Notes A Busy Weekend for Mickelson

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Phil Mickelson had a busy weekend, starting with a back-to-school shopping spree for needy children in San Diego on Saturday, then a lengthy practice session across the country the next two days at Baltusrol Golf Club to get ready for the PGA Championship.
 
Neither trip was accompanied by much fanfare.
 
Mickelson and his wife, Amy, were at a Wal-Mart store at dawn Saturday as 900 children and their parents arrived to get free backpacks loaded with school supplies. It was called Start Smart, a program created by his foundation in which 50 principals from five school districts in San Diego Country selected pupils in grades 1-4 based on need.
 
Were just so fortunate to be able to help some of the neediest kids in the county, Mickelson said. His foundation contributed $200,000 to Start Smart, while Wal-Mart chipped in $25,000.
 
Mickelson then went to New Jersey for one of his famed practice rounds, placing tiny flags around the greens and taking copious notes of Baltusrol with hopes of ending the season with a major.
 
The PGA Championship starts Aug. 11.
 
Mickelson is among several players who have never seen Baltusrol, which last hosted a major at the 1993 U.S. Open. That was the only U.S. Open that Lefty missed over the last 15 years.
 
Club members were not aware Mickelson was on the Lower Course until he came off the 18th green and agreed to pose for a picture with Vincent Dolan, Baltusrols newly crowned over-55 champion.
 
Mickelson played again on Monday, and was joined by none other than Tiger Woods for the final two holes. Mickelson then headed for the International in Colorado, while Woods went home to continue preparation in Florida.
 
ODDS ON THE ACE
Golf Digest has been the leading source on holes-in-one since it began tracking them worldwide in 1952. In the September issue, the magazine asked Francis Scheid, the retired chairman of Boston Universitys mathematics department to update the odds on making an ace.
 
The odds of a tour player making an ace are 3,000-1, while it goes up to 5,000-1 for a low-handicap player and stretches to 12,000-1 for an average golfer.
 
The odds also change dramatically depending on the length of the hole. Scheid determined that an average player making a hole-in-one on a 150-yard hole is 8,000-1, while the odds go up to 15,000-1 for a 200-yard hole.
 
The highest odds listed in the magazine are for two average players in the same foursome making an ace on the same hole. That would be a mere 17 million-to-1.
 
MAKE IT LEGIBLE
Peter Jacobsen once learned a valuable lesson from Arnold Palmer in the art of penmanship.
 
He used to play an exhibition with Palmer, LPGA players and former NBA coach Pat Riley in Los Angeles, and they were working an autograph line when Jacobsen signed a hat and passed it along to Palmer, who promptly shoved it back at him and grilled him over his signature.
 
He said, What is that? I said, Thats my autograph, Jacobsen said. He said, I cant read it. That scribble may be OK on a check because your banker is not going to look at it, but if somebody wants you to sign a piece of memorabilia, youd better be able to sign it so he can read it.
 
So from that day on, I always try to sign my signature so I can read it.
 
Jacobsen remembered that lesson last week at the U.S. Senior Open, when he signed a hat for a young fan that already had other autographs.
 
I asked him, Do you know who any of those are? Jacobsen said. He said no. I said, What does that tell you? He said, When I get famous, I should scribble my name.
 
SHARK SIGHTING
No matter what his birth certificate says, 50-year-old Greg Norman doesnt feel like a senior golfer, and he doesnt intend to become one quite yet.
 
I feel like Im still young enough to compete with the young guys, which is a good mind-set to have, he said last week at the U.S. Senior Open, where he finished fourth. I still feel like I hit the ball far enough to get it out there. ... To say that Im old and Im a senior golfer, no. I dont want to say that.
 
Norman finished third at the Senior British Open the week before as part of a five-week stretch. He has the International this week in Colorado, followed by the PGA Championship, where he received a special exemption.
 
As for the Champions Tour?
 
Only the majors, the Shark said.
 
The fifth and final major on the senior circuit is The Tradition, played two weeks after the PGA.
 
PLAY TIME
Jeong Jang was so nervous going into the final round of the Womens British Open that she only slept about three hours and woke up at 7:30 a.m., nearly seven hours before she teed off with Annika Sorenstam.
 
To kill time, she hung out in her room and played on her Game Boy.
 
Which game?
 
I play Tiger Woods Golf. I think it helps my golf game, she said.
 
Jang closed with a 69 to complete a wire-to-wire, four-shot victory at Royal Birkdale.
 
DIVOTS
Callaway Golf has appointed George Fellows as president and CEO. Fellows has had his own consulting business in New York the last five years, serving as senior adviser to Investcorp and JPMorgan Partners. Before that, he was president and CEO of Revlon, Inc. ... Vijay Singh has won more tournaments (5) sponsored by Buick than Tiger Woods (4), the companys top pitchman in golf. ... Sean OHair, the leading candidate for PGA Tour rookie of the year with nearly $2 million in earnings, has signed with IMG. He had been represented by an attorney in Philadelphia. ... Luke Donald has donated $50,000 from being the 54-hole leader at the Buick Invitational to Driving 4 Life to raise money to find a cure for Lou Gehrigs disease. The program was founded by Jeff Julian and caddie Bruce Edwards, who died of the disease, and by Tom Watson. ... Annika Sorenstam went 49 holes without a bogey at the Womens British Open, the longest streak on the LPGA Tour this year.
 
STAT OF THE WEEK
Tiger Woods has not finished out of the top three since missing the cut in the Byron Nelson Championship in May.
 
FINAL WORD
I cant hear you, the cameras are going off.'Michelle Wie at a news conference on the eve of the Womens British Open.
 
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