Mickelson's rounds of 60-65 leave room for improvement

By Jason SobelFebruary 2, 2013, 2:17 am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – The game of golf has been contested ever since shepherds started swatting makeshift balls around the fields of Scotland some 500 years ago. So anytime someone maintains something has never happened before, listen with a healthy dose of skepticism.

With that in mind, the following tale may have never happened before.

On Thursday, after Phil Mickelson watched his birdie attempt for a 59 agonizingly horseshoe around the final hole and stay dramatically out, he said he was “disappointed” with posting an 11-under 60.

One day later, after taking a six-stroke lead into the final hole only to post a disheartening double bogey for 65, Mickelson once again said he was “disappointed” with the finish.

And so what we’re left with is perhaps something that has never happened dating back to those Scottish shepherds: the first two-round score of 60-65 that was considered “disappointing.”

Waste Management Phoenix Open: Articles, videos and photos

Of course, it’s not exactly like Mickelson is hanging his head in shame right now. He leads the Waste Management Phoenix Open by four strokes and his two-round total of 125 is just one shot shy of the all-time 36-hole PGA Tour scoring record.

In fact, leave it to Lefty – an eternal optimist at heart – to find the silver lining in a pair of rounds that didn’t finish the way he would have liked.

“You know what happens: You always remember kind of the last hole, the last putt, what have you,” he explained. “But I think it's very possible that's going to help me, because it's got me refocused, that I cannot ease up on a single shot. I've got to be really focused. These guys are going to make a lot of birdies and I've got to get after it and cannot make those kinds of mistakes. Hopefully it'll help me refocus for tomorrow's round and come out and shoot something low.”

Even with the close calls, he’s been low enough so far this week. Mickelson played flawless golf through 35 holes until that final-hole double bogey knocked him from 19 under to only 17 under going into Saturday’s third round.

He’ll be playing alongside Bill Haas and Keegan Bradley in that round – a reuniting of last year’s three-man playoff at the Northern Trust Open.

“We're going to have a fun day tomorrow,” Mickelson said. “We enjoy playing with each other, we play a lot of practice rounds, and we're going to have a fun day, and [all] of us are going to be trying to make birdies and pushing each other along.”

“Obviously Phil is playing very well,” said Haas, who is in second place after rounds of 65-64. “We would need him to do that on 18, and we need him to do more stuff like that for us to catch him. I don't think it's that big of a speed bump for him. He'll make a lot of birdies.”

Competing in this event for the 24th time, nobody knows this place better than Mickelson.

In turn, nobody knows better that relaxing after a couple of low rounds is a recipe for disaster over the weekend.

“I didn't finish the way I wanted to,” he explained. “But I think it's a good example of what can happen on this course. You can make a lot of birdies and eagles, make up a lot of ground, but there's a lot of water and trouble there that if you misstep you can easily make bogeys and double.

“It'll be an interesting weekend, because I think it's going to be kind of a shootout where a lot of guys will be making runs, and it'll be up to me and the other guys in the last group to get going.”

It’s already been an interesting first two days for Mickelson, probably the first two-day score of 125 that could ever be considered “disappointing.” It sounds ridiculous, sure, but so do rounds of, say, 57-62, which could have been possible with a few breaks in the right way.

Instead, he will settle for a four-shot lead and a chance at winning his first PGA Tour title in 51 weeks. And no, there’s nothing disappointing about that.

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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.