Lefty Happy to be Back at Sawgrass

By Associated PressMarch 25, 2004, 5:00 pm
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- Phil Mickelson was reminded at The Players Championship how so much has changed in one year.
He missed the tournament last year for the second time in his career because his wife, Amy, gave birth to their third child. Only later did Mickelson disclose that he was close to losing both his son, Evan Samuel, and his wife during a difficult delivery.
They celebrated his first birthday Tuesday.
'We had a nice little party, so it's nice to be back out playing,' Mickelson said. 'We obviously had a tough year last year and missed a bunch of tournaments at this time.'
Lefty went on to have his toughest season on the course, finishing out of the top 30 for the first time. But he put that behind him quickly, winning the Bob Hope Classic in his first start of the year, then following that with top-10 finishes in his next four tournaments.
What does Sawgrass hold for him?
Mickelson has never played well at The Players Championship, missing the cut four times and only breaking 70 four times in 32 rounds. His best finish was a tie for eighth in 1998.
Mickelson is coming off a two-week break, during which he took a family vacation.
'I haven't played the last two weeks. Typically, when I don't play for a couple of weeks, the first couple of holes I'm on edge as far how the round will go. This is a golf course that penalizes a miss much more than other courses.'
Kevin Sutherland was among the first players on the practice range Wednesday morning, but he didn't hit the first shot. That belonged to his caddie, John Wood, who took one shot with a 9-iron.
Wood had good reason -- Wednesday is when caddies hit a tee shot on the island-green 17th.
The closest to the pin was Robert Ames, the brother of Stephen Ames, who hit his shot to about 4 feet.
So many other players were disappointed.
Phil Mickelson was asked about his guy, Jim 'Bones' McKay, whose handicap is in the single digits.
'Bones,' Mickelson moaned, reliving the shot. 'He fatted a wedge. There was just a little right-to-left wind, and he tried to hit this big hook and caught it heavy.'
And John 'Cubby' Burke, the caddie for Davis Love III?
'Water,' Love said.
Brennan Little, the caddie for Masters champion Mike Weir, found land and would have hit a great shot, except the pin was back center, and Little pushed it to the right.
'He hit it over the Sunday pin,' said Weir, who used to compete against Little during their junior days in Canada. 'He was trying to blame me for the wrong club, but I wouldn't let him get away with that. He didn't hit a very good shot.'
It wasn't all for fun.
Players used to chip in money, and the winning caddie got the pot. This year, Wood spearheaded a move to donate the money to 'Drive 4 Life,' the charity launched last year by Bruce Edwards and Tom Watson to seek a cure for Lou Gehrig's disease. Edwards, a longtime caddie, is dying from the disease.
Players donated $8,250 to the pot this year, and the PGA Tour chipped in $5,000. Ames received $1,000 of the collection, meaning the contest raised $12,250 to the charity.
Augusta National Golf Club always asks its Masters champion to donate a club to the trophy room that was instrumental in the victory.
For Mike Weir, it was an easy choice -- his wedge.
'I hit so many great wedge shots that week,' Weir said. 'My putting was great, too. But I didn't' want to give up my putter. I figured I could part with my wedge.'
One of his biggest shots Sunday was a wedge into 5 feet for birdie on the par-5 15th, enabling Weir to pull into a tie with Len Mattiace. After making 6-foot par putts on the final two holes, Weir won in a playoff.
Two assistant captains at the Ryder Cup have one thing in common -- no previous experience.
European captain Bernhard Langer on Wednesday announced that Anders Forsbrand of Sweden will be his vice captain for the Sept. 17-19 matches at Oakland Hills.
Forsbrand never played in a Ryder Cup; neither did Steve Jones, one of Hal Sutton's assistants.
'Anders has enormous respect throughout the world of golf, and with 22 years of competing on the European tour, he is well-known to all our players,' Langer said.
Forsbrand won six times in Europe, and also represented Sweden in the World Cup and Dunhill Cup.
Related links:
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    Salas (62) leads LPGA's Indy Women in Tech

    By Associated PressAugust 17, 2018, 12:50 am

    INDIANAPOLIS - Lizette Salas matched the Brickyard Crossing record with a 10-under 62 on Thursday in the Indy Women in Tech Championship, making birdie on the final three holes for a two-stroke lead over fast-starting Angel Yin and Japan's Nasa Hataoka.

