Notes Mickelsons Wrist Not 100 Percent

By Associated PressJuly 4, 2007, 4:00 pm
AT&T NationalBETHESDA, Md. -- Phil Mickelson said his injured left wrist was 'not quite a hundred' percent after his round in the pro-am.
Mickelson hasn't played since missing the cut at the U.S. Open, when he wore a brace on his wrist.
'I'm going to be leery all year,' Mickelson said. 'But I think it will be OK.'
Mickelson was asked if can earn some bragging rights against Tiger Woods this week if he wins a tournament with Woods' name on it.
'Well, if he passed out the trophy, it would be pretty cool,' Mickelson said.
It took an ex-president to steal the spotlight from Tiger Woods.
George H.W. Bush and wife Barbara caught up with Woods' group at the 16th fairway during Wednesday's pro-am at the AT&T National. Bush walked the final holes with Woods in front of a huge gallery and even hit a couple of tee shots at the 18th.
That was a warmup for the big event. Woods drove the former commander in chief in a golf cart to the first hole for the opening ceremony. Woods placed a ball on a tee so that Bush could hit the ceremonial first shot of the tournament.
'If anybody laughs when I hit it, they're dead,' Bush said with a chuckle. 'We've got Secret Service here.'
Looking down the fairway, Bush added: 'There's no way I can hit it down there.'
His drive went 100 yards or so and landed in the rough, just a few feet short of a 60-foot-long American flag held by local veterans. Bush tipped his cap and the crowd cheered. He then greeted wounded veterans who were special guests for the ceremony.
'It's just a great way to celebrate the Fourth,' Bush said, referring to his decision to participate. 'It's what they call a gimmie.'
It's clearly a big Washington-area tournament when Fred Funk isn't one of the main attractions.
Funk, the former University of Maryland golf coach, always did his best to promote the PGA TOUR's previous stops in the nation's capital, even as many top names stayed away. The big blow came last year, when the tour pulled out altogether.
'I was really upset,' Funk said. 'The tournament has always been well-supported, a lot of fans have come out, and then we lose it. That just didn't make sense that we were not in the capital.'
Now golf is back, and so is Funk, who is playing some of his best golf at age 51 with no plans to make the full-time jump to the Champions Tour any time soon. His goal is the make the Presidents Cup team.
'I've worked so hard to be on the PGA TOUR that I don't want to leave it until I have to,' he said.
Funk is a year older than Nick Faldo, who recently spoke of being envious of Funk for playing so well at that age.
'Nick saying that, he doesn't want to work at it as hard anymore,' Funk said. 'He's been there, done that. For me, I'm still hungry to do it. That's the biggest difference, I think.'
That guy named Woods who made the birdie putt at the seventh hole? It wasn't Tiger.
Sgt. Michael Woods was serving as Tiger Woods' guest caddie for the hole and was stunned when the world's top golfer asked for advice on the 12-foot putt.
'He asked me to put the bag down and called me over to him, and he asked me: 'What do you see?'' the sergeant said. 'I said: 'Fairway leans to the right; you should hit it to the left.' And he said: 'Here you go.' So I took the putt.'
The ball went in. Tiger Woods raised his arms in celebration and gave the other Woods a hug. Instant celebrity followed.
'I've been playing golf a little bit. I'm trying to get decent at it, and that was probably the best putt I've ever seen in my life,' said the 32-year-old soldier, who works in administration at Fort Belvoir, Va. 'I'm nervous right now. I'm shaking.'
Ben Curtis won last year's PGA Tour stop in Washington, the final Booz Allen Classic at the nearby TPC at Avenel.
That makes him the closest thing to a defending champion at the AT&T National.
'It does sort of feel like you're defending, even though everybody knows it's the inaugural year of the event,' Curtis said. 'It's just good to be back in a familiar area and somewhere where you get some good feelings.'
Curtis won twice on the tour last year, and both tournaments went belly-up. His other win came at the 84 Lumber Classic.
'It just seemed like I won last year, and they decided to take it off the schedule,' he said.
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    Four players vying for DJ's No. 1 ranking at Open

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 8:41 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Four players have an opportunity to overtake Dustin Johnson for world No. 1 this week.

