Mickelson routing Tiger just one round, not a trend

By Jason SobelFebruary 14, 2012, 6:50 pm

Phil Mickelson thumped Tiger Woods in their head-to-head matchup at Pebble Beach on Sunday. Smoked him. Whooped him. Stepped on his neck and kept on walking. 

It was so bad that Phil could have spotted Tiger five a side and still come out on top.

You already knew that, though. The big question now is: What does it mean going forward?

My answer: Absolutely nothing.

This isn’t to take anything away from Mickelson’s ferocious final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, during which he not only posted a flawless 8-under 64 to win his 40th career title, but did so with his career-long nemesis standing on the other side of the tee box.


High ratings for Tiger-Phil showdown

Woods playing Honda Classic


Nor is it to excuse Woods’ surprisingly uncharacteristic performance in the same arena, as he posted a 3-over 75, the highest score of any player in the eventual top 40 on the leaderboard, thanks to five missed putts inside 6 feet.

It’s just that I don’t see how one round portends the fate of two players over the remainder of this season. I don’t think the aftereffects will linger for each guy for months on end.

I know, I know. This is the Internet. Next to purchasing airline tickets and checking out bikini models, knee-jerk reactions are what this information superhighway does best.

There’s no reason to believe, though, that in Mickelson’s 21st season and Woods’ 17th each will suddenly and indefinitely inherit a new persona all because of one round of golf together. It was, after all, the 29th time they’d competed together in an official PGA Tour event, with Woods holding a minuscule 13-12-4 advantage. Each has witnessed the other find success without suffering lasting effects. This won’t be any different.

I’ve already read some opinions that claim because Mickelson was clearly the best player in the field this past weekend, it will extrapolate beyond this singular instance, springboarding him to greater heights throughout this season and beyond.

Let’s remember, though, that Lefty opened his campaign with three lackluster results, leading to some self-doubt prior to last week. His game looked superb during practice sessions, but wasn’t carrying over to competition. After winning at Pebble for the fourth time in his career, Mickelson confided, “I started to wonder if I'm going to be able to bring it to the golf course.”

Don’t mistake this for a lack of confidence in his abilities. Far from it, actually. Mickelson can win again this season. Heck, he can win the Masters again. Or finally take the U.S. Open. He can be Player of the Year for the first time ever.

Whatever happens, though, will be further isolated incidents rather than an extension of his early-season success. Though he feeds off momentum within tournaments like no other upper-echelon player today, Phil has ironically never needed momentum on a week-to-week basis.

What I mean by that is some players need to build a pattern of strong performances before winning. You’ll see a guy finish 20th, then 15th, then 10th, then fifth and, finally, after knocking on the door for a month, he’ll break through for that long-awaited title.

Mickelson is an anomaly, though, in that his results have never suggested impending success or failure. He’s just as likely to follow a missed cut with a win as he is to follow a win with a missed cut. The weather on the Monterey Peninsula is easier to predict than his victories. And that’s saying something.

It’s been easier to predict Woods’ success over the course of his career, simply because until two years ago, that was all he’d known. He’s now made 23 appearances on the PGA Tour without a win – his longest such streak since turning professional.

That winless period may end with his next start, which will come at next week’s WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Or it may continue for weeks, months or even the whole season.

Just as with Mickelson, though, Woods’ future isn’t dependent upon what happened in the final round of his first U.S.-based event of the year. Despite what revisionist history may lead us to believe, he never won every tournament he entered – or even half of 'em. Despite claiming 71 career victories, Tiger has also endured his share of heartaches on the course, many of which have come in bigger events than this one.

If anything, Woods should take some confidence from his first three rounds at Pebble Beach. He hit the ball flawlessly off the tee for two days and displayed some very proficient iron play. In the third round, his ball-striking wasn’t as solid, but his putting stroke was sublime.

