Mickelson Finishes Second Again

By Associated PressJune 20, 2004, 4:00 pm
SOUTHAMPTON, N.Y. -- Phil Mickelson had it all going his way at the U.S. Open - the crowd, the momentum, the confidence.
 
'I really thought it was going to be my day,' Mickelson said.
 
Then he got to No. 17 at Shinnecock Hills, a little par-3 known as 'Eden.' With two excruciating jabs at the ball, Mickelson's hopes of reaching paradise - a second straight major and the first two legs of the Grand Slam - were done.
 
This was Lefty playing a more familiar role - the lovable loser. The guy who three-putted from 5 feet with a major title in his grasp.
 
Instead, it was Retief Goosen winning the Open, his second in four years, by doing what Mickelson couldn't Sunday - finishing the job at 17.
 
After blasting out of a bunker in front of the green, Mickelson had a chance to save par from 5 feet. Hardly a gimme when the hole is downhill, the greens are like a hardwood floor, the wind is blowing and a major championship is on the line.
 
Still, it was the kind of testy putt Mickelson had been making all week.
 
He tapped the ball gently, watching helplessly as it drifted to the left, missing the cup by an inch or two and rolling another 4 feet.
 
A huge setback, to be sure, but Mickelson could have kept the pressure on Goosen by making the come-backer for bogey. With two holes left and the course playing as tough as any in Open history, one stroke was hardly a commanding edge.
 
But Mickelson pulled the next putt, just missing to the right this time. He finally tapped in, but the gallery that had been so raucous just moments earlier was now sitting in stunned silence.
 
Double bogey.
 
Game over.
 
Mickelson closed with a 1-over 71, leaving him at 2-under 278 for the tournament. Goosen was the only other guy who managed to break par, winding up at 276 with a 71 that maintained the two-stroke lead he had at the beginning of the day.
 
For the third time in six years, Mickelson was runner-up in America's national championship.
 
'This is a championship I really want to win, so it's disappointing,' he said. 'But I also feel like I played well in some very difficult conditions. I was confident in some very difficult positions. I'm very pleased with the way I played for four days.'
 
Indeed, Mickelson shouldn't hang his head too low. Under intense pressure, he tied for second-best round of the day. Robert Allenby was the only player to shoot par, and he wasn't in contention. Plenty of other big names were totally overwhelmed.
 
Tiger Woods closed with a 76. Vijay Singh shot 77. Ernie Els, tied with Mickelson at the start of the day, soared to an 80.
 
Mickelson surged into the lead for the first time all day with a stretch of three birdies in four holes, capped with a short putt at the par-5 16th that sent the gallery into another Phil phrenzy.
 
Goosen, playing in the final group just behind Mickelson, was in full-scale scramble mode. He kept making mistakes, but bailed himself out with one clutch putt after another.
 
Mickelson teed off at 17, hoping to hold the green but not too upset when the ball landed in the front left bunker. It balanced on top of the sand, a good lie that allowed him to make the shot he wanted. But he hit the ball above the hole, leaving himself a tricky putt.
 
In hindsight, it's the sand wedge he'll remember, not the two missed putts.
 
'I could do whatever I wanted - spin the ball, not spin the ball,' Mickelson said. 'I just didn't judge accurately how the ball would react to that green.'
 
Goosen made birdie at 16 about the time Mickelson was preparing to putt. When the South African teed off at 17, he had a two-stroke lead. He also drove into a front bunker, but got up-and-down for par.
 
'I knew that these last two holes were going to be the key holes,' Goosen said. 'I made a good putt on 16 to get even with him, and then he made a mistake and I was, as they say, lucky to hang on.'
 
If nothing else, this loss wasn't quite as painful for Mickelson as some of his other close calls in the majors.
 
No one can take away his Masters victory two months ago, the first major title of his career after 42 fruitless tries as a pro.
 
'No question. Having now won a major, I don't have to answer the same questions about being second again,' Mickelson said. 'As opposed to finishing second this week, which I look at as a very positive sign. I played very well in difficult conditions and came so close.'
 
A more familiar role for Mickelson.
 
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    U.S. captures Junior Ryder Cup

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 26, 2018, 12:29 am

    The U.S. defeated Europe, 12 ½ to 11 ½, in the Junior Ryder Cup at Golf Disneyland at Disneyland Paris.

    Rachel Heck, 16, of Memphis, Tenn., clinched the winning half-point on the 18th hole with a 12-foot birdie putt that halved her match with Annabell Fuller, 16, of England.

