Under the Radar

By Jay CoffinJuly 13, 2010, 9:31 pm

ST. ANDREWS, Scotland – In the buildup to this Open Championship, most of the talk has been that there doesn’t seem to be a clear favorite. Sure, the local St. Andrews betting parlors have Tiger Woods as the one they predict will take home the claret jug but those in the know believe it’s not as much of a lock.

Other names thrown around have been Justin Rose, the hottest player on the planet and winner of two PGA Tour events in the past month, and Rory McIlroy, the young Northern Irishman who has not shot anything higher than 69 in competition at the Old Course. Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell and Lee Westwood have also been bandied about.

It’s a tad comical that the man who could become No. 1 in the world by Sunday hasn’t been talked about at all. Funny how a 20-minute chat can change impressions so drastically.

Phil Mickelson
Mickelson has just one top-10 finsih in 17 attempts at The Open Championship. (Getty Images)
Phil Mickelson comes into this Open unlike he did at his Open a month ago. There he was the favorite. Here he is somewhat of an afterthought. There he was supposed to be in contention at Pebble Beach. This is a championship where he has struggled in the past because he seemingly hasn’t found a way to make peace with links golf.

Perhaps this week is different. Mickelson seems to have a pep in his step, one he attributes to being at the home of golf. He went so far as to call St. Andrews “spiritual” because you can’t help but feel a sense of spirituality while walking around a golf course where the game began. Spiritual was the exact word Tom Watson used last year to describe his run for another jug.

But let’s be honest, it’s still about the golf. It’s still about chasing that little white ball around these sacred grounds in fewer strokes than anyone else. And Mickelson hasn’t had much success at doing so in this championship, having only recorded one top-10 finish in 17 previous attempts, that being a third-place in 2004 at Royal Troon.

“It wasn’t until 2004 that I started playing the wind effectively,” Mickelson said. “Even when I would hit low shots, I would have way too much spin on it. It wasn’t until 2004 that I had kind of an epiphany of how to do that by taking more club and swinging easier and so forth.”

Mickelson truly believes that you can throw out his Open résumé this week. It means nothing he would have you believe. He’s in great spirits, was playful and engaging during his Tuesday news conference and genuinely was believable when he said he thinks he can win this championship.

The golf course is a huge factor, too. Aside from his spiritual connection to the Old Course, he feels that it’s the course on the Open rota that bests suits his game and his aggressive nature. There is plenty of room off the tee and driver will be an option for him more often than not, something that hasn’t been the case at places like Birkdale and Hoylake.

Besides all the above, Lefty knows that in order to be known as one of the greatest players in the history of golf, he needs to win an Open Championship. He needs to prove that he can conquer the game on all levels. He also is keenly aware of the list of champions at the Old Course and seems determined to join that mix.

“I think if you win all four majors you’ve shown yourself to be a complete player,” Mickelson said. “I haven’t won the U.S. Open Championship or the Open Championship, and I’d like to win both of those.”

With it would come that little carrot that has been dangling over his head for the past couple months. If Mickelson is the champion golfer of the year and sees his name atop the yellow leaderboard Sunday afternoon, he’ll reach the No. 1 ranking in the world no matter where Woods finishes.

“I think it would be something that if I were to accomplish in my career, whether it was just for one week or a month or a year, however long, just to be able to say you did it, especially in Tiger’s era, it would be incredible,” Mickelson said. “I know that my window of opportunity is small because Tiger is going to start playing some of his better golf here soon, so I’ve got to get my butt in gear.

“I’m going to try hard to do that this week.”

It may be a good idea to add Mickelson to that list of favorites this week.

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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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