Notes Mickelson mojo motoring along

By Associated PressMay 1, 2010, 4:14 am

Quail Hollow ChampionshipCHARLOTTE, N.C. – Masters champion Phil Mickelson is nearly over his stomach ailment – perhaps just in time to win his second straight tournament.

Long before Tiger Woods’ Friday afternoon meltdown left him with only his sixth missed cut in his professional career, Mickelson put together a bogey-free 4-under 68 that left him two shots behind leader Billy Mayfair at the halfway point of the Quail Hollow Championship.

Not bad for somebody who was so ill vomiting two days earlier that he had had to withdraw from the pro-am in his first event since Augusta.

“One more day of rest after we get done here, and I should be 100 percent for the weekend,” Mickelson said.

After acknowledging he tired Thursday when he finished with consecutive bogeys, Lefty got off to a quick start early Friday on the difficult back nine.

He hit a 5-iron to 8 feet for an eagle at the par-5 15th, then birdied the water-protected 17th.

“It’s a bonus because I’m not trying to make 2 on 17. It’s one of those holes like 17 at TPC Sawgrass,” Mickelson said. “You just want a 3 and move on. Today the tee was up, not too much wind, the green was soft, and I ended up hitting a good shot that slightly pushed by the hole. I ended up having a 3-footer for birdie.”

Mickelson finished his round with 10 consecutive pars, but it leaves him in good shape in an event where he hasn’t won, but has four top-10 finishes.

“This is a wonderful, fun golf course to play,” Mickelson said. “The way the course is set up right now is perfect, so I hope that it doesn’t vary too much.”

MONDAY MAYFAIR: Billy Mayfair last won in 1998 and finished a career-worst 157th on the money list last year. He had to scramble just to make it in time for the Monday qualifier for Quail Hollow.

And after two rounds he’s alone in the lead.

Mayfair followed his 65 on Monday that put him in the field with consecutive 68s that left him at 8-under and one shot ahead of Angel Cabrera.

“A lot of guys will say when they had to Monday qualify a long time ago before this was an all-exempt tour, some of the best weeks they had was when they did Monday qualify,” Mayfair said. “They were hot coming in and they just kind of kept rolling the wave. That’s what I’m going to try to do.”

The 43-year-old Mayfair’s eventful stretch began when he missed his flight to Charlotte on Sunday night after finishing 43rd in New Orleans. His wife, Tami, booked them on a 6 a.m. flight Monday that required a 3 a.m. wakeup call.

After connecting through Atlanta, Mayfair arrived in Charlotte at about noon and had a 12:45 tee time.

Mayfair is convinced the momentum from his solid round under the circumstances carried over to the tournament.

“Any time you can go out and shoot 65, which I think is my lowest round this year, it gives you confidence,” he said. “You can hit the ball as good as you want and putt as good as you want, but if you’re not shooting the numbers, the confidence isn’t there.

“I’m starting to shoot the numbers.”

Mayfair had seven birdies and needed only 26 putts for the second straight day.

TIGER NUMBERS: Tiger Woods missing the cut – by eight shots – produced plenty of rarities.

It marked just the sixth missed cut in 241 starts as a professional, and his first since the 2009 British Open. His last missed cut in a non-major was in 2005 at Walt Disney World.

His 79 was his worst round as a professional in a non-major and his two-day total of 153 was his worst as a pro.

Woods also had consecutive double-bogeys on holes 14-15. His only worse stretch as a pro was a double-bogey and triple-bogey on consecutive holes at Bay Hill in 2007.

Woods’ 43 on the back nine matched the worst of his career.

“That’s surprising,” said Anthony Kim, who was tied for 15th, five shots back. “He’s the best player in the world, still. He’s had such a long time off. I’m sure he’s disappointed, but he’ll be back.”

SURPRISING MULROY: Even die-hard PGA Tour fans probably did a double-take seeing Garth Mulroy atop the leaderboard at midday Friday.

