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Notes Harmon Working with Mickelson

2007- WGC-AccentureMARANA, Ariz. -- Butch Harmon spent the morning watching Phil Mickelson hit balls on the practice range at The Gallery, although it was more a convenience than a change in coaches.
Harmon said Mickelson wasn't entirely pleased with how he was hitting the ball, even though he won at Pebble Beach by five shots and lost in a playoff to Charles Howell III at Riviera.
``Rick Smith isn't here this week, and Phil called me last night and asked if I could take a look,'' Harmon said.
Paul Casey comes to the Accenture Match Play Championship with renewed confidence in this format.
Five months ago, Casey steamrolled through an impressive lineup of champions on his way to the HSBC World Match Play Championship, beating Retief Goosen, Mike Weir, Colin Montgomerie and Shaun Micheel at Wentworth.
He also beat Jim Furyk in singles at the Ryder Cup, meaning he beat three major champions from the 2003 season.
``My match play record last year was pretty good,'' Casey said. ``In fact, the last couple of years it has not been bad. This is 18-hole match play, so you have to be quick out of the blocks. It does help to have confidence.''
Casey lost in the first round last year to Henrik Stenson at La Costa, and he is among several players who were thrilled to leave the spongy, soggy greens of northern San Diego for desert conditions north of Tucson. Casey went to Arizona State and still lives in Scottsdale.
His performance at Wentworth was worth noting.
He never trailed over the final 71 holes he played, posted the largest margin of a championship (10 and 8) and played only 126 holes over the four 36-hole matches.
He opens with Weir, who was leading Casey in the second round when the Canadian's back flared up and Casey pulled away.
``I beat him at the World Match Play, but he did have a slight injury, and I think this is going to be a tight match,'' Casey said.
The Accenture Match Play Championship makes it debut this week on the South Course at The Gallery on Dove Mountain, but it won't he here long. Jack Nicklaus was in town Tuesday to talk about a 36-hole project he is designing - a members' course, and one to be used for the Match Play starting in 2009.
Nicklaus said he would design it for match play, although he's not sure what that means.
``You might have a couple of more difficult pins in some awkward areas that you might not want to have for a medal play tournament,'' he said. ``I really haven't made up my mind how tough I want to make the golf course.''
He said it would be about 7,800 yards from the championship tees, accounting for the 4,000 feet altitude at Dove Mountain that would make the course play closer to 7,500 yards.
``Which for these guys is fine,'' he said.
Detroit Tigers manager Jim Leyland shared a story about allowing someone to manage a game with him this spring for a $10,000 donation to a cancer charity.
That raised the question - what would Leyland pay to do?
``I'd pay $1,000 to golf with Tiger Woods,'' he said. ``In fact, I might pay $5,000 for a round of golf for charity.''
When the AL Manager of the Year was told that people make $50,000 donations to charity to play with Woods, he decided that would be too much for him.
``I love you Tiger, but I'm sorry,'' he said.
Leyland said he gets 18 strokes when he plays with his coaches such as Gene Lamont and Lloyd McClendon
``Would I be nervous? No. I'd be bad,'' he joked. ``When he sees me play, he might be real nervous. I played with Arnold Palmer once and it was one of the biggest thrills of my life. After playing good on the front, shooting a 41, I hit a bad shot on the back and he gave me the best advice I ever had, 'Jim, you're not good enough to get mad. Enjoy the round.'
``It was great advice. I get more nervous playing with Lamont and McClendon for a whopping 5 bucks.''
Someone told Rory Sabbatini about Nextel Cup drivers getting docked 100 points for cheating, and asked whether he would like to see FedExCup points taken away for slow play.
Which is a lot like asking Jack Nicklaus if the ball goes too far.
``Take them all away,'' Sabbatini said. ``I'd be leading by the end of the year.''
Well, it might be a close race. Sabbatini said everyone knows who the slow players on tour are, which prompted another question whether anyone played quicker than the South African.
His undisputed champion was Mark Calcavecchia, followed by John Daly, and a mention for Chris Riley. There was one more who impressed Sabbatini, although he needed prodding to remember who it was - Lucas Glover.
``If you spend too much time on the tee, you might get involved in his back swing,'' Sabbatini said.
Stephen Ames had to carry the label of ``9 and 8'' for a month after Tiger Woods beat him by that margin in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship last year.
That changed after he won The Players Championship, but he still got some ribbing - even from his father.
``It was in the club with all of the other friends at home in Trinidad,'' Ames said earlier this year. ``It was pretty good, actually. I was killing myself laughing. I can't remember what it was. I've got to call him now and find out what it was.''
The next day, Ames was walking down the seventh fairway at Kapalua when he said, ``I remember what my father said.''
``No way I'm telling you,'' he said. ``I was having dinner last night and I suddenly remembered, and I couldn't stop laughing.''
One could easily make a case for the 144-man field being reduced to 132 at the Nissan Open. Despite a full day of sunshine, the entire field did not complete the first or second rounds. ... Nairn has been chosen to host the Curtis Cup in 2012. ... Brett Quigley was scheduled to play Tiger Woods in the first round of the Accenture Match Play Championship until a withdrawal made him the No. 63 seed. ``Now I don't have to play him until Sunday,'' Quigley said with a grin.
Tiger Woods has lost in every round of the Match Play Championship except the semifinals.
'The memories at Augusta will only die when I die.'' - Arnold Palmer.
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