Mickelson outshines Woods, Scott at Deutsche Bank

By Doug FergusonAugust 30, 2013, 7:53 pm

NORTON, Mass. (AP) – Phil Mickelson keeps saying how much he loves playing with Tiger Woods. He shot 63 at the Deutsche Bank Championship to prove it.

In a feature grouping of the top three players in the world ranking, Mickelson turned in the star performance Friday morning with a 28 that allowed him to consider – but only briefly – another shot at 59.

By the end of the day, when he played a risky shot from deep in the trees on his final hole to salvage bogey, he was happy to be in the lead. Mickelson had a one-shot lead over Kevin Stadler among early starters.


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''What Phil did today was pretty impressive,'' Woods said after a 68 that only seemed worse considering the company he kept.

Masters champion Adam Scott, rounding out the 1-2-3 pairing, struggled to a 73 and joked later that he rolled out of the wrong side of the bed.

Mickelson did everything right.

He started his round on the TPC Boston by making birdie putts of 20 feet on No. 10 and 30 feet on No. 11. He ended the front nine with five straight birdies, only the second nine-hole score of 28 on the PGA Tour this year. And even after a bogey from the bunker on No. 1, he hit a 6-iron from 213 yards that settled just more than a foot away for eagle on the next hole. That put him at 8 under for his round with seven holes to play.

''It was a good start,'' Mickelson said. ''I got off to a great front nine and somewhat stalled on the back. But after shooting 7 under the first nine, it was going to be a good round as long as I didn't mess it up.''



He tried. Mickelson ended his brilliant round with two words: ''Oh, no.'' He hit a snap-hook off the ninth tee, so far right that it missed the fairway by some 40 yards and went so deep in the woods that fans could barely see Mickelson ducking and weaving through the branches to find his ball.

He decided against a one-shot penalty drop out of the lateral hazard, fearing the slope would roll the ball too close to the branches and restrict his swing.

''Just give me an 8- or a 9-iron,'' he told his caddie, Jim ''Bones'' Mackay. He was ready to hack away when his caddie reminded him the gallery was still in the way. Choking well up the grip, flattening the swing to avoid limbs, Mickelson chopped it out to the rough and still had 210 yards left. He knocked that one on the green and two-putted for his bogey and a 63.

It was at the Deutsche Bank Championship in 2007 when Mickelson first got over the mental hurdle of playing with Woods, his longtime nemesis. He said swing coach Butch Harmon, who formerly worked with Woods, gave him a few tips about playing with the world's No. 1 player that relaxed Mickelson.

In the 15 rounds they have played together since, Mickelson has a 9-5-1 advantage in posting the lower score. He has shot the better score all five times in the final round, three of those leading to wins.

Mickelson had said Woods ''brings out the best in me'' on Thursday after his pro-am round. When asked about that again after his 63, Lefty smiled and said, ''After today, it's hard to think any differently.''

Woods referred to the course as ''gettable,'' the same description he gave of Muirfield when Mickelson shot 66 on the final day to win the British Open, considered one of the great closing rounds in a major. That was the case, though. The TPC Boston was soft enough – and the fairways wide enough – to allow some low numbers.

Hunter Mahan opened with a 65, while PGA champion Jason Dufner, Lee Westwood and Harris English were among those at 66.

Woods said his back felt fine, and there were no outward indications he was in any pain. The only thing that hurt was not hitting enough shots close for birdie chances, and missing a few at the end. Woods had a 6-foot birdie putt on the seventh and a downhill birdie putt from about 12 feet on his last hole, missing both of them.

''The back is good,'' Woods said. ''Unfortunately, I didn't give myself a whole lot of looks.''

It was another great start for Mickelson, who missed a 59 by a fraction of an inch this year at the Phoenix Open. And the timing could not have been better.

Even though the majors are over, and Mickelson added a big one at the British Open, the next month is a great chance for him. For all his greatness over the last two decades – 42 career wins on the PGA Tour, five majors and a spot in the Hall of Fame – he came along at the wrong time. Mickelson has never been player of the year, No. 1 in the world or tops on the PGA Tour money list. And he hasn't won the FedEx Cup, now in its seventh year.

This might be his best chance. Mickelson feels great, though at 43 he was reminded he wasn't getting any younger when he went home to San Diego last week to take his oldest daughter to high school.

With two wins – one a major – and a runner-up in the U.S. Open, another win at a FedEx Cup playoff event might be enough to get voted PGA Tour player of the year. Woods has five wins, all of them strong, but failed to win a major.

''If I finish off with one or two wins this year, and win the FedEx Cup, I think that would be enough to get the player of the year,'' he said. ''My game clicked again last week, and I feel like these next three weeks I'm going to play very well. I can just feel it. You can just tell sometimes. The game feels sharp. And mentally, I have a lot of energy and I'm able to focus clearly. And that's usually when you play well.''

