Think about it

By Jay CoffinJuly 15, 2011, 5:16 pm

SANDWICH, England – One of the longtime criticisms of Phil Mickelson has been that he overthinks a situation, especially when it comes to major championships. He’s been called a know-it-all on more than one occasion.

Remember the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines when Mickelson showed up to play the behemoth without a driver in his bag? Several times, including this year, he’s showed up to Augusta National with two drivers in his bag for The Masters – one that drives it 15-20 yards longer than the other.

People have often wondered why Mickelson is the only player who comes up with these off-the-wall strategies. If they made sense, or had the potential to help, wouldn’t more people adopt similar philosophies?

Maybe this time, however, he’s onto something. Mickelson, who often comes into a news conference with a point or a message that he wants to hammer home, said Tuesday that he wanted to treat this week like it was the first time he had ever played the Open Championship.

So far, so good. Mickelson has shot 70-69 to stand at 1-under-par 139 and is only three shots behind the leaders.

“It’s fun to be in contention at any major,” Mickelson said. “But it’s fun for me to be in contention at the Open Championship because I haven’t been here that often. So, to have a chance to be right in it, it’s exciting.”

It’s no surprise that Lefty and links golf do not love each other. Why they don’t have more of a connection is the bigger question. In a format that can deliver awkward bounces, strange weather and more thinking around the course, it doesn’t make sense why golf’s most creative player, a man who can get up and down from anywhere, wouldn’t play better in this event.

But the two haven’t jived. In 17 previous British Opens Mickelson has only one top-10 finish, that a third-place in 2004 at Royal Troon where he finished only a shot out of a playoff between Ernie Els and eventual winner Todd Hamilton.

Given the lack of success it’s understandable why Mickelson would want to shake things up, pretend like he and the Open Championship are meeting for the first time.

“I just wanted to start fresh,” Mickelson said. “I just had to really enjoy the challenge of it more.”

The thought process has been effective.

Mickelson clearly did not have his best stuff Thursday but gutted out a 70, including a par on the last hole when he hit a marshal off the tee, hit his approach short, right of the green and still got up and down. Even in that situation Mickelson claims he knew he would make par because he was determined to take what the course gave him more than in the past.

After the round he opened up about a game plan he’s been working on that will get him back to the same consistent player the golf world has known for the past 20 years. He wouldn’t elaborate but did say that he is not pleased with his performance this year on the PGA Tour and he feels like he’s not thinking his way around the course as clearly as he should.

“I feel pretty good about the direction I’m heading,” Mickelson said.

Presumably, Friday’s 69 was another step in the process. The conditions seemed primed for scoring – Lefty clearly was on the better end of the draw – but the wind picked up and hole locations on the easier holes were tucked in places that made birdie difficult.

“I certainly think the work he does with Butch [Harmon] is going to show that much more here than elsewhere,” said Mickelson’s caddie, Bones Mackay. “Today would be a perfect example. It’s a case of his ballstriking getting better and better.”

Mickelson has been working on a low trajectory 3-wood off the tee specifically for this championship. He says he’s been able to get the ball on the ground quicker and watch it roll long distances. This way he doesn’t fight the wind as much, which here will put you in positions you don’t want to be.

“If you’re going to win this tournament you’re going to have to hit it where you’re looking in a big way,” Mackay said.

If he is going to win, or even continue to contend for his first Open Championship, Mickelson is going to have to get along more with his balky putter. Through two rounds he’s needed 62 total putts (31 putts in each round) and has missed three short putts. Thursday he missed an 18-inch putt. Friday he missed a putt inside 5 feet for eagle and another 3-footer for birdie.

“I felt so much better with the putter heading in,” he said. “I haven’t putted as well as I expect to, but I’m putting better than I have in the past on these greens. It’s getting there.”

The next two days will either prove to be more like the previous 17 years or a breakthrough of epic proportions for this generation’s second-best player, which would leave him only the U.S. Open away from the career grand slam.

Perhaps this time, overthinking was precisely the proper approach.

Getty Images

Rose leads halted Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters when bad weather stopped play Friday during the second round.

The Englishman, who shot a 10-under 62 on Thursday, had completed 13 holes and was 5 under on the day at the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat (64) was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew wit on the 11th hole at 2 under for the day after shooting an opening 72.

There was no reason given for his withdrawal, but the American has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season. 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.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.

Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year

Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.

Playing with the pros

Tiger, DJ and Faxon

Article: Video, images from Tiger, DJ's round with Trump

Article: After DJ and Tiger, Trump plays golf with Jack

Rory faces criticism

Article: Rory: Round with Trump about respect for presidency

Article: Rory: Round with Trump not a 'political statement'

President at the Presidents Cup

Video: President Trump makes the rounds at Liberty National

Article: President Trump presents trophy to U.S. team

Article: Stricker: 'Great thrill' to get trophy from Trump

Purported round of 73 with Lindsey Graham

Article: Senator tweets Trump shot 73 in windy, wet conditions

Article: Graham offers details on Trump's round of 73

Cart on the green

Article: Trump appears to drive cart on Bedminster green

Presence and protests at U.S. Women's Open

Article: Trump makes presidential history at Women's Open

Article: Trump supporters, protesters clash near Women's Open

Article: UltraViolet takes protest inside Trump National

Photo gallery: President Trump at the U.S. Women's Open

Trump golf properties


Article: Environmental group vandalizes Trump golf course

Article: Man accused of vandalizing four Trump courses


Article: Two Trump courses in Scotland losing millions

Article: Eric Trump denies Russia helped fund golf courses

Article: Trump company ordered to pay $5.77M in dues dispute

Reportedly fake TIME covers

Article: Trump clubs display fake Time magazine cover

Trump apologizes for voter-fraud story

Report: Trump's voter fraud claim tied to Langer

Langer: Trump 'apologized' for story mix-up

Pros comment on the president

Article: Players defend Trump at Senior PGA Championship

Article: Trump congratulates Daly; Daly congratulates Trump

Getty Images

Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm

Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.