Mickelson captures Pebble Beach title

By Doug FergusonFebruary 13, 2012, 2:17 am

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. – Phil Mickelson rallied from six shots behind to win for the fourth time at Pebble Beach, a final round made even more memorable by the guy in a red shirt who was among the first to congratulate him Sunday on the 18th green.

Turns out that Tiger Woods was just along for the ride.

Mickelson closed with an 8-under 64, beating Woods by 11 shots in a one-sided showdown at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

“I just feel very inspired when I play with him,” said Mickelson, who has posted the better score the past five times he has played alongside Woods in the final round.

“I love playing with him, and he brings out some of my best golf. I hope that he continues to play better, and better, and I hope that he and I have a chance to play together more in the final rounds.”

Woods, one shot out of the lead on the sixth hole after 54-hole leader Charlie Wi fell apart early, followed his first birdie of the final round with three straight bogeys, starting with a three-putt from 18 feet on the par-3 seventh.

It never got much better from there.

He finished a miserable day with another three-putt on the 18th for a 75, the only consolation coming from belief that he’s closer than ever to putting it all together.

“I didn’t hit it as bad as the score indicated, but I putted awful,” Woods said. “As good as I felt on the greens yesterday, I felt bad today. Anything I tried to do wasn’t working. Consequently, I made a ton of mistakes on the green.”

At least he got to watch a clinic.

Mickelson went from six shots behind to a two-shot lead on the par-5 sixth hole when he rolled in a 20-foot eagle putt, adjusting his read after watching Woods’ amateur partner—Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo—miss from a similar line.

Woods holed a bunker shot for birdie on No. 12, but right when it looked like a two-shot swing that could give Woods some momentum, Mickelson made a 30-foot par putt. With Woods out of the way, Mickelson made a 40-foot par putt on the 15th hole to keep a three-shot cushion, and he was never challenged from there.

He wound up with a two-shot win over Wi, who four-putted for double bogey on the opening hole and never recovered.

Mickelson, who finished at 17-under 269, became only the ninth player in PGA Tour history with 40 career wins. This one was special for many reasons, and the thrashing he gave Woods was but a small part of it.

His wife, Amy, flew up for the weekend and gave him a pep talk Friday in the rain at Monterey Peninsula when Mickelson was going nowhere. He ran off five birdies, got back into the tournament and picked up a win he didn’t see coming.

As much as Woods talks about his game being close, Mickelson felt the same way. His last win was the Houston Open last April, and while he thought he was putting well, his scores didn’t reflect it.

“It’s one of the more emotional victories for me than I’ve had, and the reason is I’ve had some doubt these last couple of weeks, given the scores I’ve shot,” Mickelson said. “Having these great practice sessions, I started to wonder if I’m going to be able to bring it to the golf course. So this gives me a lot of confidence and erases the doubt.”

The last shred of doubt came on the 14th, a diabolical green that turns birdies into bogeys without caution. Woods hit a wedge that went down the side of the green, requiring two chips to get on the green. He made bogey.

Mickelson’s caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay got in his hear.

“He erased all doubt and said, ‘Let’s get aggressive and make birdie, we need one more here,’” Mickelson said. “It just got me aggressive and into a positive frame of mind.”

He went at the flag and made birdie.

Wi, who started the final round with a three-shot lead, birdied his last two holes for a 72 and his fifth runner-up finish on Tour. It was the third straight week that the winner began the final round at least six shots behind a 54-hole leader going for his first tour victory.

“I fought back and hung in there, because the four-putt on the first hole, I was really shook up pretty badly, and my strokes were pretty iffy at best,” Wi said. “I hung in there all day. My time will come.”

The shocker, though, was how Woods fell apart.

He has been taking big strides with his game over the past few months, and he looked poised to break through after a 67 in the third round at

Pebble Beach got him to within four shots of the lead. But he needed a start like Mickelson and was never really in the game.

Two weeks ago in his 2012 debut at Abu Dhabi, Woods was tied for the lead with unheralded Robert Rock going into the final round and didn’t break par, tying for third.

“What was frustrating is that I had a chance,” he said. “All I had to do was get off to a good, solid start today. And I didn’t do that.”

