Phil Makes US Open Prediction

By Associated PressJune 7, 2006, 4:00 pm
HARRISON, N.Y. - Winged Foot's thick rough was still on Phil Mickelson's mind a day after his latest practice round on the difficult U.S. Open venue.
 
'I'm going to make a prediction that somebody hits the wrong ball in the rough,' Mickelson said Wednesday after his pro-am round in the Barclays Classic.
 
'The reason is there have been a lot of members that have been playing and when they hit balls in the rough you can't find it. ... There are, I think, not just hundreds, but thousands of golf balls in the rough that you just can't see.'
 
While the Barclays Classic's Westchester Country Club is an ideal tuneup for the U.S. Open next week, the PGA Tour's setup on the hilly, tree-lined course is far less demanding off the tee than the long and narrow Winged Foot layout.
 
'Even though the rough is up, it's nothing like what I saw at Winged Foot,' Mickelson said. 'I haven't seen rough that thick and dense, I don't think ever.'
 
While Tiger Woods and some other top players rest the week before a major championship, Mickelson prefers to prepare with tournament play.
 
'I think competing for a championship, feeling the importance of each shot and trying to play at a high level ... is a great way to prepare for trying to do the same thing the next week,' Mickelson said.
 
Mickelson worked the pre-major strategy to perfection in April, following a 13-stroke victory in the BellSouth Classic with his second Masters win in three years. He also won the final major last year, the PGA Championship at Baltusrol.
 
'Winning in Atlanta gave me a lot of confidence heading into Augusta,' Mickelson said. 'It was nice to have been able to win by a large number where I wasn't feeling the stress and the pressure on the weekend.'
 
Coming off a fourth-place tie Sunday in the Memorial, Mickelson played in the rain Wednesday morning in the pro-am. Rain also is expected Thursday, Friday and possibly Saturday on the already-soggy course.
 
'The negative is that we're not able to get out and practice and work on it, but the positive is that you get some rest,' Mickelson said.
 
Mickelson is making his fifth career start at Westchester. He tied for 16th last year, five strokes behind winner Padraig Harrington.
 
'The golf course here at Westchester is just a terrific course,' Mickelson said. 'It's a U.S. Open venue that we get to play every year.'
 
Mickelson used two drivers ' one with a right-to-left bias and the other with a left-to-right ball flight ' in the BellSouth Classic and Masters and said he might put two in his bag again this week and next, depending on the weather.
 
'If it's raining, wet and playing long, then I'll use two,' Mickelson said. 'If it's warm, hot and starts getting fast and drier, I'll probably just use one.'
 
Two-time Westchester winners Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia also are in the strong field along with Harrington, Retief Goosen, Stuart Appleby, Fred Couples, David Toms and European tour money leader David Howell.
 
Last year, Harrington holed a 65-foot eagle putt on the final hole to beat Jim Furyk by a stroke. Harrington, a playoff loser to Garcia in 2004 in his first Westchester start, was three strokes behind Furyk with five holes to play.
 
'The last two years, it's been very warm and the golf course has been firm,' Harrington said. 'It's a totally different golf course. It'll be interesting to see how I fare on it now. It's a different test of golf.'
 
Divots:@ Furyk withdrew Wednesday because of an upper-back injury after also skipping his charity event Monday in Pennsylvania. ... Mickelson leads the tour in earnings ($3,475,658), scoring average (69.34), putting (1.703 per green reached in regulation) and birdies (4.98 per round). He's also tied for the lead in victories (two) and second in greens in regulation (70.7 percent). ... Ernie Els, the 1996 and '97 winner, withdrew Monday. ... Loren Roberts, a three-time winner this year on the Champions Tour, is making his fourth PGA Tour start of the season. He leads the 50-and-over tour's money list with $1,282,520. ... The tournament is in its 40th season at Westchester. ... The winner will receive $1,035,000 from the $5.75 million purse.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Barclays Classic
     
    Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  • Getty Images

    Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish

    By Associated PressJuly 23, 2018, 12:25 am

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - A thunderstorm has suspended the fourth round of the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship until Monday morning.

