Mickelson benefits from Quail Hollow setup

By Associated PressMay 1, 2009, 4:00 pm
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. ' The theory had been tossed around for the past couple of days: Quail Hollows rough was set at only 2 inches to help the power players and big names, like Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods.
I hope so, Mickelson said, laughing. That would be great.
The trade off, though, is much firmer greens than in years past. And Mickelsons four-putt on the tricky 17th green cost him chance for a great round. He settled for a 1-under 71, which left him at 6 under, two behind co-leaders Bubba Watson and Retief Goosen and a shot behind Woods.
2009 Quail Hollow
Phil Mickelson isn't convinced that the Quail Hollow course is friendly for big-hitters like himself. (Getty Images)

I left my first putt short on 17. I was fearing rolling it eight, 10 feet by and I left it five feet short, Mickelson said.
Mickelson then rolled the next putt by the hole and it rolled nearly 12 feet past the hole.
There wasnt anything to stop it, Mickelson said. I probably should have made that 7-, 8-footer coming back, but I just didnt hit a good one.
Mickelson is a fan of the short rough, saying it leads to creativity with recovery shots. But he insisted the course is not completely set up for the big hitters and big names because its difficult to keep the ball from running through the firm fairways.
Im having to hit a lot of 3-woods and 4-woods off tees, Mickelson said. Im playing my approach shots from the same spots that many of the shorter players would play from.
BUBBAS CONCENTRATION: Bubba Watson shot 30 on the front nine on Friday en route to a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead.
Imagine how well the long-hitter would do if he could concentrate.
My mind just wanders, Watson said. Im thinking about what shoes Im going to buy, I need to wash my car. Im thinking about stuff that doesnt matter because were out there for so long.
Watson said one time his caddie, Ted Scott, had to interrupt a conversation about what course theyre going to play later this month in Ohio.
Hes like, Shut up, lets talk about this putt right now, Watson said.
Staying focused has been a lifelong struggle for Watson, who said he didnt listen in school, either. But hes resisted seeking if he perhaps has attention deficit disorder.
I think its just a crutch, Watson said. My dad is from the military, Green Beret Special Forces. He said thats a crutch. Doctors are crutches, so youve got to figure out how to do it on your own.
Ranked 80th on the money list and still looking for his first PGA Tour victory, Watson said his caddie has helped him stay focused and not get down after a bad shot. His round on Friday included an eagle on the first hole.
And for the record, Watson needs to buy tennis shoes and has a white car with black rims that he hasnt washed in four months. He wouldnt reveal the golf course in Ohio.
Because all my fans might come and chase me down, Watson said, grinning.
CABRERA CUT: Angel Cabreras first tournament since the Masters ended early. He joined Padraig Harrington, Sergio Garcia and Vijay Singh on the list of prominent players to miss the cut.
Cabrera shot 70 on Thursday, but he struggled to a 76 on Friday that included a 41 on the front nine to close his round. Cabrera double-bogeyed the seventh hole when he hit two shots into the water.
Singh won at Quail Hollow in 2005 and had been the only player make the cut in the first six years of the tournament. But Singh wasnt close this time in another poor week in a disappointing season.
After opening with a 4-over 76, Singh shot 74 on Friday to miss the cut by six shots. He has yet to post a top-10 finish in nine events this year thats included four missed cuts.
Harrington was at 4 under with two holes to go on Thursday before finishing triple bogey-double bogey. He didnt recover Friday, shooting 75.
Garcia followed Thursdays 71 with a 6-over 78. It included a stretch of four straight bogeys that will prevent him from erasing the ugly memories of blowing a 6-shot final-round lead four years ago.
JOHNSONS SOUR FINISH: Zach Johnson was flirting with the course record of 64 until the Green Mile and the swirling wind kept him from second-day lead.
Johnson, playing in an early group, approached the difficult closing three holes at 8-under for the day. But as the wind picked up he finished with three consecutive bogeys for a 67 that left him 7 under and one shot out of the lead.
Its upsetting, very disappointing, but at the same time I cant be too upset, said Johnson, who won the Sony Open in January. I did a lot of good things.
The 2007 Masters champion had birdied seven of the past eight holes as he walked to the 16th tee.
His 7-iron approach shot at 16 sailed in the wind, landed over the green he couldnt get up and down.
The wind caught his tee shot on the 17th, leaving him short of the hole and again he couldnt save par.
Johnson then three-putted 18, but still finished with only his second sub-70 round in 16 attempts at Quail Hollow.
Youve got to find what you think is the wind, Johnson said. And thats what I did ' at least it felt like it. You just commit to your shots and try to execute.
BOB HOPE CLASSIC: With news that Chrysler has filed for bankruptcy protection, the PGA Tour said Friday that the Bob Hope Classic in the California desert will be played next year and beyond.
Chrysler has been the title sponsor of the Hope since 1986, but it asked to have its name removed during the TV broadcast and some signage to avoid attention on the ailing auto industry.
The foundation that has been built over the last 50 years provides solid financial footing for the Desert Classic Charities group to continue the strong traditions of the Bob Hope Classic, PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem said in a statement.
Desert Classic Charities, Inc., runs the tournament.
The tour said the tournament has raised more than $50 million for charities in the Coachella Valley, with most of that money going to the Eisenhower Medical Center.
DIVOTS: Robert Karlsson shot 69 to move within three of the lead in a rare non-major American appearance for the Swede. He asked for a commissioners exemption. I love this event, said Karlsson, who missed the cut at the Masters. I played here in 2007 and for me this is one of the top events. Brad Faxon (1 under) made just his second cut in his first full season back from knee surgery. John Rollins hit his drive into the water on 18 before recovering to hole an 80-foot putt for par ' and make the cut by a stroke.
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    DJ triples last hole, opens with 76 at Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 6:18 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Dustin Johnson’s chances of winning The Open are likely already over.

