Lefty Satisfied With New PGA Tour Schedule

By Associated PressJanuary 24, 2006, 5:00 pm
PGA Tour (75x100)The shorter PGA Tour season that starts next year is not exactly what Phil Mickelson had in mind, but he said Tuesday it likely would bring together the top players more often.
Mickelson recently suggested mandatory attendance for the stars at 20 tournaments each year.
The 2007 schedule, built around a points race called the FedEx Cup, will stack three 'Championship Series' events at the end of the year, followed by a Tour Championship in September.
'We're going to play together more often - not every tournament, though,' Mickelson said at the Buick Invitational. 'We'll have probably three or four more tournaments ... where the top guys will all play. But wouldn't it be great if we had 20 events where everybody played together? It would be cool.'
Still, the Masters and PGA champion had few complaints.
He has been criticized in recent years for ending his season early, saying in 2004 that he had a tough time getting motivated after the majors were over. Late last year, he skipped the season-ending Tour Championship, and then skipped the season-opening Mercedes Championships earlier this month.
Mickelson said he would play next year all the way through the Tour Championship.
'The big thing for me is that I need an end point,' Mickelson said. 'I can go at it hard, with the idea that once you go to this point, you can take some time off. What I like now is there's an end point, as opposed to dragging on for 12 months and never having the point where you relax and say, 'OK, we're done for a while.''
Mickelson said he had no discussions about a shorter season with PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, saying he was approached with the idea at the Ryder Cup in 2004.
That was OK with him, too.
'I don't think players should be involved in the tour,' Mickelson said. 'I don't think we should have any say. I think it should be just like it happened. I think the commissioner should run the tour just like he did.'
Several players in Hawaii said they felt left out of the loop during the decision to have a shorter season, and the tour's negotiations for a TV contract that left out ABC and ESPN, and provided a 15-year deal with The Golf Channel.
Mickelson was reminded that the PGA Tour was created in 1969 when players, led by Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer, broke away from the PGA of America because they had so little input on tournament affairs.
Mickelson compared such anarchy to Champions Golf Club in Houston, which is run by Jack Burke Jr.
'It's one of the greatest clubs because Jackie Burke has a vision and he makes all of the decisions, and the club stays consistent with that thought process,' he said. 'I think it's a great way to run a golf club, and it would be a great way to run the tour.'
Mickelson tied for fifth last week in the Bob Hope Classic, the start of a year in which he will play six of the first seven tournaments through the Ford Championship at Doral.
Tiger Woods makes his 2006 debut this week at Torrey Pines, where he is defending champion, but the top five players in the world will not be at the same event until the Accenture Match Play Championship at La Costa the last week in February.
'I just wish we would play against each other more often,' Mickelson said. 'I think the new schedule in '07 does that. Not as much as I would like, but it does it more.'
Mickelson's idea of the top players in 20 events a year was reminiscent of Greg Norman's plan for a world tour in 1994, when the Shark proposed a series of tournaments for the top 30 or 40 in the world.
That plan gave way to what is now the World Golf Championships, run by the tour.
'He's a brilliant individual and he's one of the guys that I respect the most, because of a lot of the decisions and ideas he has,' Mickelson said of Norman. 'I know that we somewhat stole the idea to make the World Golf Championships. So there you go. It must have been a pretty good idea.'
Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Getty Images

Kang 'going with the flow,' one back of A. Jutanugarn

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:43 am

SHANGHAI – Ariya Jutanugarn shot a 6-under 66 to take a one-stroke lead after the first round of the Buick LPGA Shanghai tournament on Thursday.

The Thai player had six birdies in a bogey-free round, including three straight on Nos. 4, 5, and 6.

''I always have so much fun when I play in Asia,'' said Jutanugarm, who added her key was ''just not to expect anything. Just go out have fun and enjoy everything.''

Sei Young Kim and Danielle Kang (both 67) were one shot back, with six other players only two shots off the lead.

Full-field scores from the Buick LPGA Shanghai

The tournament is the second of five being played in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan in the LPGA's annual Asian swing.

Kang credited her improved play to new coach Butch Harmon.

''We just kind of simplify the game a lot,'' the American said. ''Just trying to calm it down and get back to how I used to play. Just more feel golf. Thinking less mechanics and going with the flow.''

Kang tied for third last week at the KEB Hana Bank championship in Incheon, South Korea.

''Today's round went very smooth,'' Kang said. ''Coming off very good momentum after last week, and I've been hitting the ball really well, playing great. I've just been trusting my game and just keep giving myself birdie chances. They kept rolling in.''

