Mickelson at his scrambling best

By Randall MellJanuary 23, 2013, 10:55 pm

SAN DIEGO – This great escape ranked right there with Phil Mickelson’s shot between the trees at the 13th when he won the Masters three years ago.

Nobody gets themselves out of jams quite so cleverly.

Mickelson reinforced that by pulling off yet another brilliant recovery Wednesday at Torrey Pines, this time without hitting a shot.

A day after apologizing for complaining about the tax rate he’s facing as a California resident, Mickelson got himself up and down from a public relations mess.

He did it with candid wit and self-effacing humor while not evading a single question in his news conference.


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Remember what Mickelson said after he lost the U.S. Open hitting that last drive off a hospitality tent at Winged Foot in 2006?

“I’m such an idiot.”

Without using those exact words again, Mickelson brought them to mind comparing his tax complaints with the errant drive that cost him the U.S. Open.

Mickelson said his mistake at Winged Foot soared far left.

He said his mistake talking about taxes soared in another direction.

“This happened to be way right,” Mickelson said.

The punch line drew a hearty laugh in the media room. He built on that just three days after he said his new tax burden will force him to make “drastic changes” in his life, sparking speculation he would move to another state, or that he might even retire.

“You know, I’ve made some dumb, dumb mistakes, and, obviously, talking about this stuff was one of them,” Mickelson said. “I made a big mistake talking about this stuff publicly, and I shouldn’t have done that.”

Whether you think Mickelson should have apologized or not, he believed it was necessary. He believed he was taking advantage of his privileged lot in life.

“My apology is for talking about it publicly, because I shouldn’t take advantage of the forum that I have as a professional golfer, to try to ignite change over these issues.

“I think it was insensitive to talk about it publicly to those people who are not able to find a job, that are struggling paycheck to paycheck.”

Mickelson never asked reporters to change the subject. The first 12 questions were about the furor his tax comments caused.

Asked directly again how he feels about his tax bill, Mickelson steered clear of trouble.

“I’ve never had a problem paying my fair share,” he said. “I don’t know what that is right now, but I’ve never had a problem paying my fair share.”

Is he still considering leaving California, where he was born and raised and still resides?

“I don’t know what I’m going to do yet,” Mickelson said. “So I shouldn’t have brought it up then. I’m not going to bring it up until I know exactly what I’m going to do. I don’t want to speculate.

“We have talked and will continue to talk to the best tax advisors. I love this state. I grew up here. I love it here, and I’m certainly concerned about it.”

The furor has overshadowed the fact that Mickelson is returning home to the event and course where he won his first event as a professional. It’s the 20-year anniversary of his winning the Buick Invitational. Mickelson said he is accustomed to having created distractions for himself.

“I’ve said some stupid things in the past that have caused a media uproar before,” he said. “It’s just part of the deal. One thing I’ve prided myself on is whatever it is I’m dealing with in my personal life, once I get inside the ropes, I need to be able to focus on shooting a low score.”

Mickelson was asked what his “next dumbest” comment was that caused him trouble.

“Probably right here in San Diego 10 years ago, talking about equipment,” Mickelson said.

That was his famous quip that he believed Tiger was miffed that he was driving it past him with his new equipment, and that Tiger was playing with “inferior” equipment.

“What a dumb thing that was,” Mickelson said. “I’m sure we can think of some other pearls over the years.”

As mea culpa’s in golf go, Mickelson’s was impressive.

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Perez skips Torrey, 'upset' with Ryder Cup standings

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 2:19 am

Pat Perez is unhappy about his standing on the U.S. Ryder Cup points list, and his situation won't improve this week.

Perez won the CIMB Classic during the fall portion of this season, and he followed that with a T-5 finish at the inaugural CJ Cup. But he didn't receive any Ryder Cup points for either result because of a rule enacted by the American task force prior to the 2014 Ryder Cup which only awards points during the calendar year of the biennial matches as well as select events like majors and WGCs during the prior year.

As a result, Perez is currently 17th in the American points race - behind players like Patrick Reed, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas and James Hahn, none of whom have won a tournament since the 2016 Ryder Cup - as he looks to make a U.S. squad for the first time at age 42.

"That kind of upset me a little bit, the fact that I'm (17) on the list, but I should probably be (No.) 3 or 4," Perez told Golf Digest. "So it kind of put a bitter taste in my mouth. The fact that you win on the PGA Tour and you beat some good players, yet you don't get any points because of what our committee has decided to do."

