Circus circus: Phil stole the show at Pebble


LOS ANGELES – Phil Mickelson didn’t apologize to Ken Duke for stealing the show in the final round of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am last weekend, but he encouraged Duke to keep his momentum going. 

At Pebble Beach, Duke and Charlie Wi were the leaders’ group going off last Sunday, but they were upstaged by Mickelson’s sizzling 64 in his pairing with Tiger Woods just in front of them.

Duke said it was like playing behind a circus.

Before Thursday’s start of the Northern Trust Open, Mickelson sought out Duke on the practice putting green.

“He told me the same thing my coach, Mr. [Bob] Toski, told me,” Duke said. “He said it might not have been the ending I wanted, but I had a good finish, and I could use it to snowball into something this week. He asked if it was pretty tough with him playing in front of us, with all the roaring going on. I said, ‘It wasn’t bad Phil. We were just enjoying the circus.’”

Duke shot 74 but ended up tying for seventh, his best finish this season. He jumped to 45th on the money list. That bumped him up for the priority ranking re-shuffle, which will give him more opportunities to get into events in Florida. 

“That’s big,” Duke said. “You’re a lot more relaxed.”