Lefty refusing to take the Tiger bait

By Associated PressJuly 15, 2008, 4:00 pm
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Open ChampionshipSOUTHPORT, England -- Phil Mickelson wouldnt bite, no matter how many ways he was asked about Tiger Woods.
 
So, Lefty, are the majors diminished because a certain No. 1 player' perhaps the greatest ever to swing a golf club'isnt at the British Open?
 
I am working hard to get my game ready for this week, and Ive practiced hard. Ive developed a good game plan for this event, and I am excited to compete against whoever is in the field, Mickelson said blandly.
 
Strike one.
 
Cant you say anything about Tigers absence?
 
Oh, Im sure I could, Mickelson said, tantalizing his audience. But right now my focus is, again, this week, as Ive got to get my game sharp.
 
Strike two.
 
Finally, when the call went out for final questions, someone asked Mickelson if he got any sense that other players'not someone as accomplished and experienced as himself, mind you'might feel like they have more of a chance with Woods sitting out the rest of the year recovering from knee surgery.
 
His response?
 
I havent had a sense either way, no.
 
Strike three. Thanks for coming, Phil.
 
During a 12-minute interview session that at times felt like a trip to the dentist, Mickelson steadfastly refused to even say Woods name Tuesday. It seemed a calculated move, as all things are with Lefty, because he was asked several different ways about the only player ahead of him in the world rankings.
 
Even from his couch, Tiger has that sort of affect on people, especially the guy whos been chasing him most of his career.
 
But maybe Mickelson does have other things on his mind, such as a lackluster record in the majors since he gave away the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot on the 72nd hole, costing himself a third straight major and leading Lefty to say of himself, Im such an idiot.
 
Since then, Mickelson hasnt come close to winning another of golfs biggest events. Hes on an eight-major winless streak, missing the cut twice'including last years British Open at Carnoustie'and not finishing within six strokes of the winner even when he did make it to the weekend.
 
The only major outside the United States has been especially bedeviling for Mickelson, who had to make big adjustments in his game to cope with the challenges of links golf. The high, spinning shots that work so well on aim-and-fire American courses dont turn out nearly a well on the bumpy, windy layouts along the English and Scottish coasts.
 
Except for 2004, when he finished one stroke out of a playoff between winner Todd Hamilton and runner-up Ernie Els, Mickelson has never been much of a factor on this side of the Atlantic. He doesnt have any other top-10 finishes in 15 career appearances at the British Open, which would seem to indicate he wont be breaking out of his major drought this week.
 
The results notwithstanding, Mickelson insists he loves this style of golf. He pointed to the 18th hole at St. Andrews, where the green must be reached over ' or through'the Valley of Sin. Some play a high, lofted shot. Some go with a bump-and-run. Some players even use the putter.
 
Its that variety that makes links golf so exciting, the need for creativity, because theres so many different ways to play the shot, Mickelson said.
 
Hes also got fond memories of Royal Birkdale, though he hasnt had much success here.
 
This was the site of Mickelsons first British Open in 1991, when he made the cut as an amateur and finished in a tie for 73rd. He wound up even lower in the standings when he returned seven years later as a pro, shooting 85-78 on the weekend in brutal weather to plummet into a tie for 76th.
 
I think its a very fair test where good shots get rewarded, primarily the 30 to 40 yards short of the green, Mickelson said. You get much more consistent bounces, so the well-struck shots are rewarded and typically end up about where you would anticipate.
 
He was ready to talk all day about Royal Birkdale.
 
Just dont bring up you know who.
 

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    Bubba gets inked by Brooks, meets Tebow

    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 5:40 pm

    Bubba Watson missed the cut at Shinnecock Hills following rounds of 77-74, but that didn't stop him from enjoying his weekend.

    Watson played alongside Jason Day and eventual champion Brooks Koepka in Rounds 1 and 2, and somehow this body ink slipped by us on Thursday.

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    A post shared by Bubba Watson (@bubbawatson) on

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    Already in Hartford, Watson will be going for his third Travelers Championship trophy this week, following wins in 2010 and 2015.

    Getty Images

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    By Nick MentaJune 18, 2018, 3:09 pm

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    There is also a case to be made that the USGA's setup of Shinnecock Hills made a mockery of a major championship and was worthy of derision.

    Whatever you think about what Mickelson did on Saturday - and how he attempted to justify it after the fact without even a hint of remorse - watch this video.

    The next time you hear someone say, "If anybody else had putted a moving ball on purpose and not apologized for it, it would get a different reaction," you can point to this video and say, "Yeah, here's why."

    Here's what happened once a still-strident Mickelson was done rubbing Donald Duck hats on Sunday, per Ryan Lavner:

    If you’re wondering whether Mickelson would be defiant or contrite on Sunday, we don’t know the answer. He declined to stop and speak with the media, deciding instead to sign autographs for more than a half hour and then offering a few short answers before ducking into player hospitality.

    “The real question is, ‘What am I going to do next?’” he said. “I don’t know.”

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    Separately, shoutout to 2017 Latin Am champ Toto Gana, who does a terrific Donald Duck (skip to end).

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    Ryder Cup race: Mickelson out, Simpson in

    By Will GrayJune 18, 2018, 2:34 pm

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    Brooks Koepka's successful title defense vaulted him to the top of the American points race, up four spots and ensuring he'll be on the team Jim Furyk takes to Paris in September. Dustin Johnson's third-place finish moved him past Patrick Reed at No. 2, while Webb Simpson entered the top eight after a a tie for 10th.

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    2. Dustin Johnson

    3. Patrick Reed

    4. Justin Thomas

    5. Jordan Spieth

    6. Rickie Fowler

    7. Bubba Watson

    8. Webb Simpson

    ---

    9. Bryson DeChambeau

    10. Phil Mickelson

    11. Matt Kuchar

    12. Brian Harman

    On the European side, England's Tommy Fleetwood took a big stride toward securing his first Ryder Cup appearance with a runner-up finish that included a Sunday 63 while countryman Matthew Fitzpatrick snuck into a qualifying spot after tying for 12th.

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    European Points

    1. Tyrrell Hatton

    2. Justin Rose

    3. Tommy Fleetwood

    4. Francesco Molinari

    ---

    5. Thorbjorn Olesen

    6. Ross Fisher

    World Points

    1. Jon Rahm

    2. Rory McIlroy

    3. Alex Noren

    4. Matthew Fitzpatrick

    ---

    5. Ian Poulter

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    @jenamsims on Instagram

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    By Grill Room TeamJune 18, 2018, 2:30 pm

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    The first is dated prior to Koepka's final-round tee time.



    The second is from Sunday night.



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