increasingly stubborn woman named Mother Nature – whether it really is her fault or not. A damp, cold first four months to the year have left these normally impervious putting surfaces looking like something out of Carl Spackler’s worst nightmare.

Competitors in the Wells Fargo Championship can’t demand any refunds, but they can take their balls and go home, which is what several big-name players did prior to the opening round, offering excuses from minor injuries to “personal reasons” that only thinly veiled their true rationale. It left what was already a severely weakened field even thinner, meaning its few marquee stars were needed to carry even more of the load.

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Enter Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.

There are no hard and fast rules about playing on greens that aren’t hard and fast. There are no step-by-step programs for rolling the rock on greens that are inconsistent from step to step. If there is one trick, though, it would be all about maintaining the right attitude. Like ripping a page out of Chicken Soup For the Putter’s Soul.

So it should come as little surprise that McIlroy (5-under 67) and Mickelson (4-under 68) were among the early leaders on a cool, overcast day if you had listened to their perspectives prior to teeing it up.

McIlroy: “I guess if you start missing putts, then you've got to just accept it. I don't mind because I'm not a guy that relies on my putting, per se. So it will eliminate quite a lot of the field. I don't mind that at all.”

Mickelson: “I just think we should cut the tournament a little bit of slack. It’s not that big of a deal. It should not affect scoring at all. I think we’ll make more 20- and 30-footers because we can be aggressive, and we might miss more short ones, but it shouldn’t affect scoring overall.”

Like the old slogan says: Attitude is everything.

It was Joe Ogilvie who earlier this week said of these bentgrass greens, “If you hit a good putt, it will go in. If you hit a bad putt, it might go in.” That may have been true, but attitude had plenty to do with it, too.

McIlroy needed just 29 putts while posting seven birdies, numbers which helped share not just his first overnight lead of the year, but his first under-par opening round of the year, as well.

“They're not the best greens that we've ever putted on, but they're certainly not the worst either,” he said. “The ball still rolls pretty well on them. As long as you give yourself chances for birdies, that's all you can ask.”

Mickelson struggled from Tee to Green, hitting just six fairways, but flourished where others faltered, taking just 25 putts to tie for the tournament lead so far.

“I hit the ball pretty well today and made a lot of putts on the greens,” he explained. “It was a good round.”

On a leaderboard filled with blue-collar overachievers, journeymen seeing an obvious opportunity and up-and-comers looking to make their mark, McIlroy and Mickelson are those two marquee names needed to keep mainstream interest in the tournament burgeoning throughout the weekend.

Not all elite players witnessed the day through such rose-colored glasses. One top-50 man could be heard muttering as he left the premises, “What a waste. What a waste of a day.”

It can only be assumed that he was speaking about trying to compete on greens that would leave you asking for a refund at the local muni. It obviously wasn’t easy. But if there was a trick to the trade on Thursday, it was all about attitude. So far, McIlroy and Mickelson have figured it out.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

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.

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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.