San Diego sampler


SAN DIEGO – Phil Mickelson’s decision to put a 1990-era Ping wedge into play this week at Torrey Pines drew a few sideways glances from his Tour brethren, and when Lefty spun a shot some 20 feet back out of the rough adjacent the second fairway early Thursday, the spirit of the new groove rule seemed to take a body blow.

But Paul Goydos, among the Tour’s most thoughtful types and a member of the Player Advisory Council, had a slightly different take.

“If you have a beef with the rule you should take it up with the Tour lawyers, not a player,” Goydos said. “That’s like saying I don’t like the speed limit at 55 mph and instead drive 80 (mph). You can’t do that.”

To be fair, Mickelson’s overall game seemed sharper on Thursday on his way to a 2-under 70 on the South Course than it has at previous season openers, the likely byproduct of a more-intense off season program.

The same could not be said for Boo Weekley. Asked how much time he spent preparing for 2010, the original son of the south laughed, “About two days.”

A right foot injury could draw some of the blame, “It’s plantar fasciitis, but don’t ask me to spell it,” but the truth is the big man from the Florida Panhandle had other interest: “Four months of hunting. Got some deers, caught some stuff, cased some stuff, ran over some stuff,” he said.

All of which makes Weekley’s 5-under 67 on the North Course that much more impressive.

Just behind Weekley on the North was an equally impressive 67 turned in by phenom du jour Rickie Fowler. His 5 under card is his best as a Tour member by five strokes thanks to an impromptu cell phone lesson from swing coach Barry McDonald on the ride over from the Bob Hope Classic on Monday.

“He told me to take (the club) a little more outside (in the back swing),” said Fowler, who is tied for fourth in driving accuracy and first in greens in regulation.