Mickelson Birdies 18 to Win PGA

By Sports NetworkAugust 15, 2005, 4:00 pm
2005 PGA ChampionshipSPRINGFIELD, N.J. -- Phil Mickelson got up and down for birdie on the 72nd hole Monday to win the 87th PGA Championship in wire-to-wire fashion.
 
Mickelson captured his second major title with a score of four-under-par 276 after completing a weather-delayed final round of two-over 72 at Baltusrol Golf Club.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson reacts to his greenside flop shot that set up birdie to win the PGA Championship.
The 35-year-old Mickelson broke an 0-for-46 drought in major championships when he closed with a three-under 69 at the 2004 Masters to hold off Ernie Els by one stroke. It took him only seven more tries for major No. 2 -- edging Thomas Bjorn and Steve Elkington by one shot.
 
'This has been an absolutely amazing week,' said Mickelson, who earned $1,170,000 for the win. 'It has been so much fun.'
 
Bjorn birdied the 17th Monday, but missed the green long and left at the last. He could only save par to close a round of two-over 72.
 
Elkington hit poor drives off both the 17th and 18th tees. He recovered at the last as his tee ball bounced off trees left of the fairway and into the short grass. The Australian knocked his third to 12 feet, but missed on the left edge.
 
Bjorn and Elkington ended at three-under-par 277. Davis Love III, playing in the final group with Mickelson, parred his final seven holes to share fourth place with Tiger Woods at two-under 278.
 
Woods, a two-time PGA champion, did not have to play Monday. He was the leader in the clubhouse at two-under on Sunday, finishing a 68 before bad weather hit and forced the suspension of play.
 
The Monday finish was the first at the PGA Championship since 1976 at Congressional.
 
Vijay Singh, the 1998 and 2004 PGA champion, had a slim chance to get to minus-three, but missed a 10-foot par putt at 16. He also bogeyed the last to end at even-par 280.
 
Mickelson returned to the course Monday with a three-foot par putt on 14. He sank that putt, then two-putted for par from 18 feet on No. 15 to remain at minus-four.
 
The lefthander struggled on the par-three 16th, though. Mickelson's tee shot came up short in a front bunker. He blasted out, but could not save par from 20 feet away and slipped into a tie for the lead with Elkington at minus- three.
 
Elkington hit his tee ball into a fairway bunker at the par-five 17th. He recovered to drop his third shot on the green, but could only two-putt for par.
 
Bjorn, playing in the group between Elkington and Mickelson, calmly rolled in an 18-foot birdie putt on the 650-yard 17th to join the leaders at minus- three.
 
Mickelson knocked his third within 15 feet at 17, then missed a right-to-left breaking putt as it lipped out the right edge of the cup.
 
Elkington badly hooked his tee shot off the 18th tee, but got a tremendous break as the ball ricocheted off the trees into the fairway. He laid up with a fairway wood and dropped his third within 15 feet, but the birdie putt slid over the left edge to finish at minus-three.
 
'I think there is a lot to be said that the last guy out there has the final say,' said Elkington, who played in this event for the first time since 2002. 'Thomas and I both had good chances to birdie 18, but we couldn't do it. Phil hit a great shot and got his four.'
 
Bjorn knew he was still tied for the lead as he hit his second to the last. The Dane pulled the shot long and into the left bunker. He blasted out, but was left with some 25 feet for birdie. Like several other putts on this day, Bjorn's try lipped out and he tapped in for par.
 
'I came in here after a bad experience at the Masters on that Sunday and handled myself well,' said Bjorn, who shot nine-over 81 on Sunday at Augusta. 'I had a putt there on the last, that I think the whole world didn't think it could miss, but it did. That's just the way golf is. It's nice to be out on a Sunday and contend for a major championship. And you have to say that the best guy won this week.'
 
Mickelson, meanwhile, knew he what he had to do. Walking off the tee at the last, he saw that Elkington made par to end at three-under. He then watched as Bjorn also parred the hole.
 
The Arizona State alum found the fairway off the tee. Mickelson was near a plaque in the fairway commemorating one of Jack Nicklaus' two U.S. Open wins at Baltusrol. He tapped the plaque for good luck.
 
'To win here where Jack Nicklaus has won a couple of times, I even touched his plaque there on 18 to get some good karma,' Mickelson said.
 
Mickelson knocked his second just right of putting surface in some thick rough. He played one of his famous flop shots to two feet and kicked that in for birdie and the win.
 
'I knew that I needed to make birdie, I thought probably to tie, and then as I walked off the tee, I saw that Elkington had made par,' said Mickelson. 'I did not know what Bjorn had done, so I asked as I was coming up. When I hit the second shot I knew that I needed birdie to win, which was a nice feeling.'
 
