Mickelson still has shot at fourth green jacket

By Randall MellApril 12, 2015, 12:53 am

AUGUSTA, Ga. – What’s a guy have to do to get noticed around here?

Win a fourth green jacket?

Phil Mickelson was pretty much an afterthought entering this Masters, an aging former champion winless in almost two full years, with just a single top-10 finish in a PGA Tour event over this season and last.

He wasn’t on the marquee with the stars getting top billing here.

This week was all about the return of Tiger Woods, and Rory McIlroy’s bid to win the career Grand Slam.

Mickelson wasn’t even the best lefty at Augusta National with Bubba Watson the favorite to win his third Masters’ title in four seasons.

And when this Masters finally got started, fresh-faced Jordan Spieth stole the show in his bid to smash records and make history. Spieth’s brilliance only served to make Mickelson seem even older, even closer to officially being washed up with his 45th birthday less than two months away.

And yet when Saturday’s dizzying twists and turns finally skidded to a stop, there was Mickelson, back in the mix. He will tee it up Sunday with a chance to be the guy making all the history that matters. He’s seeking his sixth major championship title.

With a 5-under-par 67, Mickelson equaled the best score posted Saturday, putting himself in position to join Jack Nicklaus (6), Arnold Palmer (4) and Tiger Woods (4) as the only players to win four or more green jackets.

“I just love it,” Mickelson said. “It's what I dreamed about as a kid. It's what motivated me in the off season, four or five days a week, to get up at 5:30 and work out, dreaming of this, giving myself an opportunity in this tournament.

“Granted, I've got a lot of work to do tomorrow, and I'm quite a ways back. A good round though, and it could be fun.”

Mickelson will start the final round five shots back of Spieth, and if you watched Saturday’s finish, five shots seems as small as it’s ever been on the back nine at Augusta National. Mickelson was part of the head-spinning twists and turns late in the third round, drama that makes anything seem possible Sunday.

In a breathless four-hole stretch on the back nine, Mickelson went from seven behind Spieth to four down, then back to seven down before ending five back.

“It really is the best,” Mickelson said of being in the hunt at the Masters. “To play late on the weekends in Augusta, perfect weather, the golf course just stupendous today, it couldn’t have been any better.”

Mickelson rolled into Augusta National believing this was possible.

“I think driving down Magnolia Lane is rejuvenating,” Mickelson said at week’s start. “It gives me a new energy. It's exciting, and I think that energy helps me work hard, play hard and focus better and play my best.”

He wasn’t kidding.

Majors, in general, bring the best out of Mickelson now. He finished second to McIlroy at the PGA Championship in August. That was his only top-10 in a PGA Tour event in 2014. His last victory anywhere in the world was the British Open in July of 2013. Mickelson has finished first or second in three of his last seven starts in majors.

Mickelson wore pink Sunday in honor of Palmer, who made so many brilliant Sunday charges at the Masters with his bold play. Mickelson is known for the same risk-loving style of play.

“It's not my color, it doesn't look good on me, and I don't wear it well, but I had a premonition after spending time with Arnold Palmer,” Mickelson said. “He likes to wear this color. I just had a feeling that I needed to make a move, and I had it in the bag and pulled it out.”

Eight back at day’s start, Mickelson got himself within four shots of Spieth, burying a dramatic 60-foot birdie putt at the 16th hole.

“It’s crazy to make that putt,” Mickelson said. “I’m just trying to two putt it.”

Mickelson lost some momentum making bogey at the 17th, but he got some help from a stumbling Spieth at the end to stay within reach.

Mickelson said he’ll be looking to a favorite color to inspire him to another bold Sunday finish.

“I like to wear dark colors on Sunday,” Mickelson said. “I've won three times here wearing black shirts, so I'll wear a black shirt tomorrow. It also helps me get more aggressive. Studies have shown NFL teams, when they wear black, they have more penalties. That's what I need to do tomorrow, play more aggressive.”

