Mickelson provides thrills, spills

By Jason SobelMay 5, 2013, 12:20 am

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – When it comes to Phil Mickelson playing some vintage Mickelson-like golf, Saturday’s final stretch at the Wells Fargo Championship wasn’t exactly the “I’m such an idiot” finale of the 2006 U.S. Open, but it was still the stuff of classic Mickelson.

In case you’ve lost track over the last couple of decades, the ebullient and enigmatic left-hander has fostered a reputation as the consummate gambler, a walking, talking advertisement for the virtues of risk-reward golf.

Here he was once again, zig-zagging his way through both Quail Hollow Club and its ever-changing leaderboard. If any other competitor had flourished and faltered as quickly, he would have been saddled with roller-coaster-like symptoms for a brief spell. When Mickelson does it, that’s just Phil being Phil.

And in usual Mickelson fashion, it had him tied for the lead at day’s end.

It started on the 14th hole. On greens that have been a few measures short of perfect throughout the week, Mickelson has inexplicably excelled. Whereas others have struggled to find the right speed and navigate the unseemly bumpy top layer, he hadn’t missed a putt outside of 10 feet through the first two rounds.

Wells Fargo Championship: Articles, videos and photos

Video: Lefty stumbles down stretch

He’s made a few lengthy ones, too. And that’s exactly what he did on 14, pouring in an 18-footer to claim sole possession of the lead.

“After I made that putt on 14, I felt really good,” he reported. “I thought I could get one on 15.”

The 15th hole is a par 5 that he’d already birdied one day earlier. This time, though, he pulled his drive way right, landing it just inches from the cart path.

“I got lucky on the tee shot that that didn't go out of bounds I missed it so bad,” he explained. “But the second shot should not have been a problem. It was a very easy lie to hit the shot I wanted to. I probably pulled the wrong club.”

Mickelson took 3-wood and this time roped one out of bounds, the result of hitting it dead straight rather than his planned fade.

After dropping in nearly the same spot for his fourth shot, Mickelson could be excused for wanting to change clubs – but hardly any other player would have made this type of change. Rather than 3-wood, he elected to hit driver and actually produced a much better result, landing it just short of the greenside bunker. From there, though, he would chip and two-putt for a double bogey.

Afterward, he blamed it on poor club selection rather than poor execution.

“Last year I hit the ball on 15 in the water left two or three times,” he recalled. “So with that right-to-left wind, I just gave it a little flip and hooked it and got lucky that the drive didn't go out of bounds. And the second shot should not have been a problem. If I had pulled the driver like I did the second time, it would have cut around no problem. I tried to do it with a 3-wood and it shot straight and went out of bounds. So it was a mistake on my part not hitting the correct club the first time.”

The drama didn’t end there, either. On 16, he found himself in the fairway with a possible chance to get a shot back. Instead, he’d find himself apologizing.

“I had 175 to the hole and 160 to the front edge,” he said. “I have what I call a Pelz 8-iron that flies 160. I thought I would work off of that and try to add a few yards. I came over the top a little bit, and it worked with the left-right wind and went 2 yards off the green.”

It was 2 yards too much.

“Unfortunately, it tagged a lady right in the head,” Mickelson said. “She was pretty cool about it, but boy, it didn't look good. I felt terrible about that.”

When asked the last time he hit a spectator, he deadpanned, “Oh, yesterday. I don't know. It happens a lot.”

Mickelson’s first chip rolled back down the greenside hill toward him, but from there he got up and down to save bogey in characteristic fashion.

Though he made par on each of the last two holes, he viewed that as somewhat of a failure, considering the circumstances entering the final round. With tee times already moved up because of impending inclement weather, Mickelson believed that a 54-hole lead could translate to a victory if the final round is washed away.

“There is a high likelihood we don't get the final round in with the weather coming in tomorrow and Monday, and a good chance that we'll end up having a one-hole playoff,” he explained. “I would have liked to have tried to increase the lead given the opportunities there with the few holes remaining, but I played poorly coming down the stretch, and I'm lucky to be tied for the lead – especially lucky to be tied for the lead if the final round gets washed out.”

Hey, sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. As the quintessential gambler on the course, Mickelson knows all about needing a little luck on his side.

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Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.

Masters victory

Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative

Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ

Green jacket tour

Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket

Man of the people

Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief

Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together

Ace at 17th at Sawgrass

Growing family

Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018

Departure from TaylorMade

Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade

Squashed beef with Paddy

Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'

Victory at Valderrama

Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm
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Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf

By Grill Room TeamDecember 11, 2017, 9:47 pm

Well, this is a one new one.

According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:

“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”

Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.

“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.

The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.

“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”

The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.

Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.

Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.