Woods used to own Mickelson, but that changed at the 2007 Deutsche Bank Championship. This was the fifth straight time Mickelson posted the better score when playing in the same group as Woods in the final round.

Mickelson has won three of those tournaments, although they have yet to be in the final group on those occasions.

“Although I feel like he brings out the best in me, it’s only been the past five years,” Mickelson said. “Before, I got spanked pretty good. Let’s not forget the big picture here. I’ve been beat up. But the last five years, I’ve been able to get some of my best golf out when we play together.”

Ricky Barnes closed with a 67 and finished third. Kevin Na tied for fifth and earned a spot in the Match Play Championship in two weeks at Arizona.

Even with Wi falling apart, that wasn’t enough for Woods to get in on the action.

Standing in the sixth fairway, Woods was only one shot out of the lead, yet the sleeves of his red shirt and his name on the leaderboard didn’t seem to make him stand out the way it has before.

The opening holes had something to do with that and watching Mickelson play alongside him.

“He played really good today,” Woods said. “He was hitting it flush. And his wedge game was right on the money.”

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Two-time champ Bubba fires 63 at Travelers

By Will GrayJune 22, 2018, 7:20 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Amid a resurgent season that has already included a pair of wins, it only makes sense that Bubba Watson is back in contention at the Travelers Championship.

TPC River Highlands has been one of Watson’s favorite haunts over the years; it’s a layout where the southpaw’s creative approach is often rewarded. This is where he burst into tears after earning his first PGA Tour victory in 2010, and this is where he beat Paul Casey in a playoff to again lift the trophy in 2015.

He’ll once again have a late weekend tee time after firing a 7-under 63 during the second round, tying the low score of the week and moving to within three shots of Brian Harman’s 10-under total.

“Little bit less wind, little more confidence on the ball-striking, and I made putts,” Watson said. “The key is making putts. When you start making putts, that’s where you’re going to score a decent number.”


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Watson was well down the standings after opening with an even-par 70, a round that included three bogeys in a four-hole stretch on the back nine to negate progress he had made earlier in the day. But he ran into no such struggles the second time around, adding six birdies to an eagle on the par-5 13th hole when he hit his approach shot from 229 yards to within 18 inches of the hole.

The difference, according to Watson, was between the ears.

“Yesterday I was just thinking about some negative stuff instead of focusing on my target and focusing on the shot at hand,” Watson said. “I was focusing on hitting to the bunker, or focusing on, ‘Water is over here, so hit it over here.’ Just things like that, just things that you can’t do around the golf course.”

Watson was also a runner-up in 2012 here in addition to his two wins, and he has racked up nearly $3.5 million in earnings in 11 prior appearances. Once again thinking the right thoughts on one of his favorite tracks, he’s potentially 36 holes away from his third win since February.

“Obviously around here I feel pretty comfortable,” Watson said. “I can hit some shots around here, and I’ve made it work throughout some of the years.”

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Only putting is holding McIlroy back

By Will GrayJune 22, 2018, 6:48 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Through two rounds of the Travelers Championship, the tee shots are towering and the approaches are accurate for Rory McIlroy. Now he just needs the putter to heat up.

McIlroy started to show signs of life during the second round last week at Shinnecock Hills before missing the cut, and after putting in some extra work honing his swing over the weekend, his tee-to-green game is worth boasting about at the halfway point at TPC River Highlands.

McIlroy has missed only five greens in regulation through two rounds, barely breaking a sweat en route to rounds of 64 and 69 that left him at 7 under. He’s within striking distance heading into the weekend, three shots behind Brian Harman, but might be topping the standings with a more cooperative putter.


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“I felt like I left a few out there,” McIlroy said. “I felt like I had a lot of good putts that just didn’t go in. I started them on line, did everything I needed to do, and it’s just one of those days where they were sliding by the edges.”

McIlroy took 32 putts to complete his second round, including a three-putt on No. 7 for his only bogey of the day and another three-putt on No. 13 that turned an eagle opportunity into a par. Already with a win under his belt this year at the Arnold Palmer Invitational when he knocked in putts from all directions during a final-round 64, McIlroy feels confident that he might be only a few rolls away from having another shot to contend in his second career trip to the Hartford-area stop.