Love, who struggled badly early on Sunday, was still in contention come Monday. At 15, he was 60 feet from the hole and two-putted for par. On 16, Love knocked his tee shot to the back fringe. He got up and down for his par. The 1997 PGA champion lost his tee shot right into the trees off the 17th tee.
 
However, Love had a clear shot and laid up nicely in the fairway, then two- putted for par from 30 feet out. Love found a fairway bunker off the tee at 18 and laid up. He knocked his third on the green and had a look at birdie, but could only two-putt for par to share fourth with Woods.
 
Woods bogeyed the first on Sunday. Then he lost his drive left into the trees and bogeyed the third. The No. 1 player in the game chipped in for par at the seventh after taking an unplayable lie as his drive came to rest under a tree.
 
The 29-year-old got one stroke back with a birdie on No. 8. Woods birdied 14 to get back to even-par for the day and for the tournament. He birdied 17 to get into red figures for the first time all week. The 10-time major winner got up and down for birdie for six feet out to close at two-under.
 
On Sunday, Mickelson sank a birdie putt at the fourth to get to minus-seven. Things fell apart from there though. He missed a six-foot par try on six and then missed another short par putt at seven to slip to minus-five.
 
Elkington moved to five-under and a share of the lead with an 18-foot birdie try on nine. Mickelson missed the green at the ninth and that led to a bogey, dropping him one behind Elkington.
 
Playing ahead of Mickelson, Elkington bogeyed 10 and slipped into a tie for the lead at minus-four. Mickelson then bogeyed the 10th to drop to minus- three, one shot behind Elkington.
 
Elkington extended his lead to two with a chip-in birdie at the 11th, but a big swing came at 13. Elkington three-putted for bogey, while Mickelson dropped in a 12-foot birdie putt to create another tie for the lead at minus- four.
 
The 1997 PGA champion parred 14, then missed the fairway at 15. Elkington was unable to save par from there to slip to minus-three. Mickelson missed a birdie putt on 14 before action was halted for the night.
 
A pair of U.S. Open winners -- Michael Campbell (69) and Retief Goosen (72) -- ended in a tie for sixth at one-under-par 279. They were joined there by Geoff Ogilvy and Pat Perez.
 
Singh tied for 10th at even-par with Steve Flesch, Dudley Hart, Ted Purdy and 2001 PGA champion David Toms.
 
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    Koepka (wrist) likely out until the Masters

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 9:08 pm

    Defending U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka is expected to miss at least the next two months because of a torn tendon in his left wrist.

    Koepka, who suffered a partially torn Extensor Carpi Ulnaris (ECU), is hoping to return in time for the Masters.

    In a statement released by his management company, Koepka said that doctors are unsure when the injury occurred but that he first felt discomfort at the Hero World Challenge, where he finished last in the 18-man event. Playing through pain, he also finished last at the Tournament of Champions, after which he underwent a second MRI that revealed the tear.

    Koepka is expected to miss the next eight to 12 weeks.

    “I am frustrated that I will now not be able to play my intended schedule,” Koepka said. “But I am confident in my doctors and in the treatment they have prescribed, and I look forward to teeing it up at the Masters. … I look forward to a quick and successful recovery.”

    Prior to the injury, Koepka won the Dunlop Phoenix and cracked the top 10 in the world ranking. 

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    Cut Line: Color Rory unafraid of the Ryder Cup

    By Rex HoggardJanuary 19, 2018, 7:09 pm

    In this week’s edition, Rory McIlroy gets things rolling with some early Ryder Cup banter, Dustin Johnson changes his tune on a possible golf ball roll-back, and the PGA Tour rolls ahead with integrity training.


    Made Cut

    Paris or bust. Rory McIlroy, who made his 2018 debut this week on the European Tour, can be one of the game’s most affable athletes. He can also be pointed, particularly when discussing the Ryder Cup.

    Asked this week in Abu Dhabi about the U.S. team, which won the last Ryder Cup and appears to be rejuvenated by a collection of new players, McIlroy didn’t disappoint.

    “If you look at Hazeltine and how they set the course up – big, wide fairways, no rough, pins in the middle of greens – it wasn’t set up for the way the Europeans like to play,” McIlroy said. “I think Paris will be a completely different kettle of fish, so different.”

    McIlroy has come by his confidence honestly, having won three of the four Ryder Cups he’s played, so it’s understandable if he doesn't feel like an underdog heaidng to Paris.

    “The Americans have obviously been buoyant about their chances, but it’s never as easy as that,” he said. “The Ryder Cup is always close. It always comes down to a few key moments, and it will be no different in Paris. I think we’ll have a great team and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”

    September can’t get here quick enough.

