Lefty Moving Past the Meltdown

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2006, 4:00 pm
Cialis Western OpenLEMONT, Ill. -- Phil Mickelson walked down the aisle, said 'Hi, guys' and took a seat at the table. Then he had a question.
 
'What would we possibly be talking about today?' he asked in jest Tuesday.

Mickelson has a Masters championship and is the leading money winner with more than $4 million this year. But heading into this week's Western Open at Cog Hill Golf Club, the discussion once again centers on a loss -- his collapse at the U.S. Open.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson reacts to his 72nd-hole double-bogey at the U.S. Open.
It was a meltdown that brought back memories of the 'old Mickelson,' the guy who took too many chances, made too many mistakes. And it raised questions: Which Lefty will show up for the British Open at Royal Liverpool later this month? The Mickelson who won three majors, or the golfer who couldn't win the big one?
 
'Well, I'm not ever going to forget it, that's obvious,' said Mickelson, making his first start since the U.S. Open. 'But what I'm not going to do is let it affect negatively my performance in upcoming majors. I've got two more. I'm playing too well, and I've got a system of preparation that has been helping me play some of my best golf.'
 
He led by one before the 72nd hole at Winged Foot two weeks ago. But he finished in a tie for second with Colin Montgomerie and Jim Furyk, one shot behind Geoff Ogilvy, after a double-bogey.
 
In between, Mickelson seemed to step back in time. And that was not a good thing for him.
 
He chose a driver over the 4-wood on the 18th tee and knocked the ball so far to the left it landed near the hospitality tents and matted in the rough. Then, he went for the green, rather than a safe shot. The ball hit a branch and traveled only 25 yards.
 
His third shot got buried in the bunker, and Mickelson was on his way to that double-bogey.
 
It was a startling finish, a flashback to those gunslinger days when Mickelson would turn reckless at key moments. He was 0-for-42 in majors as a professional before trying on the green jacket at the 2004 Masters. A PGA championship last summer and another victory this year at Augusta followed.
 
But his wife, Amy, said the loss at the U.S. Open might have been the most difficult. And when her husband returned to the rental house afterward, the family mobbed him.
 
Her husband was in a 'total state of shock,' and all Amy could do was tell him, 'I love you.'
 
Mickelson said the conversation with his three children went like this: 'Did you win, Daddy?'
 
'No.'
 
'I'm sorry. Do you want pizza?'
 
The next day, the family returned home to Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. On Tuesday, Mickelson and his oldest child, Amanda, spent the day at a club pool. On Wednesday, the family celebrated Amanda's seventh birthday at Disneyland.
 
And a few days later, Mickelson went to practice at Royal Liverpool.
 
'One of my favorite things about Phil is from the day I met him, even in college, he's had this incredible perspective,' Amy Mickelson said. 'He's a very secure person. He knows who he is, what he's about and what he stands for. He's had highs and lows over the years. And there will be more lows.'
 
And the loss at the U.S. Open may have been the lowest point because he has played so well the past few years.
 
'He's really locked into a great way to prepare, and he's found what's working for him,' Amy Mickelson said.
 
But everything went awry at the U.S. Open.
 
Phil Mickelson defended his strategy on the final hole, saying 'the last thing I would do is question that.' The problems started earlier.
 
'My execution just wasn't what I wanted that week, and yet I fought and hung in there,' he said. 'And unfortunately, I just needed to hang in there one more hole and wasn't able to do it.'
 
So he walked away with perhaps the most difficult loss of his career. Yet with that disappointment, there was defiance.
 
'He'll never forget it, but it's also not a day that will define him,' Amy Mickelson said. 'That's just not the kind of guy he is.'
 
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  • American Junior Golf Association

    Junior golfer's amazing run: ace, albatross, birdie

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 11:03 pm

    While most of the golf world had its attention focused on Scotland and The Open Championship at Carnoustie on Thursday, the REALLY remarkable performance of the day was taking place in Halifax, Mass.

    There, in an American Junior Golf Association tournament, a 16-year-old Thai player made a hole-in-one and an albatross on consecutive holes.

    According to the AJGA, Conor Kelly holed a 5-iron shot on the 198-yard, par-3 eighth hole. It was his first hole-in-one. He then holed a 4-iron second shot from 220 yards on the 480-yard ninth holer for the albatross. (We're gonna go out on a limb and say it was his first albatross.)

    Certainly a nice way to make the turn - but Kelly wasn't finished. He birdied the par-4 10th for a 1-2-3 sequence on his scorecard. For the day, he shot a 5-under 67 in the AJGA Junior Golf Hub Championship at the Country Club of Halifax.

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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

    Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

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    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.



    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

    “She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

    “I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.