    The world No. 1 hit his tee shot out of bounds on 18 on his way to a triple bogey, capping a miserable day that left him with a 5-over 76, 10 shots off the lead and in danger of missing the cut.

    Johnson didn’t talk to reporters afterward, but there wasn’t much to discuss.

    He didn’t make a birdie until the par-5 14th, bogeyed 16 and then made 7 on Carnoustie's home hole when his tee shot caromed out of bounds left.

    Johnson has missed the cut only once in nine previous appearances at The Open – in his first try in 2009.

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    'The Golf Club 2019' adds Elvy to commentary team

    By Nick MentaJuly 19, 2018, 4:45 pm

    “The Golf Club 2019” is adding a new name to its commentary team.

    Broadcaster Luke Elvy will join returning announcer and HB Studios developer John McCarthy for the title's third installment.

    Golf fans will recognize Elvy from his recent work with CBS in addition to his time with Sky Sports, FOX Sports, TNT, PGA Tour Live and PGA Tour Radio.

    A 25-year media veteran from Australia, he now works in the United States and lives with his family in Canada.

    "Ian Baker-Finch was my right-hand man on Australian televison," Elvy told GolfChannel.com in an interview at the Quicken Loans National. "And Finchy said to me, 'What are you doing here? You should be with me in the States.’ He introduced me to a few people over here and that's how the transition has happened over the last five or six years."

    Elvy didn't have any prior relationship with HB Studios, who reached out to him via his management at CAA. As for why he got the job, he pseudo-jokes: "They heard the accent, and said, 'We like that. That works for us. Let's go.' That's literally how it happened."

    He participated in two separate recording sessions over three days, first at his home back in February and then at the HB Studios shortly after The Players Championship. He teased his involvement when the game was announced in May.

    Although he doesn't describe himself as a "gamer," Elvy lauded the game's immediate playability, even for a novice.

    “It’s exactly how you’d want golf to be,” he said.

    "The Golf Club 2019" will be the first in the HB series to feature PGA Tour branding. The Tour had previously licensed its video game rights to EA Sports.

