Phil Tiger Quickly Out of the Gates

By Sports NetworkMarch 3, 2005, 5:00 pm
2005 Ford Championship at DoralMIAMI -- Phil Mickelson, who has won two of his last three starts on the PGA Tour, fired an 8-under-par 64 on Thursday to share the lead after the first round of the Ford Championship at Doral. Jose Maria Olazabal, Brian Davis and Marco Dawson joined Mickelson atop the leaderboard at the Blue Course at Doral Golf Resort and Spa.
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson had 10 birdies and two bogeys in his opening 64.
Tiger Woods, who has only played this event twice before, scrambled for par at the famed Blue Monster to shoot a 7-under-par 65. He is knotted in fifth place with Harrison Frazar.
Woods was brilliant on the front nine with five birdies, all from inside 14 feet. At the 13th, Woods converted a 4-foot birdie putt, then ran in a 23-footer for birdie at No. 16.
Woods drove into the right rough at the famous 18th, but got a fortunate bounce when his ball hit a marshal and came straight down. His second landed right of the green and Woods chipped 12 feet past the stick. Woods holed the par save to stay within one of the group in first.
'I had not made a bogey all day so it was nice to end the day without making a bogey,' said Woods, who has not carded a bogey in 60 holes at this tournament. 'Especially on a golf course like this, it's always nice to go around here bogey-free.'
As great as Woods was on Thursday, Mickelson was better.
Mickelson, the reigning Masters champion, wasted little time in breaking into red figures. At the par-5 first, Mickelson came up short and left of the green with his 3-iron second shot, but he chipped to 8 feet and converted the birdie putt.
The lefthander hit driver off the tee at five, then needed a sand-wedge for his approach. He sank the 4-footer for birdie, but dropped a shot at the next hole when the driver let him down. Mickelson drove behind a tree and pitched out. His third stopped 25 feet from the hole and the fourth-ranked player in the world two-putted for bogey.
Mickelson closed out his front nine with a pair of birdies. He birdied the seventh, then reached the green in two at the par-5 eighth. Mickelson two-putted, parred nine and made the turn at 3-under 33.
The second nine did not start off well for Mickelson. His drive at 10 found the right rough, then his 3-wood second shot splashed in the water down the left side. He could not save par from 30 feet, but that would mark the last miscue on the round for the hottest player on tour.
He rebounded from the mistake at 10 with a 25-foot birdie putt at No. 11. Mickelson made it two in a row with a tap-in birdie at 12 and after two pars, the tour's leading money winner caught fire.
Mickelson hit a 9-iron to 6 feet to set up birdie at the 15th. The second in a row came as the result of a monstrous drive at the 372-yard hole. Mickelson blasted out of a greenside bunker to 5 feet and converted the birdie putt to reach 6 under par.
At the 17th, Mickelson hit a lob-wedge to 12 feet for his ninth birdie of the round. He grabbed a share of the lead at the 'Blue Monster,' when his 8-iron approach stopped 6 feet from the hole.
'It's a good start to the tournament,' said Mickelson. 'It's nice to play well, especially when the field is so strong.'
Mickelson is in the middle of a spectacular run of golf. He won the FBR Open in Phoenix and the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last month, then played well before running into David Toms in the third round of last week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship.
He knows why.
'Being able to drive it a lot longer and a lot straighter has made the difference,' said Mickelson, who ranks 11th in distance on tour. 'The misses have been much better. If I can drive it reasonably straight, it's going long enough now where I have wedges in and it's making a big difference.'
Olazabal, a two-time winner at Augusta, began on the back nine Thursday and tallied three birdies on his front nine. He collected his fourth birdie of the round at No. 1 when he drove in a fairway bunker, laid up with an 8-iron, wedged to 18 feet and drained the birdie putt.
The Spaniard did not hit his approach close on his remaining holes of the second nine, but his flat stick was working. He sank a birdie putt from 12 feet at the fifth, 20 feet at seven, 3 feet at eight and 15 feet at his final hole.
Davis, the medalist at last year's Qualifying School, birdied the first, then hit an 8-iron inside 2 feet for a birdie at the fifth. Davis reached the green in two with a 3-wood at the par-5 eighth and converted the 25-foot eagle putt. He closed out his front nine in style with a chip-in birdie at the ninth.
The Englishman parred his first five holes on the second nine, then hit an 8-iron to 15 feet to set up birdie at the 15th. He ran home a 12-footer for birdie at 16, then recorded his third consecutive birdie at 17 when his lob-wedge approach stopped 4 feet from the hole.
Dawson, playing on a medical exemption this season, recorded five birdies through his first 11 holes. He tallied three birdies in his last four holes, including a 10-footer at No. 18 to join the mix in first.
Billy Andrade, Hunter Mahan, Paul Casey and Joey Snyder III are tied for seventh place at 6-under-par 66.
Retief Goosen, the reigning U.S. Open winner, is part of a group at 5-under-par 67. World No. 1 Vijay Singh, Sergio Garcia and Padraig Harrington are in a logjam in 15th at minus-4.
Craig Parry, who won last year's event when he holed a 6-iron on the first playoff hole to defeat Scott Verplank, began his title defense with a 3-under 69. He is tied for 33rd place.
Related Links:
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    Ortiz takes Tour clubhouse lead in Bahamas

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 16, 2018, 2:19 am

    Former Tour Player of the Year Carlos Ortiz shot a bogey-free, 4-under-par 68 Monday to take the clubhouse lead in The Bahamas Great Exuma Classic at Sandals Emerald Bay.

    Four other players - Lee McCoy, Brandon Matthews, Sung Jae Im and Mark Anderson - were still on the course and tied with Ortiz at 6-under 210 when third-round play was suspended by darkness at 5:32 p.m. local time. It is scheduled to resume at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday.