“I think if I can put the ball in the fairway and hit my irons as good as I have been over the first couple of days, I’ll give myself a lot of chances for birdies,” McIlroy said. “It’s just about converting them and taking the opportunities when they present themselves.”

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Rosaforte Report: Toski lively, singing and ready to go home

By Tim RosaforteJune 22, 2018, 6:41 pm

Bob Toski sounded pretty good for a man near death last week. When we spoke on Friday, the 91-year-old teaching legend and former PGA Tour leading money winner was alive and feeling well. Especially when he was talking about giving lessons, swinging a golf club again, and going down to the piano bar at Arturo’s near his home in Boca Raton, Fla., to sing his favorite song, “Sentimental Journey."

“It’s been quite a journey,” Toski said in total bliss. “But I’m going home tomorrow.”

Going back 10 days, to June 12, Toski suffered a severe heart attack that had him on life support, in critical condition, at a hospital not far from the South Florida golf community where he’s pro emeritus at St. Andrews.

He opened 15 minutes on the phone on Friday by asking how much he owed me for the publicity he got during the U.S. Open. Typical Toski. His heart may have skipped a beat, but he hadn’t.

At no more than 120 pounds, still larger than life.


Bob Toski from his hospital bed in South Florida


“This is the mouse,” he said when asked to confirm it really was him on the phone. “The Mighty Mouse.”

We were laughing now, but there was a moment one night during “Live From the U.S. Open” when I got a message from the Boca hospital which sounded grim (hospital staff used a defibrillator on him six times during his stay). That’s when one of the friends by his side texted me and said it would be just like “Tosk” to sit up straight and ask everybody what was going on.

Essentially, that’s what happened. And now here he was on the phone, cracking off one-liners, talking about Brooks Koepka’s win at Shinnecock, giving his take on the USGA and course setup, asking how much I’d been playing, and giving his love to everybody at “The Channel.”

He invited me down for a lesson at St. Andrews and dinner at Arturos. “In a month’s time,” he said, “I’ll be ready to go.”

He sounded ready right now, singing a line from his favorite song, from his hospital bed in the happiest of voices, “Gotta set my heart at ease.”

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Spieth fades with 3-over 73: 'It's just golf'

By Will GrayJune 22, 2018, 6:10 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – After finding nothing but positives for his first five trips around the course, Jordan Spieth finally suffered a setback at TPC River Highlands.

Spieth won the Travelers Championship last year in his tournament debut, and he quickly bounced back from a missed cut at Shinnecock Hills by firing a 7-under 63 in the opening round this week to take a share of the lead. Out early during the second round with a chance to move even further into red figures amid calm conditions, he instead went the other way.

Undone by a triple bogey on the par-5 13th hole, Spieth was 5 over for his first 14 holes and needed an eagle on the par-5 sixth hole for the second straight day simply to salvage a 3-over 73. The score knocked him back to 4 under for the week and six shots behind Brian Harman.

Despite finding three fewer fairways, three fewer greens in regulation and taking five more putts than he did in the opening round, Spieth still put a positive spin on a lackluster result.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“I actually felt like I had better control of my golf swing than I did yesterday. I really struggled with my swing yesterday and I kind of got some good breaks,” Spieth said. “It’s just golf. It’s kind of like yesterday I got three or four shots extra out of the round, and today I lost three or four based on how I felt.”

Spieth was happy with his opening-round effort, but even after finishing late in the day he still went straight to the driving range that lines the ninth fairway at TPC River Highlands – not exactly standard behavior after grabbing a share of the lead.

“So it’s not like things are on,” he said. “Sometimes it can get disguised by rounds, but it’s not far off. It really is close.”

Spieth has lamented a lack of quality chances to win this year, which he has previously described as being within six shots of the lead heading into the final round. He’ll have some work to do to meet that mark this weekend in defense of his title, as his round hit a snag on No. 13, his fourth hole of the morning, when he pulled his tee shot out of bounds and then hit his subsequent approach into the water.

“For whatever reason, it’s a large fairway but it’s always just killed me,” Spieth said. “I don’t know what it is about the hole, but that hole I get on the tee and for whatever reason I struggle. … I just hit a bad shot at the wrong time there.”