Perez won't be earning any points this week because he has opted to tee it up at the European Tour's Omega Dubai Desert Classic. The decision comes after Perez finished T-21 last week at the Singapore Open, and it means that the veteran is missing the Farmers Insurance Open in his former hometown of San Diego for the first time since 2001.

Perez went to high school a few minutes from Torrey Pines, and he defeated a field that included Tiger Woods to win the junior world title on the South Course in 1993. His father, Tony, has been a longtime starter on the tournament's opening hole, and Perez was a runner-up in 2014 and tied for fourth last year.

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Woods favored to miss Farmers Insurance Open cut

By Will GrayJanuary 24, 2018, 1:54 am

If the Las Vegas bookmakers are to be believed, folks in the San Diego area hoping to see Tiger Woods this week might want to head to Torrey Pines early.

Woods is making his first competitive start of the year this week at the Farmers Insurance Open, and it will be his first official start on the PGA Tour since last year's event. He missed nearly all of 2017 because of a back injury before returning with a T-9 finish last month at the Hero World Challenge.

But the South Course at Torrey Pines is a far different test than Albany, and the Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook lists Woods as a -180 favorite to miss the 36-hole cut. It means bettors must wager $180 to win $100, while his +150 odds to make the cut mean a bettor can win $150 with a $100 wager.

Woods is listed at 25/1 to win. He won the tournament for the seventh time in 2013, but in three appearances since he has missed the 36-hole cut, missed the 54-hole cut and withdrawn after 12 holes.

Here's a look at the various Woods-related prop bets available at the Westgate:

Will Woods make the 36-hole cut? Yes +150, No -180

Lowest single-round score (both courses par 72): Over/Under 70

Highest single-round score: Over/Under 74.5

Will Woods finish inside the top 10? Yes +350, No -450

Will Woods finish inside the top 20? Yes +170, No -200

Will Woods withdraw during the tournament? Yes +650, No -1000

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Monahan buoyed by Tour's sponsor agreements

By Rex HoggardJanuary 24, 2018, 12:27 am

SAN DIEGO – Farmers Insurance announced on Tuesday at Torrey Pines a seven-year extension of the company’s sponsorship of the Southern California PGA Tour event. This comes on the heels of Sony extending its sponsorship of the year’s first full-field event in Hawaii through 2022.

Although these might seem to be relatively predictable moves, considering the drastic makeover of the Tour schedule that will begin with the 2018-19 season, it is a telling sign of the confidence corporations have in professional golf.

“It’s a compliment to our players and the value that the sponsors are achieving,” Tour commissioner Jay Monahan said.

Monahan said that before 2014 there were no 10-year title sponsorship agreements in place. Now there are seven events sponsored for 10-years, and another five tournaments that have agreements in place of at least seven years.

“What it means is, it gives organizations like the Century Club [which hosts this week’s Farmers Insurance Open], when you have that level of stability on a long-term basis that allows you to invest in your product, to grow interest and to grow the impact of it,” Monahan said. “You experienced what this was like in 2010 or seen other tournaments that you don’t know what the future is.S o to go out and sell and inspire a community and you can’t state that we have a long-term agreement it’s more difficult.”

Events like this year’s Houston Open, Colonial in Fort Worth, Texas, and The National all currently don’t have title sponsors – although officials at Colonial are confident they can piece together a sponsorship package. But even that is encouraging to Monahan considering the uncertainty surrounding next season’s schedule, which will include the PGA Championship moving to May and The Players to March as well as a pre-Labor Day finish to the season.

“When you look back historically to any given year [the number of events needing sponsors] is lower than the typical average,” Monahan said. “As we start looking to a new schedule next year, you get excited about a great schedule with a great group of partners.”

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Day WDs from Farmers pro-am because of sore back

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 24, 2018, 12:07 am

SAN DIEGO – Jason Day has withdrawn from the Wednesday pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, citing a sore back.

Day, the 2015 champion, played a practice round with Tiger Woods and Bryson DeChambeau on Tuesday at Torrey Pines, and he is still expected to play in the tournament.

Day was replaced in the pro-am by Whee Kim. 

Making his first start since the Australian Open in November, Day is scheduled to tee off at 1:30 p.m. ET Thursday alongside Jon Rahm and Brandt Snedeker.