Mickelson withdraws from Valero with pulled muscle

By Will GrayMarch 29, 2014, 7:17 pm

Phil Mickelson withdrew from the Valero Texas Open after 10 holes Saturday, citing a pulled muscle in his right side.

Mickelson was 1 over for the round and 4 over for the week when he called it quits. Television coverage showed Mickelson being carted off the course at TPC San Antonio and stated that the injury was a pulled oblique muscle.

"My back's feeling great, my body's feeling great. I felt as good as I have all year," Mickelson said in a statement. "My speed is back, I was hitting the ball hard, driving it great.

"I pulled a muscle on my downswing trying to hit the ball hard on the first hole (his 10th). It just killed and it wouldn't subside for 10 or 12 seconds."

Having opened with a 77, the 43-year-old rallied to make the cut on the number after getting up and down from the water hazard on No. 18 to close his second round.

Mickelson's caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay, spoke with Golf Channel's Steve Sands after the withdrawal and explained that Mickelson's preparations for the Masters may have led to the injury.


Sobel: Mickelson injury further clouds Masters outlook


"As you might imagine, he's trying to get ready for Augusta, he's hitting a lot of drivers, hitting them harder," Mackay said. "He hit one off the first tee, his 10th hole today and just felt a little pain in his side. It continued on for a few minutes and he just decided that he didn't want to take anything to chance relative to what's going on the next couple weeks."

This marks the second time Mickelson has withdrawn from a PGA Tour event in 2014. He also withdrew prior to the start of the third round of the Farmers Insurance Open in January because of back pain.

Mickelson has struggled to find his form in 2014, and his last top-10 finish on the PGA Tour came at The Barclays in August. He was a late addition to the Valero field, opting to return to San Antonio for the first time since 1992 in order to play more competitive rounds heading into the Masters.

"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."

Mickelson is still scheduled to tee it up at the Shell Houston Open, his final start before beginning his quest for a fourth green jacket. