Phil Fights to Stay Fit

By Rich LernerJanuary 24, 2003, 5:00 pm
Inside a corporate tent at the Phoenix Open, the caterer looked up at a rerun of the 1996 tournament playing out on The Golf Channel. Without hesitating, he said, Wow, look how young Phil Mickelson looks!
Seven years later, Mickelson, still closely resembling Hollywood star Hugh Grant, by no means looks old. But the contrast was fairly stark. More angular face then. Leaner overall body. But isnt that what getting olders all about for most? Getting wiser and wider?
I will always have fat on me, Phil explained, as if he were John Candy. Theres nothing I can do about it.
Ive got subcutaneous fat, he continued.
Sub what? asked a confused reporter.
Subcutaneous, replied Phil. Beneath the skin.
A roomful of blank reporter faces(is there any other kind?) stared back, the way we do when Phils launching into an aerodynamic discussion about the new Pro V1 X, which, by the way, hes playing, along with the Titleist 983K driver.
Most people who are ripped have visceral fat, he explained. Theres nothing I can do about it. Subcutaneous fat just lies underneath the skin as opposed to underneath the muscle.
So its not really my fault Im fat? wondered the same confounded reporter, having also struggled to stay slim.
No, no thats not it, said Phil. Some people put on weight, but theyre still ripped because its underneath the muscle.
Trying to subdue the subcutaneous, Phil now works with a personal trainer, Sean Cochran, whos done a good deal with baseball pitchers. Theyre concentrating on the core. Thus, the only ball as hot as the V1 is the heavy ball guys are using in the gym these days.
Its not a fad, Phil said. Its just were learning more bio-mechanically that the down swing is started by the core muscles. And to create speed you need to create more strength.
Phils also dabbling in martial arts.
Ive always been intrigued by that, he remarked.
New workout regimen. New golf ball. New driver. Relatively new putter, which Phil admits is ugly but effective.
Its interesting, he said. I had a conversation with a player/announcer at the Buick Challenge, and he looked at my putter and said, This is ridiculous. How
can you use this?
I said, Its that mentality that has you in the booth right now. Its the inability to be open minded and try new equipment to play better and to improve that keeps players stagnant.
Phils anything but stagnant, yet in a way he is stuck. Stuck without a major. Stuck with comparisons to Tiger.
Phil admitted to me that its frustrating at times.
It seems like when the media talks about me, its in a negative light, he said. Its always, Phil doesnt make enough putts or Phil doesnt hit enough fairways.
I related to him that I could understand how he would be agitated and heres why. If you were one of the three best heart surgeons in the world, or one of the three best stock brokers in the world, and you were in your early 30s and worth tens of millions of dollars, wouldnt you be just a little irritated if people so closely scrutinized your methods as they do Phils? Wouldnt you say to yourself, Hey, wait a minute, Im one of the three best in the world at what I do so I think Ive got a pretty good handle on how to approach my business.
Im glad you said that, Phil told me.
And yet, this is sport, and part of sports is scrutinizing, analyzing and debating. Its what fans and pundits do.
It comes with the territory, Phil admitted.
Truth is, the microscope will be on Phil until he wins a major. In golf, fairly or unfairly, a players judged on how he performs in majors.
Looking back, Phil was critical of his performance in 2002.
Last year, he recalled, I didnt drive the ball well, period. I slipped in distance and my accuracy actually declined.
Thus, the search for answers continues.
Ive got a great driver, he emphasized. Ive got a great ball. Ive got to make the swings now. If I do, Ive got a product that will put the ball well over 300 yards and get me wedged in. If I can do that and hit the fairway, Im going to have a lot of birdies and have a great year.
A great year obviously will include, most importantly, the healthy delivery of a baby boy, due in March. Phil will play a heavy West Coast schedule, minus the Nissan, then compete at Doral, where his new endorsement partner, Ford, takes over as title sponsor. Thereafter, hell miss The Players to be with his expanding family.
I hope I can play the week before the Masters to tune up, he said. But well have to wait and see.'
By then, Phil hopes to be fit and ready, subcutaneous fat be damned.

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.

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.