Mickelson misses cut at Royal Lytham

By Jason SobelJuly 20, 2012, 6:02 pm

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England – “I don’t know. I just don’t know what to tell you.”

Those were the words of Phil Mickelson after a second-round 8-over 78 at the Open Championship that left him 11 over through two rounds, easily on the wrong side of the cutline and well behind such little-known competitors as Nicholas Cullen, Koumei Oda and Steven O’Hara.

Should it come as a surprise? Well, it depends which Mickelson you expected to see.

There’s the Mickelson who is clearly struggling with his game. The one who has now failed to break par in 11 of his last 13 rounds. The one who shot 73 on Thursday and punctuated it by saying, “I putted poorly today and I drove it horrific and the chipping was below average. … I hit it terribly.”

This is the same guy who has clearly never taken to links golf, based on his hapless record in this tournament. The one who owns just a pair of top-10s in 18 previous starts. The one who has never claimed a claret jug amongst his four major titles.

For this Mickelson, the answer is clear. No, we shouldn’t be surprised by his early departure.

Then there’s the Mickelson who is amongst the most elite players to ever play the game, already a World Golf Hall of Fame member at 42. The one whose age also matches his career professional victory total. The one who sounded optimistic after that aforementioned 73, saying, “If you get the ball in the fairway off the tee you can shoot a low score here. If I can get it in play off the tee, I can get a low round going tomorrow.”

This is the same player who appeared to turn a corner last year at Royal St. Georges, finishing in a share of second place. The one whose record of four majors also includes 33 total top-10 results in these events. The one who recently explained he was “looking forward to links golf,” exuding justified enthusiasm for this tournament.

For this Mickelson, the answer is also clear. Yes, we should always allow for some level of surprise when a player of his caliber fails to reach the weekend at a major championship.

But this is less about what we think of the lefthander’s performance – or lack thereof – and more about what he thought of it.

Following the round, he seemed not only frustrated, but perplexed. The reaction was less about the result and more about the process that took place in getting to this point.

“The scores are just so far off,” he said, his voice trailing off. “I thought that I was going to have a little bit better round than I did. It certainly got away from me there the last five holes.

“I hit the ball more solid. I hit it in the middle of the face all day, but I just didn’t quite hit it where I wanted and I hit it in a lot of bad spots.”

That’s been a familiar refrain for Mickelson as of late, with just a lone top-10 finish in his last eight worldwide starts.

If there’s cause for optimism, it’s that directly after walking off the course, he was already looking ahead to when and how he can right the ship.

“I feel like I have some direction for the next week, but I feel like I have a ways to go,” he explained. “I’ll work with [instructor] Butch [Harmon] the next two weeks and see if I can get some direction and I’ll see if I can get a bit better frame of mind these next two months, because we have some big tournaments. I’ve got a lot of work to do these next 10 days to get ready.”

The other reason for positivity is simply because he’s Phil Mickelson.

No player in the current era – or perhaps ever – has more frequently and notoriously shifted from looking awful to awesome on a week-to-week basis. Or vice versa.

We need only look at this season’s results as Exhibit A for this behavioral pattern. In his first three starts, Mickelson failed to record a top-25 result, later claiming that he was worried about the state of his game.

In his next two starts, he won convincingly at Pebble Beach and lost in a playoff at Riviera. Next two after that? A 43rd place and a 24th. The two after that? A fourth and a third. After those? A 26th and 25th.

Rinse and repeat.

And so if any world-class player should hit a stumbling block, perhaps the one we should least worry about scrambling back to his feet is Mickelson, who has displayed a propensity for doing just that time and time again.

That doesn’t mean Mickelson himself isn’t worried right now. At a loss to decipher his recent struggles after missing the cut, he continually went back to the same confession.

“I just don’t know what to tell you...”

Maybe it shouldn’t come as a surprise, maybe it should. But it certainly comes as a disappointment to a player who had little explanation for it.

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.