    "It was the most incredible experience of my life," said Heck, a Stanford commit who last week made the cut in her second LPGA major, the Evian Masters.

    Michael Thorbjornsen, 16, of Wellesley, Mass., the 2018 U.S. Junior Amateur champion, drove the green on the 315-yard 18th hole, the ball stopping within 5 feet of the pin. His eagle putt completed 2-up win over 15-year-old Spaniard David Puig and ensured that the U.S. would retain the Junior Ryder Cup, as the defending champion needs only a tie (12 points) to maintain possession of the trophy.

    Singles results

    Match 1 - Lucy Li (USA) def. Amanda Linner (EUR), 4 and 3

    Match 2 — Rasmus Hojgaard (EUR) def. William Moll (USA), 1 up

    Match 3 —  Ingrid Lindblad (EUR) halved Rose Zhang (USA)

    Match 4 – Nicolai Hojgaard (USA) def. Canon Claycomb (USA), 4 and 2

    Match 5 — Yealimi Noh (USA) def. Emma Spitz (EUR), 3 and 2

    Match 6 —  Ricky Castillo (USA) def. Eduard Rousaud Sabate (EUR), 3 and 1

    Match 7 – Emilie Alba-Paltrinieri (EUR) def. Erica Shepherd (USA), 2 up

    Match 8 — Michael Thorbjornsen (USA) def. David Puig (EUR), 2 up

    Match 9 – Alessia Nobilio (EUR) def. Alexa Pano (USA), 2 and 1

    Match 10 —  Robin Tiger Williams (EUR) def. Cole Ponich (USA), 2 and 1

    Match 11 – Annabell Fuller (EUR) halved Rachel Heck (USA)

    Match 12 — Conor Gough (EUR) def. Akshay Bhatia (USA), 1 up

     

    TOUR Championship Final Round Becomes Most-Watched FedExCup Playoffs Telecast Ever and Most-Watched PGA TOUR Telecast of 2018

    By Golf Channel Public RelationsSeptember 25, 2018, 6:48 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla., (Sept. 25, 2018) – NBC Sports Group’s final round coverage of the TOUR Championship on Sunday (3:00-6:19 p.m. ET) garnered a Total Audience Delivery (TAD) of 7.8 million average viewers, as Tiger Woods claimed his 80th career victory, and his first in five years. The telecast’s TAD was up 212% vs. 2017 (2.5m). Television viewership posted 7.18 million average viewers, up 192% YOY (2.46m) and a 4.45 U.S. household rating, up 178% vs. 2017 (1.60). It also becomes the most-watched telecast in the history of the FedExCup Playoffs (2007-2018) and the most-watched PGA TOUR telecast in 2018 (excludes majors).

    Coverage peaked from 5:45-6 p.m. ET with 10.84 million average viewers as Woods finished his TOUR Championship-winning round and Justin Rose sealed his season-long victory as the FedExCup champion. The peak viewership number trails only the Masters (16.84m) and PGA Championship (12.39m) in 2018. The extended coverage window (1:30-6:19 p.m. ET) drew 5.89 million average viewers and a 3.69 U.S. household rating to become the most-watched and highest-rated TOUR Championship telecast on record (1991-2018).

    Sunday’s final round saw 18.4 million minutes streamed across NBC Sports Digital platforms (+561% year-over-year), and becomes NBC Sports’ most-streamed Sunday round (excluding majors) on record (2013-’18).

    Sunday’s lead-in coverage on Golf Channel (11:54 a.m.-1:25 p.m. ET) also garnered a Total Audience Delivery of 829K average viewers and posted a .56 U.S. household rating, becoming the most-watched and highest rated lead-in telecast of the TOUR Championship ever (2007-2018). Golf Channel was the No. 2 Sports Network during this window and No. 7 out of all Nielsen-rated cable networks during that span.

     This week, NBC Sports Group will offer weeklong coverage of the biennial Ryder Cup from Le Golf National outside of Paris. Live From the Ryder Cup continues all week on Golf Channel, surrounding nearly 30 hours of NBC Sports’ Emmy-nominated live event coverage, spanning from Friday morning’s opening tee shot just after 2 a.m. ET through the clinching point on Sunday. The United States will look to retain the Ryder Cup after defeating Europe in 2016 (17-11), and aim to win for the first time on European soil in 25 years, since 1993.