    Mr. Spieth goes to Ponte Vedra Beach. The Tour announced this year’s player advisory council, the 16-member group that works with the circuit’s policy board to govern.

    There were no real surprises to the PAC, but news that Jordan Spieth had been selected to run for council chair is interesting. Spieth, who is running against Billy Hurley III and would ascend to the policy board next year if he wins the election, served on the PAC last year and would make a fine addition to the policy board, but it is somewhat out of character for a marquee player.

    In recent years, top players like Spieth have largely avoided the distractions that come with the PAC and policy board. Of course, we’ve also learned in recent years that Spieth is not your typical superstar.


    Made Cut-Did Not Finish (MDF)

    On second thought. In December at the Hero World Challenge, Dustin Johnson was asked about a possible golf ball roll-back, which has become an increasingly popular notion in recent years.

    “I don't mind seeing every other professional sport. They play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball,” he said in the Bahamas. “I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage.”

    The world No. 1 appeared to dial back that take this week in Abu Dhabi, telling BBC Sport, “It's not like we are dominating golf courses. When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy?”

    Maybe it didn’t feel that way, but DJ’s eight-stroke romp two weeks ago at the Sentry Tournament of Champions certainly looked pretty easy.

    Long odds. I had a chance to watch the Tour’s 15-minute integrity training video that players have been required view and came away with a mixture of confusion and concern.

    The majority of the video, which includes a Q&A element, focuses on how to avoid match fixing. Although the circuit has made it clear there is no indication of current match fixing, it’s obviously something to keep an eye on.

    The other element that’s worth pointing out is that although the Tour may be taking the new program seriously, some players are not.

    “My agent watched [the training video] for me,” said one Tour pro last week at the Sony Open.


    Missed Cut

    Groundhog Day. To be fair, no one expected Patton Kizzire and James Hahn to need six playoff holes to decide last week’s Sony Open, but the episode does show why variety is the spice of life.

    After finishing 72 holes tied at 17 under, Kizzire and Hahn played the 18th hole again and again and again and again. In total, the duo played the par-5 closing hole at Waialae Country Club five times (including in regulation play) on Sunday.

    It’s worth noting that the playoff finally ended with Kizzire’s par at the sixth extra hole, which was the par-3 17th. Waialae’s 18th is a fine golf hole, but in this case familiarity really did breed contempt.

    Tweet of the week:

    It was a common theme last Saturday on Oahu after an island-wide text alert was issued warning of an inbound ballistic missile and advising citizens to “seek immediate shelter.”

    The alert turned out to be a mistake, someone pushed the wrong button during a shift change, but for many, like Peterson, it was a serious lesson in perspective.

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    Watch: McIlroy gives Fleetwood a birthday cake

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 19, 2018, 2:58 pm

    Tommy Fleetwood turned 27 on Friday. He celebrated with some good golf – a 4-under 68 in Abu Dhabi, leaving him only two shots back in his title defense – and a birthday cake, courtesy of Rory Mcllroy.

    While giving a post-round interview, Fleetwood was surprised to see McIlroy approaching with a cake in hand.

    “I actually baked this before we teed off,” McIlroy joked.

    Fleetwood blew out the three candles – “three wishes!” – and offered McIlroy a slice.  

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    DJ shoots 64 to surge up leaderboard in Abu Dhabi

    By Ryan LavnerJanuary 19, 2018, 1:48 pm

    Dustin Johnson stood out among a star-studded three-ball that combined to shoot 18 under par with just one bogey Friday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    Shaking off a sloppy first round at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, Johnson matched the low round of the day with a 64 that put him within four shots of Thomas Pieters’ lead.

    “I did everything really well,” Johnson said. “It was a pretty easy 64.”

    Johnson made four bogeys during an even-par 72 on Thursday and needed a solid round Friday to make the cut. Before long, he was closer to the lead than the cut line, making birdie on three of the last four holes and setting the pace in a group that also included good rounds from Rory McIlroy (66) and Tommy Fleetwood (68).

    “Everyone was hitting good shots,” McIlroy said. “That’s all we were seeing, and it’s nice when you play in a group like that. You feed off one another.” 


    Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship


    Coming off a blowout victory at Kapalua, Johnson is searching for his first regular European Tour title. He tied for second at this event a year ago.

    Johnson’s second-round 64 equaled the low round of the day (Jorge Campillo and Branden Grace). 

    “It was just really solid all day long,” Johnson said. “Hit a lot of great shots, had a lot of looks at birdies, which is what I need to do over the next two days if I want to have a chance to win on Sunday.”