The rookie from South Africa hadn’t made the cut in seven previous starts and was playing this week on a sponsor’s exemption. Yet after an opening-round 69, there he was at 7 under after an eagle at the 10th.

Mulroy then had six straight pars before putting two balls into the water at the par-3 17th. A triple bogey left him with a 71, but he’s tied for ninth at 4-under.

Mulroy finished 14th on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2009, which included a victory at the South Georgia Classic. He’s also spent time on the E-Golf Tour, formerly the Tarheel Tour.

DIVOTS: Former champions Sean O’Hair (72-77) and Vijay Singh (77-72) missed the cut. … The second-round leader has won six of 17 stroke-play events this year on the PGA Tour. The last second-round leader to win at Quail Hollow was Woods in 2007. … J.P. Hayes matched the course record with an 8-under 64 that left him two shots off the lead. … Parker McLachlin, who had a 12 on the seventh hole on his way to an opening 88, withdrew Friday because of a wrist injury.

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LPGA's new Q-Series to offer deferrals for amateurs

By Randall MellMarch 21, 2018, 4:36 pm

The LPGA’s new Q-Series, which takes the place of the final stage of Q-School beginning this year, will come with a revolutionary new twist for amateurs.

For the first time, the LPGA will offer deferrals that will allow amateurs to win tour membership in December but delay turning pro until the following June or July, tour commissioner Mike Whan told

It’s a notable change, because the deferral will allow a collegiate player to earn tour membership at the end of this year but retain amateur status to finish out her collegiate spring season next year, before joining the tour.

“We haven’t done that in the past, because we didn’t want an onslaught, where every player in college is trying to join the tour,” Whan said.

The way it worked in the past, a collegian could advance through the final stage of Q-School, but if that player earned the right to a tour card and wanted to take up membership, she had to declare after the final round that she was turning pro. It meant the player would leave her college team in the middle of the school year. It was a particularly difficult decision for players who earned conditional LPGA status, and it played havoc with the makeup of some college teams.

Whan said the revamped Q-Series format won’t create the collegiate stampede that deferrals might have in the past.

“It will take a unique talent to show up at the first stage of Q-School and say, ‘I’ll see you at Q-Series,’” Whan said. “There won’t be a lot of amateurs who make it there.”

Under the new qualifying format, there will continue to be a first and second stage of Q-School, but it will be much harder to advance to the final stage, now known Q-Series.

Under the old format, about 80 players advanced from the second stage to the Q-School finals. Under the new format, only 20 to 30 players from the second stage will advance to the Q-Series, and only a portion of those are likely to be collegians.

Under the new format, a maximum of 108 players will meet at the Q-Series finals, where a minimum of 45 tour cards will be awarded after 144 holes of competition, played over two weeks on two different courses. The field will include players who finished 101st to 150th and ties on the final LPGA money list, and players who finished 11th to 30th and ties on the final Symetra Tour money list. The field will also include up to 10 players from among the top 75 of the Rolex Women’s World Rankings and the top five players on the Golfweek Women’s Collegiate Rankings.

“We feel if you make it to the Q-Series finals as a college player, you are probably among the best of the best, and we ought to give you the opportunity to finish the college year,” Whan said.

University of Washington coach Mary Lou Mulflur said she would prefer amateurs not be allowed to compete at Q-School, but she called this a workable compromise.

“It’s a step in the right direction,” Mulflur said. “It’s better than the way it’s been in the past. That was hard, because it broke up teams.”

Mulflur said she disliked the tough position the former policy put college players in at the final stage of Q-School, where they had to decide at event’s end whether to turn pro and accept tour membership.

“I can’t imagine being a kid in that position, and I’ve had a couple kids in that position,” Mulflur said. “It’s hard on everybody, the player, the family and the coaches. You hear about coaches standing there begging a kid not to turn pro, and that’s just not the way it should be, for the coach or the player.”

Mulflur agreed with Whan that the new Q-Series format should limit the number of collegians who have a chance to win tour cards.