     

    -NBC Sports Group-

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    Tiger Woods names his Mount Rushmore of golf

    By Golf Channel DigitalSeptember 25, 2018, 6:29 pm
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    Mickelson savoring his (likely) last road game

    By Rex HoggardSeptember 25, 2018, 3:49 pm

    SAINT-QUENTIN-EN-YVELINES, France – Phil Mickelson lingered behind as his foursome made its way to the ninth tee during Tuesday’s practice round.

    He needed the extra practice, no doubt. He’s one of just six players on the U.S. Ryder Cup team with even a modicum of knowledge about Le Golf National, but the likely reason for Lefty’s leisurely tempo was more personal.

    The 2019 Ryder Cup will likely be Mickelson’s last road game as a player.

    He’ll be 52 when the U.S. team pegs it up at the 2022 matches in Rome. Although there’s been players who have participated in the biennial event into their golden years – most notably Raymond Floyd who was 51 when he played the ’93 matches – given Mickelson’s play in recent years and the influx of younger players the odds are against him.

    “I am aware this is most likely the last one on European soil and my last opportunity to be part of a team that would be victorious here, and that would mean a lot to me personally,” Mickelson said on Tuesday.

    It’s understandable that Mickelson would want to linger a little longer in the spotlight of golf’s most intense event.

    For the first time in his Ryder Cup career Mickelson needed to be a captain's pick, and he didn’t exactly roar into Paris, finishing 30th out of 30 players at last week’s Tour Championship. He’s also four months removed from his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour.


    Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos


    Although he’s reluctant to admit it for Mickelson Le Golf National looks every bit a swansong for the most accomplished U.S. Ryder Cup player of his generation.

    In 11 starts at the Ryder Cup, Mickelson has a 26-16-13 record. Perhaps more telling is his 7-3-1 mark since 2012 and he holds the U.S. record for most matches played (45) and is third on the all-time list for most points won (21.5), just two shy of the record held by Billy Casper.

    Mickelson’s record will always be defined by what he’s done at the Masters and not done at the U.S. Open, but his status as an anchor for two generations of American teams may never be matched.

    For this U.S. team - which is trying to win a road Ryder Cup for the first time since 1993 - Lefty is wearing many hats.

    “You know Phil and you know he's always trying to find a way to poke fun, trying to mess with someone,” Furyk said. “He's telling a story. Sometimes you're not sure if they are true or not. Sometimes there's little bits of pieces in each of those, but he provides some humor, provides some levity.”

    But there is another side to Mickelson’s appeal in the team room. Although he’s never held the title of vice captain he’s served as a de facto member of the management for some time.

    “At the right times, he understands when a team needs a kick in the butt or they need an arm around their shoulder, and he's been good in that atmosphere,” Furyk said. “He's a good speaker and good motivator, and he's been able to take some young players under his wing at times and really get a lot out of them from a partner standpoint.”

    In recent years Mickelson has become something of a mentor for young players, first at the ’08 matches with Anthony Kim and again in ’12 with Keegan Bradley.

    His role as a team leader in the twilight of his career can’t be overstated and will undoubtedly continue this week if Tuesday’s practice groupings are any indication, with Lefty playing with rookie Bryson DeChambeau.

    As DeChambeau was finishing his press conference on Tuesday he was asked about the dynamic in the U.S. team room.

    “We're going to try and do our absolute best to get the cup back,” he said.

    “Keep the cup,” Lefty shouted from the back of the room, noting that the U.S. won the last Ryder Cup.

    It was so Mickelson not to miss a teaching moment or a chance to send a subtle jab delivered with a wry smile.

    Mickelson will also be remembered for his role in what has turned out to be an American Ryder Cup resurgence.

    “Unfortunately, we have strayed from a winning formula in 2008 for the last three Ryder Cups, and we need to consider maybe getting back to that formula that helped us play our best,” Mickelson said in the Scottish gloom at the ’14 matches. “Nobody here was in any decision.”

    If Mickelson doesn’t step to the microphone in ’14 at Gleneagles in the wake of another U.S. loss and, honestly, break some china there probably wouldn’t have been a task force. Davis Love III likely wouldn’t have gotten a second turn as captain in ’16 and the U.S. is probably still mired in a victory drought.

    Lefty’s Ryder Cup career is far from over. The early line is that he’ll take his turn as captain in 2024 at Bethpage Black – the People’s Champion riding in to become the People’s Captain.

    Before he moves on to a new role, however, he’ll savor this week and an opportunity to win his first road game. If he wants to hang back and relish the moment so be it.