    Ortiz, a 26-year-old from Guadalajara, Mexico, is in search of his fourth Tour victory. In 2014, the former University of North Texas standout earned a three-win promotion on his way to being voted Tour Player of the Year.

    McCoy, a 23-year-old from Dunedin, Fla., is looking to become the first player to earn medalist honors at Q-School and then win the opening event of the season.

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    Randall's Rant: Can we please have some rivalries?

    By Randall MellJanuary 16, 2018, 12:00 am

    Memo to the golf gods:

    If you haven’t finalized the fates of today’s stars for the new year, could we get you to deliver what the game has lacked for so long?

    Can we get a real, honest-to-goodness rivalry?

    It’s been more than two decades since the sport has been witness to one.

    With world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and former world No. 1 Rory McIlroy at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship this week, an early-season showdown would percolate hope that this year might be all about rivalries.

    It seems as if the stars are finally aligned to make up for our long drought of rivalries, of the recurring clashes you have so sparingly granted through the game’s history.

    We’re blessed in a new era of plenty, with so many young stars blossoming, and with Tiger Woods offering hope he may be poised for a comeback. With Johnson, McIlroy, Jordan Spieth, Jason Day, Justin Thomas, Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Brooks Koepka and Rickie Fowler among today’s dynamic cast, the possibility these titans will time their runs together on the back nine of Sundays in majors excites.

    We haven’t seen a real rivalry since Greg Norman and Nick Faldo sparred in the late '80s and early '90s.

    Woods vs. Phil Mickelson didn’t really count. While Lefty will be remembered for carving out a Hall of Fame career in the Tiger era, with 33 victories, 16 of them with Tiger in the field, five of them major championships, we get that Tiger had no rival, not in the most historic sense.

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos

    Phil never reached No. 1, was never named PGA Tour Player of the Year, never won a money title and never dueled with Woods on Sunday on the back nine of a major with the title on the line.  Still, it doesn’t diminish his standing as the best player not named Tiger Woods over the last 20 years. It’s a feat so noteworthy it makes him one of the game’s all-time greats.

    We’ve been waiting for an honest-to-goodness rivalry since Faldo and Norman took turns ruling at world No. 1 and dueling in big events, including the back nine of multiple majors. 

    In the '70s, we had Nicklaus-Watson. In the '60s, it was Nicklaus-Palmer. In the '40s and '50s, it was Hogan, Snead and Nelson in a triumvirate mix, and in the '20s and '30s we had Hagen and Sarazen.

    While dominance is the magic ingredient that can break a sport out of its niche, a dynamic rivalry is the next best elixir.

    Dustin Johnson looks capable of dominating today’s game, but there’s so much proven major championship talent on his heels. It’s hard to imagine him consistently fending off all these challengers, but it’s the fending that would captivate us.

    Johnson vs. McIlroy would be a fireworks show. So would Johnson vs. Thomas, or Thomas vs. Day or McIlroy vs. Rahm or Fowler vs. Koepka ... or any of those combinations.

    Spieth is a wild card that intrigues.

    While he’s not a short hitter, he isn’t the power player these other guys are, but his iron game, short game, putter and moxie combine to make him the most compelling challenger of all. His resolve, resilience and resourcefulness in the final round of his British Open victory at Royal Birkdale make him the most interesting amalgam of skill since Lee Trevino.

    Woods vs. any of them? Well, if we get that, we promise never to ask for anything more.

    So, if that cosmic calendar up there isn’t filled, how about it? How about a year of rivalries to remember?

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    McIlroy: 2018 may be my busiest season ever

    By Will GrayJanuary 15, 2018, 6:28 pm

    With his return to competition just days away, Rory McIlroy believes that the 2018 season may be the most action packed of his pro career.

    The 28-year-old has not teed it up since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship in early October, a hiatus he will end at this week's Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. It will be the start of a busy spring for the Ulsterman, who will also play next week in Dubai before a run of six PGA Tour events leading up to the Masters.

    Speaking to the U.K.'s Telegraph, McIlroy confirmed that he will also make a return trip to the British Masters in October and plans to remain busy over the next 12 months.

    "I might play more times this year than any before. I played 28 times in 2008 and I'm on track to beat that," McIlroy said. "I could get to 30 (events), depending on where I'm placed in the Race to Dubai. But I'll see."

    McIlroy's ambitious plan comes in the wake of a frustrating 2017 campaign, when he injured his ribs in his first start and twice missed chunks of time in an effort to recover. He failed to win a worldwide event and finished the year ranked outside the top 10, both of which had not happened since 2008.

    But having had more than three months to get his body and swing in shape, McIlroy is optimistic heading into the first of what he hopes will be eight starts in the 12 weeks before he drives down Magnolia Lane.

    "I've worked hard on my short game and I'm probably feeling better with the putter than I ever have," McIlroy said. "I've had a lot of time to concentrate on everything and it all feels very good and a long way down the road."

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    What's in the Bag: Sony Open winner Kizzire

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 15, 2018, 6:05 pm

    Patton Kizzire earned his second PGA Tour victory by winning a six-hole playoff at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Take a look inside his bag.

    Driver: Titleist 917D3 (10.5 degrees), with Fujikura Atmos Black 6 X shaft

    Fairway Wood: Titleist 917F2 (16.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Blue 95 TX shaft

    Hybrid: Titleist 913H (19 degrees), with UST Mamiya AXIV Core 100 Hybrid shaft

    Irons: Titleist 718 T-MB (4), 718 CB (5-6), 718 MB (7-9), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Wedges: Titleist SM7 prototype (47, 52, 56, 60 degrees), with True Temper Dynamic Gold X100 shafts

    Putter: Scotty Cameron GoLo Tour prototype

    Ball: Titleist Pro V1x