Phil Mickelson feeling Minnesota love

By Randall MellAugust 12, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 PGA ChampionshipCHASKA, Minn. ' The roar echoed across Hazeltine National Golf Club.
That Phil Mickelson can conjure thunder under clear blue skies at the PGA Championship comes as no surprise, but this was a practice round.
Mickelson jolted the folks jammed into the bleachers at the 18th hole off their feet by holing a 12-foot putt.
And it wasnt even for birdie.
Phil Mickelson PGA Championship
Phil Mickelson signs autographs for fans during his practice round Wednesday at the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National. (Getty Images)
It was an unremarkable putt to save par, though it was hardly inconsequential.
That was a $100 putt, Butch Harmon, Mickelsons swing coach, said afterward.
Mickelsons putt saved him from reaching into his wallet after an 18-hole match with long-hitting Dustin Johnson. Mickelsons putt assured a push in their all-square match. As impressed as Harmon was with the nature of the fan reaction, he was more impressed by the nature of Mickelsons last stroke. He believes Mickelsons ball striking is sharp enough to win this week. He believes putting was the difference in Mickelsons runner-up finish at the U.S. Open in June and his close call at the Masters in April, and he suspects it will make the difference again this week.
Phil played really, really well at the U.S. Open, Harmon said. His ball striking's been good. He missed some short putts like he did at the Masters and that probably cost him winning.
Wednesday marked Mickelsons first practice round at Hazeltine National this week.
His day began almost as remarkably as it ended. He received a standing ovation.
Theres nothing unusual about Mickelson inspiring that, either, except it came on the driving range before he hit a shot.
Fans squeezed into the bleachers spotted him crossing the bridge to the range, and it was like some head of state had arrived. One by one, they began rising and cheering and even chanting his name.
Of course, its noisier than ever around Mickelson now because his fans are cheering for two. Though Amy, Mickelsons wife, isnt here as she recovers from breast cancer surgery, shes here in spirit. Leftys legion of fans let him know at every turn that they understand that.
Its been flattering, but whats been interesting is to see how this affects so many people, Mickelson said. Everybody has a personal story, because its affected everybodys life. Whether its their mother, sister or whether its breast cancer or another form of cancer, its shocking to me to see how this disease has affected so many people.
Mickelson will be looking to win the fourth major of his career this week. He skipped the British Open last month to be with Amy and the couples three young children. He said he isnt sure he will be able to play the Presidents Cup in October, and he isnt sure how many FedEx Cup playoff events hell play when they begin later this month. Amys treatment will dictate his schedule.
Its been an interesting year, and weve had some highs and lows, Mickelson said. And I think well have some more highs and lows for the next year or two. I think in the end, everythings going to be fine. But right now, things are day-to-day for us. Thats both golf and not golf.
Minnesotans made it clear Wednesday that they love Mickelson as much as the New Yorkers who rooted him on at Bethpage Black at the U.S. Open.
With Mickelson making his way to Hazeltine Nationals first tee to play with Fred Couples, club professional Ryan Benzel and Johnson, fans stampeded in herd-like fashion to see. They were stacked along the ropes almost the entire length of the first fairway.
Lefty is the opposite of homeless. Almost everywhere Mickelson plays, it feels like a home game. Hell have a home-field advantage again this week, though he doesnt necessarily see it that way.
You still have to execute, you still have to hit shots, Mickelson said. You still have to hit the putts and shoot the low score if you expect to win, and nobody else can pull the trigger except for you.
Dave Pelz focuses on Mickelsons short-game as a coach, but he feels what the crowds mean to his players game.
I think its part of Phils personality, and if the crowds werent there he would miss them, Pelz said. He can get inspired and play out of his mind. I think you saw it at the U.S. Open. I think he just ran out of gas there. If he had a fraction more energy, I believe he would have pulled it if off at the U.S. Open. It was a combination of emotional and physical factors, but he gave it everything he had.
People say Tiger never gives up, but Phils the same way. Ive never seen Phil give up. Ive been coaching Phils short game for six years now, and Ive never seen him not try his best over a shot. Theres no give up in Phil.
Its part of what Mickelsons legion of fans love of about him.
Phil feeds off them, Harmon said.
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    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 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.