Late bogey costs Mickelson shot at 6th major

By Jay CoffinAugust 11, 2014, 2:32 am

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Nine short days ago, Phil Mickelson was lost.

He kept saying over and over again that his game was close. He was working on the proper things, his swing was feeling good, but the results just were not there.

Then he shot a final-round 62 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and declared himself ready to win his sixth major, a total that would match Lee Trevino and Nick Faldo.

It’s difficult to tell if Mickelson, 44, truly believed he would play well this week at the PGA Championship, but he was paired with Tiger Woods over the first two days and whipped his longtime rival by 12 shots. That seemed to give Lefty the ultimate spark.

Following a third-round 67, Mickelson was in Sunday’s penultimate group with Rickie Fowler, whom he considers a good friend. Mickelson made five birdies in the first 11 holes, held a share of the lead at one point on the back nine at Valhalla and shot 66, one of the lowest rounds of the day.

But a bogey on the 16th hole threw all chances of victory away, and Mickelson finished in second place, one shot behind golf’s new king Rory McIlroy.


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This is now Mickelson’s ninth runner-up finish in a major championship, a total that is only behind Jack Nicklaus (19) and Arnold Palmer (10).

“It was a fun day for me to get in the mix and a fun day for me to make some birdies and move up early so that I had a good chance on the back nine,” Mickelson said. “I'm disappointed in the outcome. I thought that had I been able to finish those last, five, six holes strong, could have totally flipped the way I look at this year.

“But now I've got some regrouping to do these next three for four months. I have some glaring areas in my game that I have to work on, and I feel like if I'm able to continue to be strong and healthy and sharp in these areas of my game, I should have four or five good years that I really want to focus in on, and these next three or four months will be critical for me making sure that I address the issues and that I'm ready to go in 2015.”

Those glaring areas, Mickelson said, were his driving and short irons, which he believes were poor for most of the year. Of particular note was a simple wedge shot on the fourth hole from 107 yards that ended 12 feet from the hole and should’ve been inside 5 feet.

Regarding the driving, Mickelson was in the thick of the chase with three holes remaining and failed to position the ball in the fairway on both 16 and 17. He made bogey on 16, and made par on 17, but he had to get up and down from behind the green because he hit a poor approach.

“Those two tee shots hurt,” he said. “Those are the things I’ve got to address. I don’t mind being wild, but when you’ve got to get one in the fairway, you've got to be able to do it.”

Mickelson still has a lot to play for the remainder of this year. Hard to believe that this was his first top-10 finish of the year, but he’ll be heading to the FedEx Cup playoffs in another week. Also, the good PGA performance earned him a spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup team, something that was in question before the week started.

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”

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After 36, new Open favorite is ... Fleetwood

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 7:49 pm

With a handful of the pre-championship favorites exiting early, there is a new odds-on leader entering the third round of The Open at Carnoustie.

While Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner share the 36-hole lead, it's England's Tommy Fleetwood who leads the betting pack at 11/2. Fleetwood begins the third round one shot off the lead.

Click here for the leaderboard and take a look below at the odds, courtesy Jeff Sherman at golfodds.com.

Tommy Fleetwood: 11/2

Zach Johnson: 13/2

Rory McIlroy: 7/1

Jordan Spieth: 8/1

Rickie Fowler: 9/1

Kevin Kisner: 12/1

Xander Schauffele: 16/1

Tony Finau: 16/1

Matt Kuchar: 18/1

Pat Perez: 25/1

Brooks Koepka: 25/1

Erik van Rooyen: 50/1

Alex Noren: 50/1

Tiger Woods: 50/1

Thorbjorn Olesen: 60/1

Danny Willett: 60/1

Francesco Molinari: 60/1

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Perez (T-3) looks to remedy 'terrible' major record

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 7:34 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Pat Perez’s major record is infinitely forgettable. In 24 Grand Slam starts he has exactly one top-10 finish, more than a decade ago at the PGA Championship.

“Terrible,” Perez said when asked to sum up his major career. “I won sixth [place]. Didn't even break top 5.”

It’s strange, however, that his status atop The Open leaderboard through two rounds doesn’t seem out of character. The 42-year-old admits he doesn’t hit it long enough to contend at most major stops and also concedes he doesn’t exactly have a wealth of knowledge when it comes to the game’s biggest events, but something about The Open works for him.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“I didn't like it the first time I came over. When I went to St. Andrews in '05, I didn't like it because it was cold and terrible and this and that,” he said. “Over the years, I've really learned to like to come over here. Plus the fans are so awesome here. They know a good shot. They don't laugh at you if you hit a bad shot.”

Perez gave the fans plenty to cheer on Friday at Carnoustie, playing 17 flawless holes to move into a share of the lead before a closing bogey dropped him into a tie for third place after a second-round 68.

For Perez, links golf is the great equalizer that mitigates the advantages some of the younger, more powerful players have and it brings out the best in him.

“It's hard enough that I don't feel like I have to hit perfect shots. That's the best,” he said. “Greens, you can kind of miss a shot, and it won't run off and go off the green 40 yards. You're still kind of on the green. You can have a 60-footer and actually think about making it because of the speed.”