It was presumed prior to the final stanza that he might be able to put it all together in that Sunday matchup; instead, nothing worked. But Woods should approach his next start armed with the knowledge that at different times, each part of his game was firing on all cylinders.

That should serve as another reminder that things often change not only on a tournament-by-tournament basis, but day-by-day. Phil Mickelson’s thumping of Tiger Woods should be remembered as one of the greatest days in the career of the former and one of the ugliest in the career of the latter. As we’ve learned in the past, though, it shouldn’t portend the future for either one.

Getty Images

Angela hits Sergio in stride on field at Superdome

By Grill Room TeamDecember 18, 2017, 3:22 pm

Sergio and Angela Garcia's super 2017 keeps getting more ... Super ... Dome. (+1 awful blog lede.)

The couple started the year with Sergio's win at the Masters, then embarked on a whirlwind green jacket media tour, then kicked off El Clasico, then attended Wimbledon, then got married, then announced they were expecting their first child ...


2017 Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia


And now, they're throwing each other passes on the New Orleans Saints' home turf at the Superdome.

Man, it must be so cool do that at the Silverdome. ... ... ... I'm sorry, it is the Superdome, brothers.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 1, Justin Thomas

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 18, 2017, 1:00 pm

He won a major, captured the FedExCup and was named the PGA Tour’s Player of the Year. It should come as no surprise that Justin Thomas holds the top spot on our Newsmakers list for 2017.

Thomas entered the year ranked outside the top 20, and few might have pegged him for a transcendent campaign. But he kicked off January with a win in Hawaii, added another before leaving the Aloha State and never looked back.

Thomas’ seminal moment came in August when he captured the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow for his breakthrough major title. One month after greeting Jordan Spieth behind the final green at Royal Birkdale, this time it was Thomas’ turn to have friends stick around to snap pictures with the trophy that signaled his arrival among golf’s upper echelon.


Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


In addition to racking up the hardware – five in total, including the inaugural CJ Cup at Nine Bridges in his first start of the new wraparound season – Thomas dazzled with style. His runaway win at the Sony Open included an opening-round 59, and his third-round 63 at Erin Hills marked the first time anyone had ever shot 9 under on a U.S. Open venue.

Thomas’ consistency was rewarded at East Lake, when a runner-up finish at the Tour Championship netted him the season-long title and $10 million prize. It was in the subsequent press conference where he shared the goals list he had written into his cell phone in February, having ticked off nearly every one. It showed a dedicated attention to detail as well the tactical approach with which Thomas had steered his rapid ascent.

Heading into a new year, he’s now very clearly entrenched as one of the world’s best. And as his career progresses, it’s likely we’ll look back at 2017 as the point where Thomas first transformed great potential into eye-popping results.

Win No. 1: Title defense at the CIMB Classic

Article: Thomas (64) rallies to defend CIMB title


Win Nos. 2 and 3: The Hawaiian double

Article: Thomas refuses to let disastrous hole derail TOC win

Article: Worst week ever ends with another title at Sony Open


Record Round No. 1: 59 at the Sony Open

Article: Thomas becomes youngest player to shoot 59

Take a look: Thomas’ scorecard from his amazing 59


Record Round No. 2: 63 at the U.S. Open

Article: Thomas sets U.S. Open record with 9-under 63


Temporary Slide: Open MC makes it three in a row

Watch: Thomas loses club, makes 9, misses Open cut


Mr. Major (and win No. 4): PGA champ at Quail Hollow

Article: Thomas joins the club – the major club


Win No. 5: Dell Technologies Championship

Article: Thomas wins the battle of buddies over Spieth


The $10 Million Man: FedExCup champ


Biggest Win of All? Player of the Year


And One to Grow On: Wins at CJ Cup in 2017-18 season

Article: Thomas caps torrid 12-month run with CJ Cup win


Photo Galleries: Best of ...

Best of: Justin Thomas and Jillian Wisniewski

Best of: Justin Thomas through the years

Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.