    Sunday's third stoppage of play at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came with the four leaders - Hunter Mahan, Robert Streb, Tom Lovelady and Troy Merritt at 18 under par - and four other contenders waiting to begin the round.

    The tournament will resume at 7:30 a.m. on Monday. Lightning caused one delay, and play was stopped earlier in the afternoon to clear water that accumulated on the course following a morning of steady and sometimes-heavy rain.

    Inclement weather has plagued the tournament throughout the weekend. The second round was completed Saturday morning after being suspended by thunderstorms late Friday afternoon.

    The resumption will mark the PGA Tour's second Monday finish this season. Jason Day won the Farmers Insurance Open in January after darkness delayed the sixth playoff hole, and he needed just 13 minutes to claim the victory.

    Getty Images

    Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him

    By Will GrayJuly 23, 2018, 12:07 am

    It was a collision watched by millions of fans on television, and one that came at a pivotal juncture as Tiger Woods sought to win The Open. It also gave Colin Hauck the story of a lifetime.

    Hauck was among dozens of fans situated along the left side of the 11th hole during the final round at Carnoustie as the pairing of Woods and Francesco Molinari hit their approach shots. After 10 holes of nearly flawless golf, Woods missed the fairway off the tee and then pulled his iron well left of the target.

    The ball made square contact with Hauck, who hours later tweeted a video showing the entire sequence - even as he continued to record after Woods' shot sent him tumbling to the ground:

    The bounce initially appeared fortuitous for Woods, as his ball bounded away from thicker rough and back toward the green. But an ambitious flop shot came up short, and he eventually made a double bogey to go from leading by a shot to trailing by one. He ultimately shot an even-par 71, tying for sixth two shots behind Molinari.

    For his efforts as a human shield, Hauck received a signed glove and a handshake from Woods - not to mention a firsthand video account that will be sure to spark plenty of conversations in the coming years.

    Getty Images

    Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter

    By Will GrayJuly 22, 2018, 9:35 pm

    After breaking through for his first career major, Francesco Molinari now has a five-year exemption on the PGA Tour, a 10-year exemption in Europe and has solidified his standing as one of the best players in the world.

    But not too long ago, the 35-year-old Italian was apparently thinking about life after golf.

    Shortly after Molinari rolled in a final birdie putt to close out a two-shot victory at The Open, fellow Tour player Wesley Bryan tweeted a picture of a note that he wrote after the two played together during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions in China in October. In it, Bryan shared Molinari's plans to retire as early as 2020 to hang out at cafes and "become a Twitter troll":

    Molinari is active on the social media platform, with more than 5,600 tweets sent out to nearly 150,000 followers since joining in 2010. But after lifting the claret jug at Carnoustie, it appears one of the few downsides of Molinari's victory is that the golf world won't get to see the veteran turn into a caffeinated, well-read troll anytime soon.

    Getty Images

    Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose

    By Rex HoggardJuly 22, 2018, 9:17 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Sometimes a course just fits a player’s eye. They can’t really describe why, but more often than not it leads to solid finishes.

    Francesco Molinari’s relationship with Carnoustie isn’t like that.

    The Italian played his first major at Carnoustie, widely considered the toughest of all The Open venues, in 2007, and his first impression hasn’t really changed.

    “There was nothing comforting about it,” he said on Sunday following a final-round 69 that lifted him to a two-stroke victory.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    In fact, following that first exposure to the Angus coast brute, Molinari has tried to avoid Carnoustie, largely skipping the Dunhill Links Championship, one of the European Tour’s marquee events, throughout his career.

    “To be completely honest, it's one of the reasons why I didn't play the Dunhill Links in the last few years, because I got beaten up around here a few times in the past,” he said. “I didn't particularly enjoy that feeling. It's a really tough course. You can try and play smart golf, but some shots, you just have to hit it straight. There's no way around it. You can't really hide.”

    Molinari’s relative dislike for the layout makes his performance this week even more impressive considering he played his last 37 holes bogey-free.

    “To play the weekend bogey-free, it's unthinkable, to be honest. So very proud of today,” he said.