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After Further Review: Phil's game not close enough

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Each week, takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

On Phil Mickelson nearly missing out on a return to the winner's circle at Pebble Beach

Phil Mickelson has made plenty of progress over the last month, and I believe him when he insists that his game is close. He is finally starting to compile consistent results, and he might have been able to string together four strong weeks in a row were it not for a squirrely effort last month on the North Course at Torrey Pines.

But as Mickelson demonstrated Sunday, there is a chasm in between contending and winning – even for a guy who has already piled up 42 trophies. Mickelson appeared cool and calm throughout the first three rounds while building his lead, but his play got decidedly shaky when it mattered most during the final round. Mistakes that were easily erased earlier in the week proved costly.

Mickelson described his play as “tight,” and he certainly seemed nervous – not because of any heavyweights chasing him down on the leaderboard, but simply because of the situation. He felt pressure to finish the job, and he faltered ever so slightly because of it.

Another win will come soon for Lefty, perhaps as soon as this season. But his closing effort at Pebble Beach showed once again that winning out here just isn’t as easy as it sometimes appears. - Will Gray

On the caddies lawsuit against the PGA Tour being thrown out

A U.S. District Court judge ruled this week that there may be room for improved treatment of PGA Tour caddies, but a lawsuit filed by a group of caddies last year didn’t withstand legal scrutiny.

“The caddies’ overall complaint about poor treatment by the Tour has merit, but this federal lawsuit about bibs does not,” Judge Vince Chhabria wrote in his ruling to dismiss the lawsuit.

Although the lawsuit may move to another stage in appeals court, the plight of caddies on Tour has been forced into the general conversation and for both parties involved. That’s progress. - Rex Hoggard 

On Lydia Ko donating her winnings from the New Zealand Open

Lydia Ko didn't have to play the New Zealand Women's Open. There weren't many world ranking points at stake with just two other players among the top 100 in the Rolex Women's World Rankings there, and there wasn't a lot of money to be won with the entire purse ($227,000) roughly the same as a winner's check on the LPGA tour. Plus, the stop complicates her schedule in a particularly busy year in women's golf. And yet she was in tears when she won. That's how much winning in her Kiwi homeland meant to her. Ko playing there was a special act of gratefulness to that nation and everyone there who supports her. So was her donating her entire winnings ($33,000) to New Zealand. In the end, Kiwi golf fans know her time with them was the richest gift she could give them. - Randall Mell