Mickelson rallies to make Valero cut

By Will GrayMarch 29, 2014, 1:22 am

Even when his game is less than sharp, Phil Mickelson still has a flair for the dramatic.

Mickelson rolled up his pant leg to play a shot from the hazard guarding the 18th hole Friday, getting up and down for birdie to make the cut on the number at the Valero Texas Open.

Mickelson struggled to a 5-over 77 in the opening round, but bounced back to card a 2-under 70. At 3-over 147, he is tied for 69th through 36 holes and 11 shots behind leader Steven Bowditch.

The 43-year-old got off to a strong start in the second round, notching birdies on three of his first six holes to move temporarily inside the cut line. He failed to record a birdie across the subsequent 11 holes, however, and his weekend prospects appeared bleak after a bogey on the 15th hole dropped him to 4 over.

Needing a birdie to have any hope of making the cut, Mickelson took dead aim with his second shot to the par-5 18th but came up short and right of the green.

"I was right in between going for the green or playing a little bit to the right trying to get up and down, and I hit a very close to being a great shot and went in the water," Mickelson told reporters. "Unfortunately, it just barely went in where I hit (my) shot."

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After rolling up his left pant leg to his knee, he pitched to within six feet of the hole from the hazard and sank the birdie putt to once again move inside the number.

"It looked like the water overlapped the grass and it was not that hard of a shot," Mickelson said.  "There was a rock that I hit but...I didn't see it at address."

Mickelson added this event to his schedule late last week, making his first trek to San Antonio since 1992 in an effort to find his form with the Masters fast approaching.

"I haven't had the success I've wanted to early on at the start of the season," he told reporters Thursday. "I want to get in contention, I want to have a competitive round and work on playing proper golf and managing the game and the rounds."

While he’s not exactly in contention, Mickelson will get at least one more competitive round in the Lone Star State. A total of 82 players made the cut, meaning that a secondary, 54-hole cut will be needed to once again cull the field to top 70 and ties after the third round.

With the Masters less than two weeks away, Mickelson is still in search of his first top-10 finish of the 2013-14 season on the PGA Tour, although he did finish runner-up in Abu Dhabi in January. He is scheduled to tee it up next week at the Shell Houston Open before heading to Augusta in search of a fourth green jacket.

Mickelson was not the only notable name to stage a late rally in San Antonio. Jordan Spieth played his first seven holes in 6 over Thursday, but bounced back on his inward half to card a 75. He carried that momentum into Friday's round, shooting a 2-under 70. At 1-over 145, Spieth will enter the weekend in a tie for 43rd, nine shots off the pace.

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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.

Updated Official World Golf Ranking

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.”