For the Man Who Has it All

By Rex HoggardJune 17, 2010, 4:28 am

2010 U.S. OpenPEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Save the black balloons, as if such a stain could cloud an otherwise chamber-of-commerce day along the Monterey Peninsula. Philip Alfred Mickelson turned 40 on Wednesday.

Seems like just yesterday the confident southpaw was swinging hard and collecting PGA Tour titles like he had something to prove. The middle-aged man is still swinging hard and still playing like he has something to prove.

Like the rest of us, Lefty has realized forty-something creeps up on you – like gray hair and love handles. The swashbuckling kid who won a Tour event as an amateur was asked on Tuesday the difference between the 30-year-old version and the current model?

Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson during Tuesday's practice round at Pebble Beach. (Getty Images)
“When I was first out on Tour and (Jack) Nicklaus won the Masters at 46 it just seemed like, oh, my goodness, how difficult that would be for anybody at 46. Or when he won the U.S. Open in 1980 at 40, it was like, oh, man this is incredible,” Mickelson said. “I feel like even though I'm 40 I'm playing some of my best golf.”

As a gift to himself Lefty took the big day off. From Pebble Beach and the U.S. Open, that is, not golf. Instead of grinding to prepare for the 110th U.S. Open, he was grinning just down 17 Mile Drive at storied Cypress Point.

Not a bad “bucket list” afternoon for us schlubs whose closest encounter with Cypress Point will be in glossy magazine pictures, but when your closet has bookend green jackets and a PGA Championship high card, 18 at Cypress Point is an appetizer.

Now, we’re not saying Mickelson is a difficult man to buy for, but the list of previous gifts he’s received includes a fossilized dinosaur head and a chunk of meteorite.

The man who has everything, really does. So in the spirit of last-minute-gift-giving we’ve come up with a list of possible birthday options.

*The rest of the dinosaur, because no house is complete without a to-scale T-Rex greeting visitors at the front door.

*A quarterback for his beloved San Diego Chargers, because – let’s be honest – the avid sports fan has suffered enough at the hands of Padres.

*.55 World Ranking points, because he’s been closing the gap on Tiger Woods for the better part of a year but it seems the last few tenths of a point are the hardest.

*A Winged Foot mulligan, because no man should ever have to utter the phrase “I am such an idiot” in front of a group of reporters unless he is an idiot, and Mickelson is not.

*Pine straw, instead of rough, down the sides of every fairway he plays, because the man made absolute magic from the junk adjacent Augusta National’s 13th hole this year.

*Seventy-hole major championships, because sometimes the golf gods simply lose interest after 72 (see 2006 Winged Foot, 2009 Bethpage Opens).

*A driver he can hit straight, because the one that got crooked at Augusta National will not work this week at Pebble Beach.

*Any driver at all, because that no-driver experiment at the Torrey Pines Open was never going to work on the championship’s longest venue.

*The services of Dave Stockton Sr. two years earlier, because imagine the possibilities had the game’s putting guru gotten an earlier start.

*An even shorter backswing, because from abbreviated actions come major championships.

*A Krispy Kreme franchise to call his own, because the guy loves his Krispy Kremes.

*An Open rewards program, because five runners-up at the national championship should be good for one freebie.

Of course, in a perfect world the health of Mickelson’s wife, Amy, and mother, Marry – both of whom were diagnosed with breast cancer – would be the best gift. But then that emotional snapshot from Sunday at Augusta National is still vivid. Amy Mickelson has not closed out the disease just yet, but if the road to good health is paved with smiles it’s just a matter of time.

So, the answer, it seems, appears obvious. For the man that has everything save the one title that has so painfully eluded him, maybe even haunted him, we put a neat bow on a U.S. Open bottle cap. And, as fate would have it, a table just opened up at the game’s most coveted gathering spot. Open seating, starting on Sunday at Pebble Beach.


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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.