Mickelson’s birdie at the 16th looked as if it would get him in the final pairing with Spieth, but his bogey puts him out with Charley Hoffman in the group directly in front of Spieth. That’s where Mickelson said he prefers to be.

“I was hoping to be the group in front [of Spieth], and if I can start posting some birdies, I think it's much more difficult to follow than it is to lead,” he said.

Mickelson respects Spieth and believes he will be tough to beat.

“He would just be a great champion,” Mickelson said. “He's just a classy guy. He just represents the game very well and at a very young age, and he's just got a lot of game.

“I'm going to try to stop him, but we'll see how it goes.”

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CareerBuilder purse payouts: Rahm wins $1.062 million

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 12:50 pm

Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry on the fourth hole of sudden death to win the CareerBuilder Challenger. Here's a look at how the purse was paid out in La Quinta, Calif.:

1 Jon Rahm -22 $1,062,000
2 Andrew Landry -22 $637,200
T3 Adam Hadwin -20 $306,800
T3 John Huh -20 $306,800
T3 Martin Piller -20 $306,800
T6 Kevin Chappell -19 $205,025
T6 Scott Piercy -19 $205,025
T8 Brandon Harkins -18 $171,100
T8 Jason Kokrak -18 $171,100
T8 Sam Saunders -18 $171,100
T11 Harris English -17 $135,700
T11 Seamus Power -17 $135,700
T11 Jhonattan Vegas -17 $135,700
T14 Bud Cauley -16 $106,200
T14 Austin Cook -16 $106,200
T14 Grayson Murray -16 $106,200
T17 Andrew Putnam -15 $88,500
T17 Peter Uihlein -15 $88,500
T17 Aaron Wise -15 $88,500
T20 Ricky Barnes -14 $57,754
T20 Stewart Cink -14 $57,754
T20 Brian Harman -14 $57,754
T20 Beau Hossler -14 $57,754
T20 Charles Howell III -14 $57,754
T20 Zach Johnson -14 $57,754
T20 Ryan Palmer -14 $57,754
T20 Brendan Steele -14 $57,754
T20 Nick Taylor -14 $57,754
T29 Lucas Glover -13 $36,706
T29 Russell Knox -13 $36,706
T29 Nate Lashley -13 $36,706
T29 Tom Lovelady -13 $36,706
T29 Kevin Streelman -13 $36,706
T29 Hudson Swafford -13 $36,706
T29 Richy Werenski -13 $36,706
T36 Jason Dufner -12 $27,189
T36 Derek Fathauer -12 $27,189
T36 James Hahn -12 $27,189
T36 Chez Reavie -12 $27,189
T36 Webb Simpson -12 $27,189
T36 Tyrone Van Aswegen -12 $27,189
T42 Bronson Burgoon -11 $18,983
T42 Ben Crane -11 $18,983
T42 Brian Gay -11 $18,983
T42 Chesson Hadley -11 $18,983
T42 Patton Kizzire -11 $18,983
T42 Hunter Mahan -11 $18,983
T42 Kevin Na -11 $18,983
T42 Rob Oppenheim -11 $18,983
T50 Alex Cejka -10 $14,025
T50 Corey Conners -10 $14,025
T50 Michael Kim -10 $14,025
T50 Kevin Kisner -10 $14,025
T50 Sean O'Hair -10 $14,025
T50 Sam Ryder -10 $14,025
T50 Nick Watney -10 $14,025
T57 Robert Garrigus -9 $13,039
T57 Tom Hoge -9 $13,039
T57 David Lingmerth -9 $13,039
T57 Ben Martin -9 $13,039
T57 Trey Mullinax -9 $13,039
T57 Brett Stegmaier -9 $13,039
T63 Scott Brown -8 $12,449
T63 Wesley Bryan -8 $12,449
T63 Brice Garnett -8 $12,449
T63 Sung Kang -8 $12,449
T67 Talor Gooch -7 $12,095
T67 Tom Whitney -7 $12,095
T69 Matt Every -6 $11,623
T69 Billy Hurley III -6 $11,623
T69 Smylie Kaufman -6 $11,623
T69 Keith Mitchell -6 $11,623
T69 Rory Sabbatini -6 $11,623
T69 Chris Stroud -6 $11,623
75 John Peterson -5 $11,210
76 Abraham Ancer -4 $11,092
77 Ben Silverman 4 $10,974
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After Further Review: Tiger's return comes at perfect time

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 22, 2018, 2:19 am

Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On the current state of golf as Tiger Woods returns to competition ...

