Tiger vs Phil Coming Soon

By Brian HewittFebruary 12, 2007, 5:00 pm
First things first: The duel Id most like to see in golf at the moment is Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson.
 
Tiger has won seven straight PGA TOUR events. Phil spread-eagled the field and the golf course Sunday at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson now has 30 career PGA TOUR victories. (WireImage)
And heres the cool part about IT. Woods vs. Mickelson could happen, head-to-head, as early as next week at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson.
 
By virtue of his five-shot victory over the field down on the Monterey Peninsula Mickelson moved back up to No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking. That means Mickelson and No. 1 Woods can not meet any earlier than the semi-finals.
 
But they can meet. We in the media are not supposed to root for players. Were supposed to just root for the story. Im rooting for Tiger vs. Phil. Thats the best story right now.
 
The golf course, by the way, is NOT La Costa, where Woods won in 2003 and 2004. This year its near Tucson at the South Course at The Gallery at Dove Mountain, which can be stretched to 7,356 yards from the back tees.
 
Yes, yes theres a pretty good little event coming up this week at Riviera. And it almost always offers terrific theater in an historic setting. But this year, at least, it will have to serve as the warm-up act for Tigers quest for No. 8 and Phils hoped-for challenge.
 
Mickelson is now officially warmed up for 2007. In his first three events of the year he alternately struggled with distance control on the short irons and then, last week at the FBR Open, with his putting.
 
His swing coach, Rick Smith, believed Mickelson was closer than it appeared to returning to top form. I just hope, Smith told me, Phil doesnt lose patience.
 
Dave Pelz, Mickelsons short-game advisor, got with Phil at Pebble last week and the results were immediate. Mickelson started getting his putts tracking on line and the results were 31 one-putts in 72 holes. On Sunday at Pebble alone, Mickelson birdied nine of, arguably, the most photogenic 18 golf holes in the world.
 
When Mickelson melted down on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open last June at Winged Foot, his problems stemmed from bad driving. At Pebble Beach in mid-weekend Mickelson said, Im honestly driving the ball the best Ive ever driven it.
 
Which makes it easier to forget how trying the format at the AT&T can sometimes be. Jim Furyk, ranked No. 2 in the world, was tied for the lead after 36 holes. Then the weather turned for the worse Saturday and his round lasted six hours and 40 minutes. I dont care if the sun is shining, Furyk said after a tortuous 76. You could shoot me.
 
Even comedian Bill Murray was somewhat subdued much of a week in which the spotlight belonged mainly to Mickelson. Murrays best moment? Probably Saturday at Pebble Beach when he surprised a woman outside the ropes by stealing a kiss. On the lips.
 
Murray missed his next putt and blamed the woman. Shes too hot, Murray said, massaging his mouth. I got second degree burns.
 
Kevin Sutherland, who won the Match Play at La Costa in 2002, birdied the 72nd hole to edge rookie John Mallinger by a stroke for sole second place. Mallinger, meanwhile, hung in all four days and finished third ahead of Davis Love III and Greg Owen. Furyk tied Corey Pavin for sixth.
 
And, no, it didnt have to be You. But it was. Mickelson and amateur partner Harry You, the CEO of consulting firm Bearing Point, won the pro-am portion of the event.
 
You is a Harvard grad. Mallinger is graduate of the 2006 Q-school (all three stages) who shows terrific promise. I took some (good) stuff this week, Mallinger said. And, hopefully, Im going to grow on that.
 
Pavin managed to stay bogey free for the last 38 holes of the tournament. The 1995 U.S. Open champion is still a master of shaping his golf ball and controlling its trajectory. The fact that Pebble Beach measures a relatively short 6,816 yards works in the diminutive Pavins favor as well.
 
Mickelson has now won 30 PGA TOUR events which ties him for 16th all-time in that category with Leo Diegel and Vijay Singh. Singh, by the way, now leads the nascent FedExCup points race.
 
The rust is officially off now for Lefty, who will make it five straight weeks in the field at Riviera and six at the Match Play.
 
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    Davies a fitting winner of inaugural USGA championship

    By Randall MellJuly 15, 2018, 11:26 pm

    Laura Davies confessed she did not sleep well on a five-shot lead Saturday night at the U.S. Senior Women’s Open.

    It’s all you needed to know about what this inaugural event meant to the women who were part of the history being made at Chicago Golf Club.

    The week was more than a parade of memories the game’s greats created playing in the USGA’s long-awaited showcase for women ages 50 and beyond.

    The week was more than nostalgic. 

    It was a chance to make another meaningful mark on the game.

    In the end, Davies relished seeing the mark she made in her runaway, 10-shot victory. She could see it in the familiar etchings on the trophy she hoisted.

    “I get my name on it first,” Davies said. “This championship will be played for many years, and there will only be one first winner. Obviously, quite a proud moment for me to win that.”

    Really, all 120 players in the field made their marks at Chicago Golf Club. They were all pioneers of sorts this past week.

    “It was very emotional seeing the USGA signs, because I've had such a long history, since my teens, playing in USGA championships,” said Amy Alcott, whose Hall of Fame career included the 1980 U.S. Women’s Open title. “I thought the week just came off beautifully. The USGA did a great job. It was just so classy how everything was done, this inaugural event, and how was it presented.”

