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After Further Review: What will Phil do next?

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 8, 2018, 11:54 pm

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

On Phil Mickelson's latest snafu ...

This might be Phil Mickelson’s most unpredictable season ever.

After spending four years talking about how close he was to putting it all together, he finally did – in a World Golf Championship event, no less. After spending the better part of two decades trying to get the best of Tiger Woods, he’s now fully embraced him, to the point that he’s playing practice rounds with him and willing to share the marquee in a $10 million exhibition. And after spending a lifetime chasing the U.S. Open, he had a meltdown at Shinnecock Hills that, if it didn’t harm his reputation, may at least have irreparably damaged his relationship with the golf gods.

It’s passed off as Phil being Phil, but after another “boneheaded move” on Sunday at The Greenbrier – he tapped down long grass in front of the tee box, a mistake that cost him two shots – he offered a clue as to what’s going on: “I wasn’t having my best day, focus-wise.”  

It’s not the first time that Mickelson has cited his on-course focus, or lack thereof; he even said recently that he’s seen a doctor for the problem. When he’s locked in, Mickelson is a threat to win any tournament he plays. But when he’s not, like he clearly hasn’t been over the past month, he’s liable to do, well, just about anything. – Ryan Lavner

On Danny Willett's whereabouts ...

Danny Willett made an appearance on the leaderboards this weekend in Ireland, further indication that the career of the 2016 Masters champ just might be on the upward swing.

Willett hasn’t won a tournament since edging Jordan Spieth for a green jacket more than two years ago, and his form has fallen off a cliff since his major breakthrough. He switched swing coaches last year, and this week teed off at Ballyliffin ranked No. 442 in the world.

But Willett tied for sixth Sunday, five weeks after a T-8 finish at the Italian Open. While he’s sprinkled those results among a run of missed cuts elsewhere, other players have sparked comebacks with even less inspiring results.

So don’t count out the Englishman just yet. - Will Gray

On the decision against use of a compass

Earlier this week the USGA along with the R&A ruled that a protractor, or drawing compass, would not be allowed during a stipulated round because “it is considered ‘unusual equipment that might assist [a player] in making a stroke or in his play.”

There’s a growing element among PGA Tour types that green-reading books, which have become ubiquitous among the play-for-pay set, are next. Perhaps the current rule makers consider it a good start in the quest to stamp out slow play. - Rex Hoggard

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.