    Yin birdied eight of the first nine holes in her morning round for a front-nine 8-under 28 - one short of the LPGA Tour's nine-hole record. It matched the third-lowest nine-hole score in relation to par in tour history.

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    Salas eagled the par-5 second in the afternoon and added three straight birdies on Nos. 4-6. She birdied Nos. 12 and 14 before reeling off three more in a row to close, waiting out a late 77-minute suspension for an approaching storm.

    Salas matched the course record set by Mike McCullough in the PGA Tour Champions' 1999 Comfort Classic.

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    Sordet opens with 62 to grab lead at Nordea Masters

    By Associated PressAugust 16, 2018, 11:23 pm

    GOTHENBURG, Sweden - Clement Sordet opened with four straight birdies to shoot 8-under 62 and take the first-round lead of the Nordea Masters on Thursday.

    Sordet says ''I wasn't really focusing on the score, I was just enjoying it.''

    The Frenchman, who shot his lowest European Tour round, has a two-stroke lead over Scott Jamieson of Scotland and Lee Slattery of England.

    Hunter Stewart is the highest-placed American after a 5-under 65 left him on a four-way tie for fourth with Christofer Blomstrand, Tapio Pulkkanen and Richard Green.

    Defending champion Renato Paratore's hopes of becoming the first player to successfully retain the title look in doubt after the Italian shot 9-over 79 at Hills Golf Club.

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    Peterson confirms plans to play Web.com Finals

    By Will GrayAugust 16, 2018, 9:17 pm

    After flirting with retirement for much of the summer, John Peterson confirmed that he will give it one more shot in the upcoming Web.com Tour Finals.

    Peterson, 29, had planned to walk away from the game and begin a career in real estate in his native Texas if he failed to secure PGA Tour status before his medical extension expired. His T-13 finish last month at The Greenbrier appeared to be enough to net the former NCAA champ at least conditional status, but a closer look at the numbers revealed he missed out by 0.58 points in his last available start.

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    But Peterson was buoyed by the support he received from his peers at The Greenbrier, and when he got into the Barbasol Championship as a late alternate he decided to make the trip to the tournament. He tied for 21st that week in Kentucky, clinching enough non-member FedExCup points to grant him a spot in the four-event Finals.

    Last month Peterson hinted that he would consider playing in the Finals, where 25 PGA Tour cards for the 2018-19 season will be up for grabs, and Thursday he confirmed in an Instagram post that he will give his pro career "one last push."

    The Finals kick off next week in Ohio with the Nationwide Children's Hospital Championship and will conclude Sept. 20-23 with the Web.com Tour Championship. Peterson will be looking to rekindle his results from 2013, when he finished T-5 or better at each of the four Finals events while earning fully-exempt status as the top money earner.

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    Lyle honored with sand sculpture at Wyndham

    By Golf Channel DigitalAugust 16, 2018, 9:00 pm

    Jarrod Lyle passed away last week at the age of 36 after losing his third battle with cancer.

    And after a PGA Championship filled with tributes to the Australian, the Wyndham Championship found its own way to keep his legacy alive at the North Carolina Tour stop.

    Next to the Wyndham Championship and PGA Tour logos carved into the sand on site at Sedgefield Country Club is Lyle's name and the "Leuk the Duck" mascot. The duck has become synonymous with Challenge, an organization that supports kids with cancer.

    Fellow Aussie Stuart Appleby posted the display on social media:

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    (Pic update) Brighter is better

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    Lyle was also remembered in a more traditional manner on the first tee, where his bag and trademark yellow bucket hat were prominently displayed.