Notes Harmon Working with Mickelson

By Associated PressFebruary 21, 2007, 5:00 pm
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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    Schauffele just fine being the underdog

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 8:06 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Following a breakthough season during which he won twice and collected the PGA Tour Rookie of the Year Award, Xander Schauffele concedes his sophomore campaign has been less than stellar, but that could all change on Sunday at The Open.

    Schauffele followed a second-round 66 with a 67 on Saturday to take a share of the 9-under-par lead with Jordan Spieth and Kevin Kisner.

    Although he hasn’t won in 2018, he did finish runner-up at The Players and tied for sixth at the U.S. Open, two of the year’s toughest tests.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “Growing up, I always hit it well and played well in tough conditions,” Schauffele said. “I wasn't the guy to shoot 61. I was the guy to shoot like 70 when it was playing really hard.”

    Sunday’s pairing could make things even more challenging when he’ll head out in the day’s final tee time with Spieth, the defending champion. But being the underdog in a pairing, like he was on Saturday alongside Rory McIlroy, is not a problem.

    “All the guys I've talked to said, 'Live it up while you can, fly under the radar,'” he said. “Today I played in front of what you call Rory's crowd and guys were just yelling all the time, even while he's trying to putt, and he had to step off a few times. No one was yelling at me while I was putting. So I kind of enjoy just hanging back and relaxing.”

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    Open odds: Spieth 7/1 to win; Tiger, Rory 14/1

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 21, 2018, 7:54 pm

    Only 18 holes remain in the 147th Open Championship at Carnoustie, and the man tied atop the leaderboard is the same man who captured the claret jug last year at Royal Birkdale.

    So it’s little surprise that Jordan Spieth is the odds-on favorite (7/4) to win his fourth major entering Sunday’s final round.

    Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner, both tied with Spieth at 9 under par, are next in line at 5/1 and 11/2 respectively. Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy, both four shots behind the leaders, are listed at 14/1.

    Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Jordan Spieth: 7/4

    Xander Schauffele: 5/1

    Kevin Kisner: 11/2

    Tiger Woods: 14/1

    Francesco Molinari: 14/1

    Rory McIlroy: 14/1

    Kevin Chappell: 20/1

    Tommy Fleetwood: 20/1

    Alex Noren: 25/1

    Zach Johnson: 30/1

    Justin Rose: 30/1

    Matt Kuchar: 40/1

    Webb Simpson: 50/1

    Adam Scott: 80/1

    Tony Finau: 80/1

    Charley Hoffman: 100/1

    Austin Cook: 100/1

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    Spieth stands on brink of Open repeat

    By Rex HoggardJuly 21, 2018, 7:49 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Jordan Spieth described Monday’s “ceremony” to return the claret jug to the keepers of the game’s oldest championship as anything but enjoyable.

    For the last 12 months the silver chalice has been a ready reminder of what he was able to overcome and accomplish in 2017 at Royal Birkdale, a beacon of hope during a year that’s been infinitely forgettable.

    By comparison, the relative pillow fight this week at Carnoustie has been a welcome distraction, a happy-go-lucky stroll through a wispy field. Unlike last year’s edition, when Spieth traveled from the depths of defeat to the heights of victory within a 30-minute window, the defending champion has made this Open seem stress-free, easy even, by comparison.

    But then those who remain at Carnoustie know it’s little more than a temporary sleight of hand.

    As carefree as things appeared on Saturday when 13 players, including Spieth, posted rounds of 67 or lower, as tame as Carnoustie, which stands alone as The Open’s undisputed bully, has been through 54 holes there was a foreboding tension among the rank and file as they readied for a final trip around Royal Brown & Bouncy.

    “This kind of southeast or east/southeast wind we had is probably the easiest wind this golf course can have, but when it goes off the left side, which I think is forecasted, that's when you start getting more into the wind versus that kind of cross downwind,” said Spieth, who is tied for the lead with Xander Schauffele and Kevin Kisner at 9 under par after a 6-under 65. “It won't be the case tomorrow. It's going to be a meaty start, not to mention, obviously, the last few holes to finish.”

    Carnoustie only gives so much and with winds predicted to gust to 25 mph there was a distinct feeling that playtime was over.

