Mickelson's Hall-of-Fame career more than just numbers

By Randall MellNovember 10, 2011, 4:52 pm

If I’m running the World Golf Hall of Fame, I know right where to place Phil Mickelson’s exhibit when it’s unveiled next May.

I rearrange the place so I can put him between Arnold Palmer and Seve Ballesteros.

Thursday’s news that Mickelson was elected into the Hall of Fame on the first ballot leaves us trying to assess where his legacy belongs even though he’s only 41 years old and still driven to build on his record.

Listen to Phil Mickelson on Thursday's 'Morning Drive'

Mickelson has won 39 PGA Tour titles in his career, more than anyone except Sam Snead (82), Jack Nicklaus (73), Tiger Woods (71), Ben Hogan (64), Palmer (62), Byron Nelson (52), Billy Casper (51) and Walter Hagen (45). Mickelson has won three Masters (2004, ’06, ’10), the PGA Championship (2005) and a U.S. Amateur (1990).

And yet Mickelson’s career will be measured in how he won prizes more meaningful than titles and trophies. He won a legion of hearts and minds. He won them with a real knack for mesmerizing us with the spectacular, both spectacular success and spectacular failure. He also won them patiently standing along gallery ropes and signing more autographs than probably anybody but Palmer. He has won them looking so many fans in the eyes, connecting with a smile and a tip of the cap.

“The image of the players and the image of the game is the biggest asset we have,” PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said sitting with Mickelson at the Hall of Fame announcement Thursday at the Barclays Singapore Open. “Phil has contributed to that in a very positive way.”

As a player, Mickelson will be remembered for playing with a fearless, attacking style.

In that respect, he’s golf’s version of a theme-park ride.

His history of thrills and spills is dizzying.

Mickelson will be remembered as the daredevil who threaded the needle with his impossible shot between the trees from the pine straw at Augusta National's 13th hole on his way to his third Masters’ title last year. It wasn’t the high-percentage shot. It wasn’t even the smart shot. But it was a great shot. He’ll also be remembered as the bedeviled player who knocked his chances of winning the U.S. Open at Winged Foot in 2006 off a hospitality tent at the 72nd hole.

“God, I’m such an idiot,” Mickelson famously said in the aftermath.

Having the nerve to risk making himself look like a fool is part of his appeal.

Like Ballesteros, Mickelson plays with a creative flair seen in few players, with a relish for creating great escapes.

While Mickelson might not be the greatest player of his generation, he may be its most exciting.

There’s a quirky cleverness about his game that also sets him apart, though sometimes he seems to be too clever for his own good. He won the Masters with two drivers in his bag. He lost a U.S. Open with no driver in his bag. Master of the short game, he once played Colonial with five wedges in his bag.

While Mickelson’s critics wonder if he just likes showing off, if there’s too much calculation in everything he does, there’s no denying the signature brilliance he’s brought the game.

When it’s all said and done, the image of Mickelson that may endure more than any other was his hug of his wife, Amy, after winning last year’s Masters. The couple has three children. Almost a year removed from being diagnosed with breast cancer, Amy embraced her husband that day with tears streaming down her face. Mickelson’s mother, Mary, was diagnosed with breast cancer about the same time as Amy.

Through the illnesses of loved ones, through his own diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, Mickelson endures with some big dreams still unfulfilled.

When it’s all said and done, he hopes he’ll have added more memories to his Hall of Fame exhibit.

“To be called a Hall of Famer, that does sound like I’m a little old,” Mickelson said. “Fortunately, I don’t feel old, and hopefully I’ll be able to play quite a bit longer.

“I still want to win a number of golf tournaments. I would like to get to that magic number of 50 wins that few players have done. But, also, finally getting that U.S. Open win would mean a lot to me, as well as would a British Open win, which would conclude the grand slam.

“I came close at the British Open last year at Royal St. George’s. I’ve had five seconds at the U.S. Open. I am going to try to take the knowledge I’ve gained over the years that led to those good performances and see if I can get over the hump.”

And along the way, there’s bound to be more hearts and minds to win.

Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

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.

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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.