Notes Back From the Depths Lefty Leaves

By Associated PressJuly 6, 2007, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- Considering the dark personal depths Robert Garrigus endured a few years ago, the thought of having a chance to win the AT&T National is something he can easily put in perspective.
In his latest step forward following rehabilitation from alcohol and drug abuse, Garrigus shot a 3-under 67 on Friday to finish the second round tied for third at 4 under. He is in an unfamiliar position near the top of the leaderboard, being chased by the likes of Tiger Woods.
'If I thought about winning,' Garrigus said, 'I'd shoot 80 tomorrow.'
Garrigus has come a long way since experiencing an epiphany one night four years ago. As he sat on his couch in Scottsdale, Ariz., after a night of heavy partying, he realized that he was wasting his life and his talent on alcohol and marijuana.
He saw an infomercial for Calvary Ranch, a Christian rehabilitation center in San Diego, and drove there the following day. The 45 days he spent at the center changed his life.
'Anything that happens on the golf course doesn't mean anything compared to what I went through in rehab,' Garrigus said. 'Changing your life over is the hardest possible thing you can do.'
Garrigus, 29, said he used to play golf while high, but in rehab he added 30 pounds of muscle and 'came out healthy and ready to go.' The cloudy feeling that used to frustrate him is long gone.
This week, Garrigus is paying tribute to the members of his family that have served in the Armed Forces. His brother was on the front line with the Army in the Gulf War, his father served in the Air Force and both of his grandfathers fought in both World Wars. Garrigus is wearing a hat this week with a camouflage design.
'This is so gratifying to have something to play for,' Garrigus said.
Phil Mickelson missed his second straight cut after double bogeys at Nos. 16 and 18 caused him to finish the second round with a 3-over 73. He finished 36 holes at 7 over, three strokes above the cut line.
It was Mickelson's third straight start in which he failed to make it to the weekend, a dubious streak he hasn't experienced since 1995.
Mickelson did nothing this week to allay concerns about his injured left wrist. The injury plagued him three weeks ago when he missed the cut at the U.S. Open, and it kept him out of the Travelers Championships the following week. The injury also forced him to withdraw from the Memorial early last month.
He plans to play in next week's Scottish Open to tune up for the British Open, which begins July 19.
'Guys have won majors after missing the cut,' he said. 'You can find it overnight, but I knew that coming in here I was a little rusty.'
After his round, Mickelson got a hug from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who witnessed Mickelson's two double bogeys firsthand.
Add Tiger Woods to the list of golfers hoping for a better setup when the British Open revisits Carnoustie in two weeks.
Woods said the setup was 'unfair' the last time the British Open was played there in 1999.
'It was really hard,' Woods said. 'I've never played a golf course as hard as that golf course was set up, and as unfair as it was set up.'
Woods finished 10-over par in a tie for seventh that year. Asked what he expects at Carnoustie this time, Woods said: 'I think they probably learned a lesson from that setup.'
Woods won his third Open championship last year at Royal Liverpool.
Billy Andrade displayed deadpan humor at its best after his second straight round of 68, which put him in a tie for third.
Asked about Woods regaining his putting stroke on Friday, Andrade said: 'Most normal golfers, you might go through a funk six months and you can't find your putting stroke -- never mind six hours. So I'm glad that he 'found' whatever he lost there for a day.'
With a good finish this weekend, Andrade could qualify for the British Open at Carnoustie in two weeks. When asked about his experiences at the same course in 1999, he said he played the tournament with a painful root canal.
'Second day, I couldn't put my socks on before I teed off at 1:45,' he said. 'At 1 o'clock, I was in a doctor's office in downtown Carnoustie. I was begging the guy to shoot me up with Novocain so I could go play. I parred the first four, and on No. 5 tee, the Novocain wore off, and I was done. I shot the highest score of my life, I think.'
Andrade ended up shooting 84, and after the round was quickly driven to St. Andrews, where he had two hours of dental surgery so he could fly home.
'I'd love to go back,' Andrade said, 'without a bad tooth.'
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