COMING HOME LATE AGAIN: Phil Mickelson came to the 72nd hole of the Scottish Open at Loch Lomond with a one-shot lead. He then preceded to make a bogey to fall into a playoff with Gregory Havret of France. Another bogey on the first playoff hole cost Mickelson his first official win outside the U.S.
A look at his scorecard shows why Lefty is the most entertaining player in the world. The world No. 3 did not make a single par on the last seven holes he played, going birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-birdie-bogey-bogey. Buy your tickets now for the roller-coaster ride with Phil at Carnoustie.
BYRD SOARS IN TO TAKE TITLE: Jonathan Byrd came from behind on Sunday to win the John Deere Classic, fashioning a bogey-free round which included four back-nine birdies for his third career PGA TOUR victory. In the process, he denied a late-faltering Tim Clark his first TOUR title.
Having to win the event to even qualify for this week's Open Championship, Byrd didn't even bother bringing his passport along with him in case that happened. He did so partly because he had missed the cut in his last four events, but mainly because he thought it would 'jinx' him. Who says superstitions don't work?
ONE FOR THE THUMB: Se Ri Pak joined a select group of golfers when she won the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic this past week. Pak joined Mickey Wright (Sea Island Open) and Annika Sorenstam (Mizuno Classic) as the only LPGA Tour players to win the same tournament five times. It’s happened 20 times on the PGA TOUR, with Sam Snead winning the Greater Greensboro Open on eight occasions.
Just another piece of history for one of the more over-looked players of her generation. Pak will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame later this year and will be remembered not only as one of the game’s greats, but the matriarch of the South Korean influx on the LPGA.
NICK'S WORLD: Nick Faldo announced that he was going to return to competition for the Open Championship and then make his senior debut in the British Senior Open at Muirfield, site of his 1987 and 1992 Open triumphs.
Perhaps more interesting than how he fares on the course, will be how he fares in the broadcast booth. Faldo will pull double duty at Carnoustie and will re-join Paul Azinger on air with ABC Sports. The two Ryder Cup captains should provide fans with plenty of entertaining commentary.
CAR-NASTY OR CAR-NICETY?: Royal and Ancient chief executive Peter Dawson said wet weather over the past two months in Scotland should make for a kinder, gentler Carnoustie than the one players faced eight years ago, when 6 over par was the winning total.
It wasn’t Mother Nature who created the majority of the chaos in 1999; it was an unchecked course superintendent. The field shouldn’t be lulled into thinking that Carnoustie will be a pushover like Royal Liverpool, where Tiger Woods won last year at 18 under.
FRIDAY THE 13TH: Zach Johnson, competing in what he considers to be his “home” event, missed the cut at the John Deere Classic. Johnson, who grew up about an hour away, in Iowa, from the Silvis, Ill., site, had three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine en route to missing weekend play by a stroke.
The Masters winner wasn’t the only player who experienced a nightmare Friday the 13th. Defending John Deere champion John Senden missed the cut by five. Fresh off his win in Ireland, Colin Montgomerie missed the cut in the Scottish Open, as did Retief Goosen, Trevor Immelman and David Howell. Paula Creamer also missed the cut on the LPGA for the first time since May, 2005.
E! ENTERTAINMENT GOLF: Chris Chandler went wild in the final round by making seven birdies in a nine-hole stretch to win the American Century Celebrity Championship. Chadler held off six-time winner Rick Rhoden for the win.
Not sure how many people actually tuned in to see the likes of a Chandler and Rhoden battle down the stretch, but the real deal was to see how 500-1 underdog Charles Barkley would fare this time around. Let’s just say the 500-1 odds on Barkley winning the event should have been more like, oh we don't know, a trillion to 1. Sir Charles, and his beyond frightening golf swing, finished dead last among the field.
HAWAIIAN HONEYMOON: Tadd Fujikawa, 16, who captured the hearts of golf fans with his emotional turn at the 2006 U.S. Open and then when he made the cut at this year’s Sony Open, announced he was going to turn pro at the Reno-Tahoe Open next month.
Ah yes, let the comparisons begin. Young Hawaiian teen turns professional; young Hawaiian professional grabs lucrative company sponsorships; young Hawaiian professional takes PGA TOUR exemptions away from struggling PGA TOUR professionals; young Hawaiian teen eventually gets crushed by unforgivinging media. Well, here's hoping that last one isn't the case.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Little-known R.W. Eaks beat out the likes of Craig Stadler and Scott Hoch to win on the Champions Tour; Colt Knost, a recent grad from SMU, captured the 82nd U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship with a 6-and-4 win over Cody Paladino, and in the procees earned a trip to the Masters; Alexis Thompson, who was the youngest qualifier in history for the U.S. Women's Open last month, became the youngest champion in the 32-year history of the Jr. PGA Championship; And Steve Williams denied rumors that he is leaving Tiger Woods' bag at the end of the year.
Eaks, who oddsmakers had at 18-1 before they teed off on Friday, finally had his moment in the sun after seven top-5 finishes this year without a win; We'd like to be there when Knost is introduced to former Augusta chairman Hootie Johnson - 'Hootie, Colt. Colt, Hootie.'; Alexis Thompson, 12, probably has more trouble choosing between Lucky Charms and Cocoa Puffs at breakfast than she does when deciding what club to pull on a par-3; For a brief moment, camera men rejoiced. But then why would Williams leave? He earns more money than most of the guys who play on TOUR.
Contributions from writers and editors on the Golf Channel Digital team.
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