Woods Mickelson Struggle Together
For what was believed to be the first time since the final round of the 2001 Masters, world No. 1 Tiger Woods paired alongside world No. 2 Phil Mickelson in the first round of the season-ending Tour Championship.
They shook hands at the first, shook hands at the last, and spoke very little in between.
It wasnt personal, just business.
And not that it was all business, either. The two walked in stride on a couple of occasions, with Mickelson doing most of the talking. The lefthander even offered a bit of levity prior to the beginning of the round.
While the first-tee announcer was reeling off Tigers list of 2002 accomplishments, Phil chimed in near the end with a facetious, All right, all right. Both men, along with the congested crowd, shared in laughter.
I didnt realize all that stuff had taken place this year, all of those victories. That was pretty impressive, Mickelson later said.
Neither played impressively Thursday, despite playing lift, clean and place. Mickelson shot even-par 70 under chilly, windy conditions at the East Lake Golf Club. Tiger had a 71, 1-over-par, to put him six shots back of leaders Steve Lowery and Vijay Singh.
Field aside, the two battled for the one-on-one lead throughout the front side. Mickelson birdied the second to draw first blood, but came up short of the green with his approach at the fifth and made bogey. Woods, on the other hand, bumped in a 3-wood from the fringe for birdie at 5 to take a one-shot advantage at 1-under.
The sixth proved to be a three-shot swing, as Woods 7-iron on the 164-yard par-3 flew the putting surface and caromed into the water behind the peninsula green. Tiger took double bogey to drop to 1-over, while Mickelson rolled in a 15-footer for birdie to get back to 1-under.
I got fooled, Woods said of his tee shot. The wind switched on me and it went downwind.
Phil hit a shot and he hit it harder than I did, hit the same club, and it came out pin-high. Just timing.
Two holes later, the two were again deadlocked. Woods made birdie from 10 feet at the seventh. Mickelson badly pulled a short-iron from the rough at the eighth and made bogey.
Each birdied the par-5 ninth. Tiger then bogeyed the 10th after missing the fairway and the green. He atoned with a birdie at 12, but for the third time on the day he followed up a birdie with at least a bogey, again missing the fairway and the green at 13.
Mickelson picked up a shot at the par-3 11th, and then parred his next four holes before failing to get up and down at 16.
Woods saved par at 17 when he had to play his second shot off the cart path. He missed the green, but made an eight-footer. He wasnt as fortunate at the last. His 3-iron off the tee at the 232-yard par-3 came up short of the green, from where he pitched to four feet, only to miss the putt.
Mickelson also bogeyed the last after pushing a 3-wood left of the green.
I really dont know when was the last time we played under tricky conditions like this, Woods said. But even with ball in hand, it was still tough to try and gauge what shot you are going to play.
Still, the two said they enjoyed one anothers company.
We dont get a chance to play with each other very often, said Woods. It was a lot of fun. We both didnt play that great, but it was a lot of fun. We thoroughly enjoyed it.
Said Mickelson: I enjoy playing with him because I respect his game and know that if I stay somewhere near his score, Ill be somewhere near the lead, most likely, and so there are a lot of pluses to it.
Woods will be paired with Bob Estes in Round 2. Mickelson will play with David Toms. The two went 2-1-1 as Ryder Cup partners this year.
He and I kind of feed off each other and play well when we play together, so I expect either one of us, if not both of us, should have a good day tomorrow, said Woods.
Full-field scores from The Tour Championship
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
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.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“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
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.
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.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
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.