“I believe it’s a good compromise, and it will be interesting to see how it plays out going forward,” Mulflur said. “Kudos to the commissioner for giving kids this option.”

Whan said collegians who take deferrals will be counseled.

“We will sit down with them and their families and explain the risks,” Whan said. “If you take a deferral and start playing on July 15, you might find yourself back in Q-Series again later that year, because you may not have enough time.”

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Tour still focused on security after death of suspected Austin bomber

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 4:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Although the suspect in the wave of Austin-area bombings was killed early Wednesday, the PGA Tour plans to continue heightened security measures at this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play at Austin Country Club.

According to various news outlets, Mark Anthony Conditt has been identified as the bombings suspect, and he was killed by an explosion inside his car in Round Rock, Texas, which is 19 miles north of Austin Country Club.

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“We do not comment on the specifics of our security measures, but we are continuing to work in close collaboration with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies in Austin to ensure the safety of our players and fans at this week’s tournament,” the Tour said in a statement. “Regardless of the recent developments, our heightened security procedures will remain in place through the remainder of the week.”

Authorities believe Conditt is responsible for the five explosions that killed two people and injured five others in Austin or south-central Texas since March 2.

Play began Wednesday at the Match Play.

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Monahan addresses alcohol, fan behavior at events

By Rex HoggardMarch 21, 2018, 3:53 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Fan behavior has become a hot-button topic on the PGA Tour in recent weeks, with Rory McIlroy suggesting on Saturday at the Arnold Palmer Invitational the circuit should “limit alcohol sales on the course.”

The Tour’s policy is to stop selling alcohol an hour before the end of play, which is normally around 5 p.m., and on Wednesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play commissioner Jay Monahan said it’s something the Tour is monitoring.

“When you have people who aren’t behaving properly and they’ve had too much alcohol, then I agree [with McIlroy],” Monahan said. “In those incidences those people who are making it uncomfortable for a player alcohol sales should be cut off.”

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Fan behavior became an issue with some players when Tiger Woods returned to competition at last month’s Genesis Open. During the final round of the Honda Classic Justin Thomas had a fan removed when he yelled for Thomas’ tee shot at the par-4 16th hole to “get in the bunker.”

Monahan declined to address Thomas’ situation at PGA National specifically, but he did seem to suggest that as interest grows and the Tour continues to attract more mainstream sports crowds, vocal fans will continue to be the norm.

“I believe that there was more that went into it that preceded and in a situation like that we’re hopeful our players will reach out to our security staff and they can handle that,” Monahan said. “[But] yelling, ‘get in the bunker,’ that’s part of what our players have to accept. In any sport, you go to an away game, in any other sport, and people aren’t rooting for you. Sometimes out here you’re going to have fans that aren’t rooting for you, but they can’t interfere with what you’re trying to do competitively.”

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Senden playing first event since son's brain tumor

By Will GrayMarch 21, 2018, 3:03 pm

John Senden is back inside the ropes for the first time in nearly a year at this week's Chitimacha Louisiana Open on the Tour.

Senden took a leave of absence from professional golf in April, when his teenage son, Jacob, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He didn't touch a club for nearly four months as Jacob endured six rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, a gauntlet that stretched from April until mid-November.

But Senden told that his son's tumor has shrunk from the size of a thumbnail to the size of a pinky nail, and after a promising MRI in January he decided to plan his comeback.

"I haven't really played in 12 months, but in that time Jacob has really, really hung tough," Senden said. "His whole body was getting slammed with all these treatments, and he was so strong in his whole attitude and his whole body. Just really getting through the whole thing. He was tough."

Senden was granted a family crisis exemption by the Tour, and he'll have 13 starts to earn 310 FedExCup points to retain his playing privileges for the 2018-19 season. He is allowed five "rehabilitation" starts as part of the exemption, but will reportedly only make one this week before returning to the PGA Tour at the RBC Heritage, followed by starts in San Antonio, Charlotte and Dallas.

Senden, 46, has won twice on Tour, most recently the 2014 Valspar Championship.