    According to Golf Channel world-rankings guru Alan Robinson, Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm each can grab the top spot in the world ranking.

    Thomas’ path is the easiest. He would return to No. 1 with either a win and Johnson finishing worse than solo third, or even a solo runner-up finish as long as Johnson finishes worse than 49th.

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Twenty years after his auspicious performance in The Open, Rose can get to No. 1 for the first time with a victory and Johnson finishing worse than a two-way tie for third.

    Kopeka can rise to No. 1 if he wins consecutive majors, assuming that his good friend posts worse than a three-way tie for third.

    And Rahm can claim the top spot with a win this week, a Johnson missed cut and a Thomas finish of worse than solo second.   

    Johnson’s 15-month reign as world No. 1 ended after The Players. He wasn’t behind Thomas for long, however: After a tie for eighth at the Memorial, Johnson blew away the field in Memphis and then finished third at the U.S. Open to solidify his position at the top.

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    Punch shot: Predictions for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 18, 2018, 4:00 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – In advance of the 147th Open Championship, writers sound off on burning questions as players ready for a fast and firm test at Carnoustie. Here’s what our writers think about myriad topics:

    The Monday morning headline will be …

    REX HOGGARD: “Survival.” This one is easy. It always is at Carnoustie, which is widely considered The Open’s most demanding major championship test. Monday’s headline will be that the champion - pick a champion, any one will do - “survived” another dramatic Open. You don’t dominate Carnoustie; you endure.

    RYAN LAVNER: “DJ Bashes Way to Victory at Carnoustie.” If somehow a two-win season could be disappointing, it has been for DJ. He’s first in scoring average, birdie average, par-4 scoring, par-5 scoring, strokes gained: tee to green and proximity from the rough. Those last two stats are the most important, especially here at Carnoustie, with these dry conditions. The game’s preeminent long-and-straight driver, there’s a better-than-decent chance he rolls.

    MERCER BAGGS: “Rahm Tough: Spaniard charges to Open victory.” Jon Rahm will claim him maiden major title this week by powering his way through the winds and fescue at Carnoustie.

    JAY COFFIN: “Thomas wins second major, ascends to world No. 1 again.” Shortly after The Open last year, Thomas rolled through the end of the PGA Tour season. This is the time of year he likes best. Despite a poor Open record the last two years, he’s not remotely concerned. He’s a tad miffed he didn’t win in France two weeks ago and comes to Carnoustie refreshed, with a gameplan, and ready to pounce.

    Who or what will be the biggest surprise?

    HOGGARD: Style of play. Given Carnoustie’s reputation as a brute, the surprise will be how the champion arrives at his lofty perch. Unlike previous editions at Carnoustie, this week’s dry conditions will promote more aggressive play off the tee and the winner will defy the norm and power his way to victory.

    LAVNER: Tiger Woods. This is Woods’ best chance to win a major this year, and here’s believing he contends. His greatest strengths are his iron game and scrambling, and both aspects will be tested to the extreme at Carnoustie, helping separate him from some of the pretenders. With even a little cooperation from his putter, he should be in the mix.

    BAGGS: Padraig Harrington. He had a good opening round last week at the Scottish Open and has some good vibes being the 2007 Open champion at Carnoustie. He won’t contend for four rounds, but a few days in the mix would be a nice surprise.

    COFFIN: Alex Noren. Perhaps someone ranked 11th in the world shouldn’t be a surprise, but with so much focus on some of the bigger, household names, don’t be surprised when Noren is in contention on Sunday. He hasn’t finished worse than 25th since early May and won two weeks ago in France. He also tied for sixth place last year at Royal Birkdale.

    Who or what will be the biggest disappointment?

    HOGGARD: Jordan Spieth. Although he was brilliant on his way to victory last year at Royal Birkdale, Spieth is not the same player for this week’s championship, the byproduct of a balky putter that has eroded his confidence. Spieth said giving back the claret jug this week was hard, but his finish will be even tougher.