    In addition to a career mode that will take players from the Web.com Tour all the way through the FedExCup Playoffs, "The Golf Club 2019" will also feature at launch replicas of six TPC courses played annually on Tour – TPC Summerlin (Shriners Hospitals for Children Open), TPC Scottsdale's Stadium Course (Waste Management Phoenix Open), TPC Sawgrass’ Stadium Course (The Players Championship), TPC Southwind (FedEx St. Jude Classic/WGC-FedEx St. Jude Championship), TPC Deere Run (John Deere Classic), and TPC Boston (Dell Technologies Championship).

    “I played nine holes at Scottsdale,” Elvy added. “It’s a very close comparison. Visually, it’s very realistic."

    The Golf Club 2019 is due out this August on PlayStation 4, XBOX One, and PC.

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    Expired visa, helicopter, odd clubs all part of Vegas' journey

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 3:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jhonattan Vegas thought someone was playing a practical joke on him.

    Or maybe he was stuck in the middle of a horror movie.

    Scheduled to leave for The Open a week ago, he didn’t arrive at Carnoustie until a little more than an hour before his first-round tee time Thursday.

    “Even if somebody tried to do that on purpose,” he said, “you couldn’t really do it.”

    The problem was an expired visa.

    Vegas said that he must have gotten confused by the transposed date on the visa – “Guessing I’ve been living in America too long” – and assumed that he was cleared to travel.

    No problem, he was told. He’d have a new visa in 24 hours.

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    Except the consulate in New York didn’t respond to his application the next day, keeping him in limbo through the weekend. Then, on Monday, he was told that he’d applied for the wrong visa. UPS got shut down in New York and his visa never left, so Vegas waited in vain for seven hours in front of the consulate in Houston. He finally secured his visa on Wednesday morning, boarded a flight from Houston to Toronto, and then flew to Glasgow, the final leg of a 14-hour journey.

    His agent arranged a helicopter ride from Glasgow to Carnoustie to ensure that he could make his 10:31 a.m. (local) tee time.

    One more issue? His clubs never made it. They were left back in Toronto.

    His caddie, Ruben Yorio, scrambled to put together a new bag, with a mismatched set of woods, irons, wedges and putter.

    “Luckily the (equipment) vans are still here,” Vegas said. “Otherwise I probably would have played with members’ clubs today.”

    He hit about 20 balls on the range – “Luckily they were going forward” – but Carnoustie is one of the most challenging links in the world, and Vegas was working off of two hours’ sleep and without his own custom-built clubs. He shot 76 but, hey, at least he tried.

    “It was fun,” he said, “even though the journey was frustrating.”

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    'Brain fart' leads to Spieth's late collapse

    By Rex HoggardJuly 19, 2018, 2:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The closing stretch at Carnoustie has famously ruined many a solid round, so Jordan Spieth’s misadventures on Thursday should not have been a complete surprise, but the truth is the defending champion’s miscues were very much self-inflicted.

    Spieth was cruising along at 3 under par, just two shots off the early lead, when he made a combination of errors at the par-4 15th hole. He hit the wrong club off the tee (4-iron) and the wrong club for his approach (6-iron) on his way to a double bogey-6.

    “The problem was on the second shot, I should have hit enough club to reach the front of the green, and even if it goes 20 yards over the green, it's an easy up-and-down,” Spieth said. “I just had a brain fart, and I missed it into the location where the only pot bunker where I could actually get in trouble, and it plugged deep into it. It was a really, really poor decision on the second shot, and that cost me.”

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    Spieth continued to compound his problems with a sloppy bogey at the 16th hole, and a drive that sailed left at 18 found the Barry Burn en route to a closing bogey and a 1-over 72.

    The miscues were more mental, a lack of execution, than they were an example of how difficult the closing stretch at Carnoustie can be, and that’s not good enough for Spieth.

    “That's what I would consider as a significant advantage for me is recognizing where the misses are,” said Spieth, who was tied for 68th when he completed his round. “It felt like a missed opportunity.”