Competing Against Any Generation

By Randall MellMay 11, 2011, 1:58 am

PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – They’re coming in waves now.

With baby faces, flat bellies and cocksure resolve, a youthful new generation of players is assaulting leaderboards.

Phil Mickelson can’t help noticing.

He’ll turn 41 next month. He’s dealing with psoriatic arthritis. He’s not old by golf’s standards, not yet, but he’s getting older with the game feeling like it’s become young almost overnight.

Where Tiger Woods once loomed as the greatest obstacle between Mickelson and all he has dreamed of achieving before his career is over, a cavalry of youth is now moving in the way.

Phil Mickelson
In 17 starts at The Players, Phil Mickelson has recorded just three top 10s. (Getty Images)

If Mickelson wants to win 11 more PGA Tour events to reach 50 for his career, if he wants to become the sixth player to win all four of the modern majors, he’ll have to go through the next generation to do so. He needs to win the U.S. Open and British Open to claim the career Grand Slam.

Charl Schwartzel won The Masters last month at 26, Martin Kaymer the PGA Championship last August at 25 and Louis Oosthuizen the British Open last July at 27.

Rory McIlroy was the 54-hole leader at Augusta National at 21. Jason Day tied for second there at 23. Matteo Manassero won his second European Tour event at 17 the week after the Masters.

You can’t look at a leaderboard most Sundays now without seeing the game getting younger.

Does that mean Mickelson is feeling older?

“I don’t feel that way,” Mickelson said. “I don’t feel that way because I see some things in my game that are starting to get better and better.”

Mickelson ended an 11-month winless spell claiming the Shell Houston Open last month. He arrives at The Players Championship with the confidence of knowing he won this event four years ago. After a sluggish start to the year, Mickelson feels as if he’s on the verge of a big summer.

“I really know what it is I’m trying to do on the greens now,” Mickelson said. “I’m rolling the ball better than I have in years.

“My short game has been sharp. My driving has been much better. I’m excited about this week. I feel like I’m driving the ball straighter than I ever have, and I’m excited to put that in play.

“My mindset changes after Augusta. It’s not distance anymore. I’ve got to get the ball in the fairway. It will be interesting to see if I can do that this week. If I’m able to put the ball in play, I should have a very good week because I’m able to attack a lot of the greens, the pins and play for some birdies.”

Mickelson may have won The Players, but his overall record shows the struggle his errant driving presents at the TPC Sawgrass Stadium Course. In 17 starts, Mickelson’s recorded just three top 10s. Since his victory in ’07, he’s finished T-21, T-55 and T-17.

Asked if at 40 he senses the window getting smaller on his opportunities, Mickelson shakes his head no.

“I see my game getting better than it has been, and I welcome the challenge and think that there’s a lot of opportunity for me to still have a lot of success,” he said.

With a victory this week, Mickelson can realize another first in his career. He can move to No. 1 in the world rankings.

“It’s certainly what everyone strives for,” he said. “But it’s not something that’s on the forefront of anyone’s mind. I think the most important thing is to win tournaments, to compete in a tournament like this week’s. There’s a lot more satisfaction beating the best players in the world on a challenging test like this than there is to say you’re ranked `X’ in the world rankings.”

While Mickelson’s getting himself ready for the U.S. Open at Congressional, he ranks The Players as among the most important titles he can win outside the majors.

“Having won here, there’s a certain amount of pressure that I feel is taken off,” Mickelson said. “I’m able, I don’t want to say free wheel, but play a little freer.”

In other words, he’s eager to take on the next generation.


Follow Randall Mell on Twitter @RandallMellGC


Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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.

Getty Images

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.

Getty Images

Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. 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. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

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