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Watch: Moore does impressions of Tiger, Poults, Bubba

By Grill Room TeamJuly 16, 2018, 10:36 pm
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Johnson begins Open week as 12/1 betting favorite

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 5:15 pm

Dustin Johnson heads into The Open as the top-ranked player in the world, and he's also an understandable betting favorite as he looks to win a second career major.

Johnson has not played since the U.S. Open, where he led by four shots at the halfway point and eventually finished third. He has three top-10 finishes in nine Open appearances, notably a T-2 finish at Royal St. George's in 2011.

Johnson opened as a 12/1 favorite when the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook first published odds for Carnoustie after the U.S. Open, and he remains at that number with the first round just three days away.

Here's a look at the latest odds on some of the other top contenders, according to the Westgate:

12/1: Dustin Johnson

16/1: Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler, Justin Rose

20/1: Jordan Spieth, Justin Thomas, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka, Jon Rahm

25/1: Jason Day, Henrik Stenson, Tiger Woods

30/1: Sergio Garcia, Francesco Molinari, Paul Casey, Alex Noren, Patrick Reed

40/1: Hideki Matsuyama, Marc Leishman, Branden Grace, Tyrrell Hatton

50/1: Phil Mickelson, Ian Poulter, Matthew Fitzpatrick

60/1: Russell Knox, Louis Oosthuizen, Matt Kuchar, Bryson DeChambeau, Zach Johnson, Tony Finau, Bubba Watson

80/1: Lee Westwood, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Rafael Cabrera-Bello, Thomas Pieters, Xander Schauffele

100/1: Shane Lowry, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Fox, Thorbjorn Olesen

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Woods needs top-10 at Open to qualify for WGC

By Will GrayJuly 16, 2018, 4:34 pm

If Tiger Woods is going to qualify for the final WGC-Bridgestone Invitational at Firestone Country Club, he'll need to do something he hasn't done in five years this week at The Open.

Woods has won eight times at Firestone, including his most recent PGA Tour victory in 2013, and has openly stated that he would like to qualify for the no-cut event in Akron before it shifts to Memphis next year. But in order to do so, Woods will need to move into the top 50 in the Official World Golf Ranking after this week's event at Carnoustie.

Woods is currently ranked No. 71 in the world, down two spots from last week, and based on projections it means that he'll need to finish no worse than a tie for eighth to have a chance of cracking the top 50. Woods' last top-10 finish at a major came at the 2013 Open at Muirfield, where he tied for sixth.


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There are actually two OWGR cutoffs for the Bridgestone, July 23 and July 30. That means that Woods could theoretically still add a start at next week's RBC Canadian Open to chase a spot in the top 50, but he has said on multiple occasions that this week will be his last start of the month. The WGC-Bridgestone Invitational will be played Aug. 2-5.

There wasn't much movement in the world rankings last week, with the top 10 staying the same heading into the season's third major. Dustin Johnson remains world No. 1, followed by Justin Thomas, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm. Defending Open champ Jordan Spieth is ranked sixth, with Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, Jason Day and Tommy Fleetwood rounding out the top 10.

Despite taking the week off, Sweden's Alex Noren moved up three spots from No. 14 to No. 11, passing Patrick Reed, Bubba Watson and Paul Casey.

John Deere Classic champ Michael Kim went from No. 473 to No. 215 in the latest rankings, while South African Brandon Stone jumped from 371st to 110th with his win at the Scottish Open.

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Spieth takes familiar break ahead of Open defense

By Rex HoggardJuly 16, 2018, 3:50 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – As his title chances seemed to be slipping away during the final round of last year’s Open Championship, Jordan Spieth’s caddie took a moment to remind him who he was.

Following a bogey at No. 13, Michael Greller referenced a recent vacation he’d taken to Mexico where he’d spent time with Michael Phelps and Michael Jordan and why he deserved to be among that group of singular athletes.

Spieth, who won last year’s Open, decided to continue the tradition, spending time in Cabo again before this week’s championship.


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“I kind of went through the same schedule,” Spieth said on Monday at Carnoustie. “It was nice to have a little vacation.”

Spieth hasn’t played since the Travelers Championship; instead he attended the Special Olympics USA Games earlier this month in Seattle with his sister. It was Spieth’s first time back to the Pacific Northwest since he won the 2015 U.S. Open.

“I went out to Chambers Bay with [Greller],” Spieth said. “We kind of walked down the 18th hole. It was cool reliving those memories.”

But most of all Spieth said he needed a break after a particularly tough season.

“I had the itch to get back to it after a couple weeks of not really working,” he said. “It was nice to kind of have that itch to get back.”