Mickelson (69) stays hot despite wind at Honda

By Randall MellFebruary 25, 2016, 10:17 pm

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. – Locks of Phil Mickelson’s hair were flapping in the strong, cold winds cutting across PGA National early Thursday morning at the Honda Classic.

Flagsticks were doing the rumba.

It was blowing hard enough to ground the Egyptian geese huddling down in the grass on the Champion Course.

The wind was blowing shots and even putts off course, but it couldn’t blow the smile off Phil Mickelson’s face.

With a 1-under-par 69, Mickelson made a solid start in tough conditions. He was T-5 when he walked out of scoring near the end of the morning wave. More than anything, Mickelson was pleased with the way his new swing changes held up in all the crosswinds.

“It’s been really fun for me to come out and play, because I know that I’m going to strike it well,” Mickelson said.

There was no faking it around the Champion Course in the opening round. With winds ripping up to 20 mph, any flaws in a player’s ball-striking were going to be exposed. That’s the big test Honda offers Mickelson this week. These changes Mickelson is working on with his new swing coach, Andrew Getson, are going to be tested more than they’ve been tested in any other event this year.

“It was very, very challenging,” Mickelson said. “I felt very confident working it into the wind and did it a number of times today. The ball-striking took a lot of pressure off my short game. To keep it around par, it was a good first day.”

The Honda Classic: Articles, photos and videos

Mickelson walked away from the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am disappointed with a second place finish after missing a 5-foot putt at the last that could have sent him into a playoff, but he left eager for another opportunity. This new swing has him convinced he’ll be giving himself a lot more chances to end a winless spell that dates back to the summer of 2013.

“I just can’t wait to get back out there tomorrow, because I know I can get it back under par,” Mickelson said. “I’m having a lot of fun playing right now, because I’m starting to play with ease and hit some shots that I’m trying to hit.”

Mickelson hit 7 of 14 fairways and 13 greens in regulation on Thursday but never got himself in all the trouble lurking at PGA National. With his birdie at 18, his ninth hole of the day, he grabbed sole possession of the lead. His putter failed him at the second hole, where he missed a 4-footer for par, and again at the sixth, where he three putted.

“The crosswinds actually push [a putt] an inch or two,” Mickelson said.

While it’s difficult to imagine Mickelson, 45, playing without confidence, even through his last 34 starts without a victory, there has been angst over his swing. A lot of it, he confesses.

“The last year or two, I would show up at a course, and I was just trying to find something,” Mickelson said. “I would be out on the course, and I didn’t know which way the miss was going to be. It could be left. It could be right. It caused a lot of frustration knowing that I’m able to hit these shots but not pulling them off. Caused a lot of anxiety.

“Now I show up to the course, and I’m very relaxed. I’m calm and fairly confident, because I’m able to hit a number of really good shots, and then the ones I miss a little bit, I’m able to control and know which way I’m going to miss. And it’s usually OK.”

Ball-striking gets a supreme test at PGA National, where there is so much trouble, so many forced carries over water. Padraig Harrington, the defending champ here, said the Champion Course is like a major championship test.

“It’s a really good test, because it forces you to work it back into the wind on certain shots,” Mickelson said.

The winds were up with the sun and Mickelson’s early tee time Thursday, and he was ready for the challenge.

“He opened up at 7:45 with two of the purest shots I’ve seen him hit, to the 10th, that was playing so long,” said Adam Scott, one of Mickelson’s playing partners. “He made a lovely 3 and that set the tone for the day.”

After driving it 305 yards through a crosswind with his opening tee shot, Mickelson carved a 4-iron into the wind to 10 feet to set up his birdie. It was one of only six birdies in the first round on that difficult 508-yard par 4.

“A good way to start,” Mickelson said.

Like Mickelson, Scott once worked with Butch Harmon. Scott was asked if Mickelson’s switch to Getson surprised him.

“Nothing surprises me in this game,” Scott said. “Generally, if you look at anyone, these relationships have a lifespan out here. You get the best out of each other when you’re meeting at the same point. Often, that changes with caddies or coaches or trainers or psychologists or anyone else. I know it was a very successful relationship they had. It’s just the way it is out here. Obviously, they felt like they needed a different direction.”

Scott said changes sometimes are refreshing.

Mickelson will be looking to refresh himself with a victory come Sunday.

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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

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.