    Davies was thankful for what the USGA added to the women’s game, and she wasn’t alone. Gratefulness was the theme of the week.


    Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


    The men have been competing in the U.S. Senior Open since 1980, and now the women have their equal opportunity to do the same.

    “It was just great to be a part of the first,” three-time U.S. Women’s Open winner Hollis Stacy said. “The USGA did a great job of having it at such a great golf course. It's just been very memorable.”

    Trish Johnson, who is English, like Davies, finished third, 12 shots back, but she left with a heart overflowing.

    “Magnificent,” said Johnson, a three-time LPGA and 19-time LET winner. “Honestly, it's one of the best, most enjoyable weeks I've ever played in in any tournament anywhere.”

    She played in the final group with Davies and runner-up Juli Inkster.

    “Even this morning, just waiting to come out here, I thought, `God, not often do I actually think how lucky I am to do what I do,’” Johnson said.

    At 54, Davies still plays the LPGA and LET regularly. She has now won 85 titles around the world, 20 of them LPGA titles, four of them majors, 45 of them LET titles.

    With every swing this past week, she peeled back the years, turned back the clock, made fans and peers remember what she means to the women’s game.

    This wasn’t the first time Davies made her mark in a USGA event. When she won the U.S. Women’s Open in 1987, she became just the second player from Europe to win the title, the first in 20 years. She opened a new door for internationals. The following year, Sweden’s Liselotte Neumann won the title.

    “A lot of young Europeans and Asians decided that it wasn't just an American sport,” Davies said. “At that stage, it had been dominated, wholeheartedly, by all the names we all love, Lopez, Bradley, Daniel, Sheehan.”

    Davies gave the rest of the world her name to love, her path to follow.

    “It certainly made a lot of foreign girls think that they could take the Americans on,” Davies said.

    In golf, it’s long been held that you can judge the stature of an event by the names on the trophy. Davies helps gives the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open the monumental start it deserved.

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    Suwannapura beats Lincicome in playoff for first win

    By Associated PressJuly 15, 2018, 10:49 pm

    SYLVANIA, Ohio - Thidapa Suwannapura won her first LPGA event on Sunday, closing with a 6-under 65 and birdieing the first playoff hole to defeat Brittany Lincicome at the Marathon Classic.

    The 25-year-old Thai player is the sixth first-time winner on tour this year. Her previous best finish in 120 starts was seventh at the 2014 Kingsmill Championship.

    Suwannapura picked up three strokes over her final two holes, making eagle on the par-5 17th and closing with a birdie on the par-5 18th at Highland Meadows to finish at 14-under 270.

    In the playoff, Suwannapura converted a short birdie putt after Lincicome hit her second shot into a water hazard and scrambled for par.

    Lincicome shot 67. She had a chance to win in regulation, but her birdie putt from about 10 feet did a nearly 360-degree turn around the edge of the cup and stayed out. Next up for the big-hitting Lincicome: a start against the men at the PGA Tour's Barbasol Championship.

    Third-round leader Brooke Henderson led by two shots after six holes, but struggled the rest of the way. Back-to-back bogeys on the 14th and 15th holes dropped her out of the lead. The 20-year-old Canadian finished with a 2-under 69, one shot out of the playoff.

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    Kim cruises to first win, final Open invite at Deere

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 9:38 pm

    Following the best week of his professional career, Michael Kim is both a winner on the PGA Tour and the 156th and final player to earn a tee time next week at The Open.

    Kim entered the final round of the John Deere Classic with a five-shot lead, and the former Cal standout removed any lingering doubt about the tournament's outcome with birdies on each of his first three holes. He cruised from there, shooting a bogey-free 66 to finish the week at 27 under and win by eight shots over Francesco Molinari, Joel Dahmen, Sam Ryder and Bronson Burgoon.

    It equals the tournament scoring record and ties for the largest margin of victory on Tour this season, matching Dustin Johnson's eight-shot romp at Kapalua in January and Molinari's margin two weeks ago at the Quicken Loans National.

    "Just super thankful," Kim said. "It's been a tough first half of the year. But to be able to finish it out in style like this means a lot."

    Kim, 25, received the Haskins Award as the nation's top collegiate player back in 2013, but his ascent to the professional ranks has been slow. He had only one top-10 finish in 83 starts on Tour entering the week, tying for third at the Safeway Open in October 2016, and had missed the cut each of the last three weeks.

    But the pieces all came together at TPC Deere Run, where Kim opened with 63 and held a three-shot lead after 36 holes. His advantage was trimmed to a single shot during a rain-delayed third round, but Kim returned to the course late Saturday and closed with four straight birdies on Nos. 15-18 to build a five-shot cushion and inch closer to his maiden victory.

    As the top finisher among the top five not otherwise exempt, Kim earned the final spot at Carnoustie as part of the Open Qualifying Series. It will be his first major championship appearance since earning low amateur honors with a T-17 finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion, and he is also now exempt for the PGA Championship and next year's Masters.

    The last player to earn the final Open spot at the Deere and make the cut the following week was Brian Harman, who captured his first career win at TPC Deere Run in 2014 and went on to tie for 26th at Royal Liverpool.

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    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.