Getty Images

Sharpshooting Reavie (68) leads tough CJ Cup

By Associated PressOctober 18, 2018, 9:34 am

JEJU ISLAND, South Korea – Chez Reavie overcame cool, windy conditions for a 4-under 68 and a one-stroke lead after the first round of the CJ Cup at Nine Bridges on Thursday.

In the breezy conditions, the back nine of the course posed the most difficulty, but the 36-year-old American made two birdies and negotiated it in 35 after starting on the 10th tee, and then picked up three shots on his final nine.

Danny Willett and Si Woo Kim shot 69 while the large group at 70, and tied for fourth, included Ian PoulterNick Watney and Michael Kim.

Brooks Koepka, playing in his first tournament since being voted PGA Tour Player of the Year, shot 71 and was in a group three strokes behind and tied for 11th, which included Paul Casey and Hideki Matsuyama.

Jason Dufner and Brandt Snedeker shot 72. Defending champion Justin Thomas had a 73, as did Jason Day, Ernie Els and J.B. Holmes.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Marc Leishman, who won last week's CIMB Classic in Malaysia, and Adam Scott had 75s.

Reavie's only PGA Tour win came at the 2008 Canadian Open, and he finished second in back-to-back starts last year in Phoenix and Pebble Beach, losing at Phoenix in a playoff.

''It was a great day, I hit the ball really well,'' Reavie said of Thursday's round. ''The wind was blowing really hard all day long so you had to really start the ball well and keep it out of the wind. Luckily, I was able to do that.''

Despite the windy conditions, Reavie found all 14 fairways off the tee and hit 15 out of 18 greens in regulation, which he felt was the key to a good score.

''It's tough because once you get above the hole with this wind, it's really hard to chip it close,'' he said. ''The more greens you can hit, the better and that was key to my game.''

Willett, who has struggled with injuries and form since winning the 2016 Masters and has dropped to No. 342 in the world, made five birdies and two bogeys in his 69. Willett has just one top-five finish since finishing second in the Italian Open in September 2016.

Having committed to play on the PGA Tour by taking up membership this season, Willet said it was important to make a quick start to the season.

''I've done two tours for a couple of years, and it's very difficult,'' Willett said. ''We committed to play on the PGA Tour, to play predominantly over here this year and next. It's nice to kind of get in and get some points early if you can.''

The second of three PGA Tour events in three weeks in Asia has a 78-player field and no cut. Only 19 players broke par on Thursday.

Getty Images

Koepka takes edge over Thomas in race for world No. 1

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:50 am

Brooks Koepka got the inside track against Justin Thomas in their head-to-head battle this week for world No. 1.

Koepka shot 1-under 71 on Thursday at the CJ Cup, while Thomas shot 1-over 73.

Chez Reavie leads after 18 holes at Nine Bridges in Juju Island, South Korea, following a 4-under 68.

Koepka, currently world No. 3, needs to win this week or finish solo second [without Thomas winning] in order to reach the top spot in the rankings for the first time in his career. Thomas, currently No. 4, must win to reclaim the position he surrendered in June.

One week after 26 under par proved victorious in Malaysia, birdies weren’t as aplenty to begin the second leg of the PGA Tour’s Asian swing.

Full-field scores from the CJ Cup

CJ Cup: Articles, photos and videos

In chilly, windy conditions, Koepka and Thomas set out alongside one another – with Sungjae Im (73) as the third – on the 10th hole. Koepka bogeyed his first hole of the day on his way to turning in even-par 36. Thomas was one worse, with two bogeys and a birdie.

On their second nine, Koepka was steady with two birdies and a bogey to reach red figures for the day.

"I felt like I played good. I hit some good shots, missed a couple putts early and kind put myself in a little bit of trouble on the back nine, my front, but rallied pretty nicely," Koepka said. "I felt like I found a bit of rhythm. But it's a difficult day, anything under par, level par is a good score out there today. I'm pleased with it."

Thomas, however, had two birdies and a double bogey on his inward half. The double came at the par-4 fourth, where he four-putted. He nearly made up those two strokes on his final hole, the par-5 ninth, when a wild approach shot [as you can see below] traversed the contours of the green and settled 6 feet from the hole. But Thomas missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.

Getty Images

Watch: Thomas' approach takes wild ride on CJ Cup green

By Golf Channel DigitalOctober 18, 2018, 5:17 am

Two over par with one hole to play in Round 1 of the CJ Cup, Justin Thomas eyed an eagle at the par-5 ninth [his 18th].

And he nearly got it, thanks to his ball beautifully navigating the curves of the green.

Thomas hit a big draw for his second shot and his ball raced up the green's surface, towards the back, where it caught the top of ridge and funneled down to within 6 feet of the hole.

Unfortunately for Thomas, the defending champion, he missed the eagle putt and settled for birdie and a 1-over 73.