Less than four days before Tiger Woods returns to official competitive golf for the first time in a year, Jon Rahm, the new second-ranked player in the world, won on the PGA Tour and Rory McIlroy made an impressive 2018 debut on the European Tour (T-3).

Not since Ben Hogan, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus crossed paths at the 1960 U.S. Open has there been so many superstars all poised for big seasons, with world No. 1 Dustin Johnson having already won this year and Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas both coming off stellar seasons.

It’s a good time for golf. - Rex Hoggard

On Tommy Fleetwood's continued success ...

There have been scores of talented European players whose skills didn’t translate to the PGA Tour … and maybe, in a few years, Tommy Fleetwood will prove to be no different.

He sure looks like the real deal, though.  

His title defense in Abu Dhabi – on the strength of a back-nine 30 in windy conditions – was his third title in the past 12 months and 11th top-10 overall. A few of those have come in majors and World Golf Championship events, too, which led the reigning Race to Dubai champion to accept PGA Tour membership for this season.

Beginning at Riviera, he plans to play exclusively in the States through May, then reassess for the rest of the year. Hope he sticks, because he’s a fun personality with tons of game. - Ryan Lavner

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Rahm passes Spieth to become world No. 2

By Nick MentaJanuary 22, 2018, 1:25 am

With his win Sunday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, Jon Rahm picked up his second PGA Tour victory and moved to No. 2 in the FedExCup points standings.

He picked up one more No. 2, too.

The 23-year-old Spaniard passed Jordan Spieth to move to No. 2 in the Official World Golf Ranking, behind only Dustin Johnson.

In 19 months, since June 2016, Rahm has rocketed from No. 776 in the world to No. 2, thanks in part to his low divisor, his number of events played.

Asked after his playoff victory over Andrew Landry to discuss his rapid ascent up the world rankings, Rahm was almost at a loss.

“It's hard to believe to be honest, passing Jordan Spieth,” he said. “That's a three-time major champion. I only have two wins. He's got 10-plus, right? It's again – I've said it many times – I never thought I was going to be at this point in my life right now.”

Rahm may only have two PGA Tour titles, but this is his fourth worldwide win in the last year, dating back to last season’s Farmers Insurance Open. He also took the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open and the DP World Tour Championship on his way to claiming the European Tour’s 2017 Rookie of the Year Award.

Dating back to the start of last season on the PGA Tour, Rahm has racked up 12 top-10s, three runner-ups, and two wins.

He will head to Torrey Pines next week ready to defend for the first time.

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Brady compares self to Woods after winning AFC title

By Jason CrookJanuary 22, 2018, 1:05 am

Tom Brady and Tiger Woods are two of the all-time greats in their respective sports ... a fact that is not lost on the five-time Super Bowl winning quarterback.

Fresh off leading the New England Patriots to a AFC Championship victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars, Brady was asked about winning the game despite a cut on his throwing hand - which made national news heading into the matchup.

His response invoked the name of a certain 14-time major winner, something that would be tough to pull off, if not for the fact that he is, you know, Tom Brady.

“I think it's kind of arrogant to say it bothered me when we had a pretty good game, so I wouldn't say that," the 40-year-old told reporters after the game. "It's like when Tiger Woods said, ‘That was my C game’ and he won the tournament."

Tiger Woods winning with his "C game" may be a distant memory for golf fans, but no matter what game he brings, his next chance to win comes next week at Torrey Pines during his official comeback to the PGA Tour.

Brady has a shot at his sixth Super Bowl title in two weeks. The Patriots would probably benefit from him bringing a little better than his "C game" as well.