    LAVNER: Weather. This might sound a little sadistic, but one of the unique joys of covering this tournament is to watch the best in the world battle conditions they face only once a year – the bone-chilling cold, the sideways rain, the howling wind. It doesn’t appear as though that’ll happen this year. With only a few hours of light rain expected, and no crazy winds in the forecast, the biggest challenge for these stars will be judging the bounces on the hard, baked-out turf.

    BAGGS: Jordan Spieth. The defending champion is still trying to find his winning form and Carnoustie doesn’t seem the place to do that. As much as he says he loves playing in strong winds, there should be enough danger around here to frustrate Spieth into a missed cut.

    COFFIN: Rory McIlroy. I hope I’m wrong on this, because the game is better when Rory is in contention at majors. Putting always has been his issue and seemingly always will be. While there isn’t as much of a premium placed on putting this week because of slower greens, he may still have to hit it close. Super close.

    What will be the winning score?

    HOGGARD: 10 under. The last two Opens played at Carnoustie were won with 7-under and 6-over totals, but this week’s conditions will favor more aggressive play and lower scores. Expect to see plenty of birdies, but the great equalizer will come on Sunday when wind gusts are forecast to reach 25 mph.

    LAVNER: 15 under. An Open at Carnoustie has never produced a winner lower than 9 under (Tom Watson in 1975), but never have the conditions been this susceptible to low scores. Sure, the fairway bunkers are still a one-shot penalty, but today’s big hitters can fly them. The thin, wispy rough isn’t much of a deterrent. And the wind isn’t expected to really whip until the final day.

    BAGGS: 12 under. We aren’t going to see the same kind of weather we have previously witnessed at Carnoustie, and that’s a shame. Any players who catch relatively benign conditions should be able to go low, as long as they can properly navigate the fairway rollout.

    COFFIN: 14 under. Walked into a local golf shop in the town of Carnoustie wearing a Golf Channel logo and the man behind the counter said, “It’ll take 14 under to win this week.” Well, he’s been here for years and seen Carnoustie host The Open twice before. He knows more about it than I do, so I’ll stick with his number.

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    Watch: Na plays backwards flop and practices lefty

    By Grill Room TeamJuly 18, 2018, 3:16 pm

    Fresh off his victory at The Greenbrier, Kevin Na is taking a quite-literally-backwards approach to his Open prep.

    Caddie Kenny Harms has been sharing videos of Na's early work at Carnoustie.

    This one shows Na standing in a bunker and playing a flop shot over his own head (as opposed to someone else's):

    While it's unlikely he'll have a need for that exact shot this week, it's far more likely a player may have to think about turning his club over and playing from the wrong side of the ball, like so:

    Na has made 4 of 6 cuts at The Open and will look to improve on his best career finish, currently a T-22 in 2016 at Royal Troon.

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    McIlroy growing 'comfortable' on Open courses

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 18, 2018, 1:45 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – For a player who once complained about the vagaries of links golf, Rory McIlroy enters this Open with a dazzling record in the sport’s oldest championship.

    Though he missed the 2015 event because of an ankle injury, McIlroy has now posted three consecutive top-5 finishes in the year’s third major.

    “It’s surprising a little bit that my best form in major championships has been this tournament,” he said Wednesday, “but at the same time I’ve grown up these courses, and I’m comfortable on them. I think going to courses on The Open rota that I’ve played quite a lot. I think that helps. You have a comfort level with the golf course, and you’ve built up enough experience to know where to hit and where not to hit it.”

    Full-field tee times from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    McIlroy still regrets what happened in 2015, when he “did something slightly silly” and injured his ankle while playing soccer a few weeks before the event. That came a year after he triumphed at Royal Liverpool.

    “Since 2010, I couldn’t wait to play The Open at St. Andrews,” he said. “I thought that was one of my best chances to win a major.”

    He tied for 42nd at Carnoustie in 2007, earning low-amateur honors.