    As melancholy as Spieth was about giving back the claret jug, and make no mistake, he wasn’t happy, not even his status among the leading contenders with a lap remaining was enough for him to ignore the sleeping giant.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    But then he’s come by his anxiousness honestly. Spieth has spent far too much time answering questions about an inexplicably balky putter the last few weeks and he hasn’t finished better than 21st since his “show” finish in April at the Masters.

    After a refreshingly solid start to his week on Thursday imploded with a double bogey-bogey-par-bogey finish he appeared closer to an early ride home on Friday than he did another victory lap, but he slowly clawed his way back into the conversation as only he can with one clutch putt after the next.

    “I'm playing golf for me now. I've kind of got a cleared mind. I've made a lot of progress over the year that's been kind of an off year, a building year,” said Spieth, who is bogey-free over his last 36 holes. “And I've got an opportunity to make it a very memorable one with a round, but it's not necessary for me to prove anything for any reason.”

    But if an awakened Carnoustie has Spieth’s attention, the collection of would-be champions assembled around and behind him adds another layer of intrigue.

    Kisner, Spieth’s housemate this week on Angus coast, has led or shared the lead after each round this week and hasn’t shown any signs of fading like he did at last year’s PGA Championship, when he started the final round with a one-stroke lead only to close with a 74 to tie for seventh place.

    “I haven't played it in that much wind. So I think it's going to be a true test, and we'll get to see really who's hitting it the best and playing the best tomorrow,” said Kisner, who added a 68 to his total on Day 3.

    There’s no shortage of potential party crashers, from Justin Rose at 4 under after a round-of-the-week 64 to 2015 champion Zach Johnson, who also made himself at home with Spieth and Kisner in the annual Open frat house and is at 5 under.

    Rory McIlroy, who is four years removed from winning his last major championship, looked like a player poised to get off the Grand Slam schneid for much of the day, moving to 7 under with a birdie at the 15th hole, but he played the last three holes in 2 over par and is tied with Johnson at 5 under par. 

    And then there’s Tiger Woods. For three magical hours the three-time Open champion played like he’d never drifted into the dark competitive hole that’s defined his last few years. Like he’d never been sidelined by an endless collection of injuries and eventually sought relief under the surgeon’s knife.

    As quietly as Woods can do anything, he turned in 3 under par for the day and added two more birdies at Nos. 10 and 11. His birdie putt at the 14th hole lifted him temporarily into a share of the lead at 6 under par.

    “We knew there were going to be 10, 12 guys with a chance to win on Sunday, and it's turning out to be that,” said Woods, who is four strokes off the lead. “I didn't want to be too far back if the guys got to 10 [under] today. Five [shots back] is certainly doable, and especially if we get the forecast tomorrow.”

    Woods held his round of 66 together with a gritty par save at the 18th hole after hitting what he said was his only clunker of the day off the final tee.

    Even that episode seemed like foreshadowing.

    The 18th hole has rough, bunkers, out of bounds and a burn named Barry that weaves its way through the hole like a drunken soccer fan. It’s the Grand Slam of hazardous living and appears certain to play a leading role in Sunday’s outcome.

    Perhaps none of the leading men will go full Jean Van de Velde, the star-crossed Frenchman who could still be standing in that burn if not for a rising tide back at the 1999 championship, but if the 499 yards of dusty turf is an uninvited guest, it’s a guest nonetheless.

    It may not create the same joyless feelings that he had when he returned the claret jug, but given the hole’s history and Spieth’s penchant for late-inning histrionics (see Open Championship, 2017), the 18th hole is certain to produce more than a few uncomfortable moments.

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    Wandering photographer costs McIlroy on 16

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 21, 2018, 7:44 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Rory McIlroy bogeyed two of his last four holes Saturday to fall four shots off the lead at The Open.

    One of those mistakes might not have entirely been his fault.

    McIlroy missed a short putt on the par-3 16th after a photographer was “in a world all his own,” wandering around near the green, taking photos of the crowd and not paying attention to the action on the green.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    “It’s fine,” McIlroy said after a third-round 70 put him at 5-under 208, four shots off the lead. “It’s one of those things that happens. There’s a lot of people out there, and it is what it is. It’s probably my fault, but I just didn’t regroup well after it happened.”

    McIlroy also bogeyed the home hole, after driving into a fairway bunker, sending his second shot right of the green and failing to get up and down.

    “I putted well,” he said. “I holed out when I needed to. I just need to make the birdies and try to limit the damage tomorrow.”