Mickelson Prepared Ready to Move On

By Associated PressJuly 18, 2006, 4:00 pm
135th Open Championship The leather-bound registry is called the 'Strangers Book,' an inch thick with weathered pages dating to 1980. The latest edition is in the clubhouse at Royal Liverpool for guests to sign when they play the storied links course.
 
Imagine what Ernie Els must have thought when he showed up to play 10 days after the U.S. Open.
 
On the line above the first empty space, dated June 26, was the signature of Phil Mickelson from San Diego.
 
'They asked me to come sign the club book, and I saw Phil's name there,' Els said Tuesday. 'And I was like, 'What's he ... is he playing today?' And they said, 'No, he was here two days ago.' And that kind of surprised me a little bit. He's played the course many times. That's the way he wants to prepare. He wants to see the course a million times.
 
Phil Mickelson and ave Pelz
Phil Mickelson and short game guru Dave Pelz have spent many hours discussing Royal Liverpool.
'That's his way right now.'
 
Mickelson was so eager to leave behind his debacle at Winged Foot - a double bogey on the 72nd hole that cost him the U.S. Open and a third straight major championship- that he showed up at Hoylake that next week to start preparing for the British Open.
 
He spent two days at Royal Liverpool, then returned last Thursday to play what amounts to a full tournament. He played four rounds, each of them taking a little more than eight hours as he studied every option off the tee, from the fairway, around the green. Mickelson played Sunday morning, then returned Sunday afternoon and played into the late twilight.
 
Asked how much they played, caddie Jim Mackay replied, 'You want rounds or hours?'
 
It is hard to argue with the results.
 
In the last 10 majors, Mickelson has won three times, was runner-up twice and has finished out of the top 10 only two times. It was in 2004, the start of his stellar streak, that he began studying courses as if he were cramming for a final exam, looking at every angle to see where he could take risks and when he should play it safe.
 
'I feel very confident in the way I've prepared for tournaments and the way I've been playing,' he said. 'I don't want to let one bad hole interfere with that, which is why I immediately altered my schedule to come over here. I know that my record hasn't been what I wanted it to be at the British Open, and I wanted to have those extra days to really work hard and see if I could bring my best golf out this week.'
 
That could be time well spent this year.
 
Royal Liverpool has not been part of the British Open rotation since 1967, before all but one player in the top 10 was born. It is a mystery that is slowly being unraveled this week, and even the conditions are somewhat foreign.
 
Britain is going through a heat wave, with the temperature pushing 90 degrees on Tuesday. The ground already is crusty and brown, and the ball is rolling forever.
 
'This is the driest links course we've ever come to on a Monday, Tuesday,' Colin Montgomerie said. 'Length, I don't think is an issue. Although it's 7,200-some yards on the card, it must be playing about 5,500 yards in real terms. It's just the control of the ball that has to be found.'
 
Tiger Woods showed up earlier than usual, arriving on the weekend, and he brought along an old friend, his 2-iron.
 
Woods recently replaced that with a 5-wood to get the ball up more quickly, but that's the last thing he needs at Hoylake. He hit 2-iron off just about every par 4 during his practice round Tuesday morning, a stinger that rolls endlessly along the brittle fairway.
 
'I like the feeling of trying to take advantage of the fast fairways and roll the ball out there,' Woods said. 'The 2-iron enables me to do that.'
 
Woods chose to navigate his way around the bunkers. Other players have thought about hammering tee shots over the bunkers, especially with the grass so dry that there isn't much rough for the ball to nestle.
 
Mickelson, naturally, has tried a little bit of everything.
 
He has found there are at least two ways, sometimes three, to play every hole. He says he has experienced wind from eight directions during his time at Hoylake, so he's not sure which one to expect. Even so, Hoylake is starting to feel like a home course.
'Part of learning the golf course is knowing where the balls will roll and funnel, and I've learned enough to know where the ball will end up, and be able to control it from there,' he said.
 
Mickelson didn't bother to see who else signed the 'Strangers Book' when he first arrived at Royal Liverpool, although flipping one page back would have revealed a certain Jack Nicklaus on May 16, playing the course as part of a corporate day for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
 
The book goes back only 26 years, too new to show names like Bobby Jones and Walter Hagen among past champions.
 
Still, Mickelson was soaking up history, walking up the stairs in the clubhouse to see a large portrait of Jones. This is where Jones won the second leg of his Grand Slam in 1930, when he won the British Amateur and British Open, then the U.S. Open and U.S. Amateur.
 
'Having been part of Bobby Jones' Grand Slam is terrific and exciting, and having it be part of Peter Thomson's stretch of three British Opens in the '50s, I thought that was cool,' he said.
 
It might have caused him to wince, however.
 
Except for that double bogey at the U.S. Open, Mickelson might be going for his own version of the Grand Slam, a shot at his fourth straight.
 
But he's not about to look back.
 
Someone asked Mickelson if he felt he had anything to prove this week, and it was as close as Lefty comes to bristling.
 
'Why would you say that?' he said, his voice level.
 
The reporter mentioned how badly the U.S. Open ended, that perhaps Mickelson wanted to show that was an exception.
 
'There was a long time where I wasn't really proud of my performance in the majors,' Mickelson replied. 'But the last couple of years, I'm pretty proud of that. So again, one bad hole isn't going to change the way I look at that.'
 
Related Links:
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  • Full Coverage - 135th Open Championship
     
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    M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

    LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

    Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

    Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

    Marina Alex was second after a 68.


    Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open


    So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

    Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

    Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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    Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

    By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

    Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

    When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

    It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

    Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

    Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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    Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

    By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

    SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

    He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

    ''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

    Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

    They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

    Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.


    Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

    Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos


    Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

    Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

    It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

    Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

    The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

    Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

    ''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

    The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

    ''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

    The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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    Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

    By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

    RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

    Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

    ''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

    On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

    ''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

    Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

    ''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''


    Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf


    Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

    ''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

    Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

    First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.