Mickelson Cautiously Optimistic at FBR

By Associated PressFebruary 1, 2006, 5:00 pm
2006 FBR OpenSCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Phil Mickelson loves the FBR Open, and the feeling is mutual.
 
He used to live in Scottsdale, and the rowdy crowds that flood the Tournament Players Championship Course still consider him one of their own. Mickelson won the tournament twice, in 1996 and last year, when he tied the course record with an 11-under-par 60 in the second round.
 
It was his best 18-hole score and, he said, the best round of his life.
 
'This is one of my favorite weeks,' Mickelson said Wednesday before his pro-am round. 'There's a feeling we get at this course, with this many people, that we don't get anywhere else. It's pretty cool to have a chance to have won it now a couple of times.'
 
Mickelson and Vijay Singh lead a field that will begin play Thursday on the par-71, 7,216-yard course. Tiger Woods hasn't played in the event since 2001. He reportedly is getting $3 million to play in this week's Dubai Desert Classic.
 
So Mickelson is everybody's favorite in a tournament he hopes will kick-start his season, just as it did last year. Mickelson had an erratic final round to finish two shots behind Woods, Jose Maria Olazabal and Nathan Green at last weekend's Buick Invitational. Woods won the tournament in a playoff.
 
'I've had a couple of chances but haven't really played very well,' Mickelson said. 'But I've been able to get the ball in the hole and get in contention.'
 
He said he's made a few adjustments after talking with instructors Rick Smith and Dave Pelz.
 
'I think I may have ironed out a few things,' Mickelson said. 'I went out and played yesterday, and it seemed to be a little bit better, so I'm cautiously optimistic about playing well this week.'
 
The left-hander's big drives should bounce even farther on the dry fairways.
 
The Phoenix area has gone a record 105 days without rain, and sunshine with temperatures in the mid to high 70s is forecast through the weekend. Sprinklers can do only so much to soften the terrain.
 
'It will be a matter of guys trying to hit driver, trying to knock it on the surface of (the par-5) 17, trying to have short irons or mid irons into the par 5s. I think the weather will be a big factor,' Mickelson said.
 
Booming shots should mean shrinking scores, unlike last year, when wind played havoc with the first round.
 
'The first day was brutal,' Mickelson recalled. 'Balls were rolling off the greens, and yet we still played, and you just tried to hang in there, and then when the wind died down, turn it on and try to make some birdies.
 
'This week I think it's going to be more of a shootout. It looks like it's going to be beautiful weather. I think we're going to see a lot of low scores.
 
Mickelson has earned $1.6 million at the FBR Open, formerly known as the Phoenix Open. That's more than any other golfer. This year's winner gets $936,000.
 
Some golfers don't like the raucous atmosphere on the north Scottsdale course, where a crowd of 165,168 was reported for last year's third round. The atmosphere is especially unusual on the par-3 16th hole, where the crowd surrounds the entire hole like a football stadium, cheering boisterously and singing the college fight songs of some of the golfers. They even boo bad shots.
 
Camilo Villegas, the 24-year-old Colombian given a sponsor's exemption to compete, said he can't wait.
 
'I've heard many stories, and I'm looking forward to that 16th tee,' Villegas said. 'Hopefully I'll hit it on the green. I don't want any boos.'
 
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    Fleetwood, with his fancy umbrella, fires 65 on Day 2

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 12:34 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Tommy Fleetwood looked like an Open rookie when he set out on Friday under gray skies and a cold, steady rain.

    Because the Englishman doesn’t have an equipment sponsor he made a quick turn through the merchandise tent for an umbrella – but at least he didn’t have to pay for it.

    “We stole it,” he laughed when asked about his Open-brand umbrella. “We got one given for free, actually. We didn't steal it. We don't always carry an umbrella. So it just so happens this week that we've got a nice Open Championship [umbrella]. It looked quite nice, the yellow and the course.”


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    It was Fleetwood’s only rookie move on Day 2 at Carnoustie, posting a flawless 65 to move into an early tie for second place at 5 under par.

    Fleetwood holds the competitive course record at Carnoustie, a 9-under 63 he shot last fall during the European Tour’s Dunhill Links Championship, but given Friday’s conditions and the difficulty of this course during The Open, his 65 on Friday might have been better.

    “It's not a course record, but it's pretty good,” said Fleetwood, who was stroke behind leader Zach Johnson. “If you went out, you wouldn't really fancy being 6 under out there. So I think that's a good indication of how good it was.”

    It was a dramatic turnaround for Fleetwood on Friday. He said he struggled with his ball-striking, specifically his tee shots, on Day 1, but he was able to turn things around with an hour-long session on the range following his opening round.

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    Tiger Tracker: 147th Open Championship

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 10:15 am

    Following an even-par 71 in the first round of the 147th Open Championship, Tiger Woods looks to make a move on Day 2 at Carnoustie.


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    McIlroy responds to Harmon's 'robot' criticism

    By Mercer BaggsJuly 20, 2018, 6:53 am

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy said during his pre-championship news conference that he wanted to play more "carefree" – citing Jon Rahm’s approach now and the way McIlroy played in his younger days.

    McIlroy got off to a good start Thursday at Carnoustie, shooting 2-under 69, good for a share of eighth place.

    But while McIlroy admits to wanting to be a little less structured on the course, he took offense to comments made by swing coach Butch Harmon during a Sky Sports telecast.

    Said Harmon:

    “Rory had this spell when he wasn’t putting good and hitting the ball good, and he got so wrapped up in how he was going to do it he forgot how to do it.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “He is one of the best players the game has ever seen. If he would just go back to being a kid and playing the way he won these championships and play your game, don’t have any fear or robotic thoughts. Just play golf. Just go do it.

    “This is a young kid who’s still one of the best players in the world. He needs to understand that. Forget about your brand and your endorsement contracts. Forget about all that. Just go back to having fun playing golf. I still think he is one of the best in the world and can be No.1 again if he just lets himself do it.”

    McIlroy, who has never worked with Harmon, responded to the comments when asked about them following his opening round.

    “Look, I like Butch. Definitely, I would say I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum than someone that's mechanical and someone that's – you know, it's easy to make comments when you don't know what's happening,” McIlroy said. “I haven't spoken to Butch in a long time. He doesn't know what I'm working on in my swing. He doesn't know what's in my head. So it's easy to make comments and easy to speculate. But unless you actually know what's happening, I just really don't take any notice of it.”

    McIlroy second round at The Open began at 2:52 a.m. ET.

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    How The Open cut line is determined

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 5:57 am

    Scores on Day 1 of the 147th Open Championship ranged from 5-under 66 to 11-over 82.

    The field of 156 players will be cut nearly in half for weekend play at Carnoustie. Here’s how the cut line works in the season’s third major championship:


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    • After 36 holes, the low 70 players and ties will advance to compete in the final two rounds. Anyone finishing worse than that will get the boot. Only those making the cut earn official money from the $10.5 million purse.

    • There is no 10-shot rule. That rule means anyone within 10 shots of the lead after two rounds, regardless of where they stand in the championship, make the cut. It’s just a flat top 70 finishers and ties.

    • There is only a single cut at The Open. PGA Tour events employ an MDF (Made cut Did not Finish) rule, which narrows the field after the third round if more than 78 players make the cut. That is not used at this major.

    The projected cut line after the first round this week was 1 over par, which included 71 players tied for 50th or better.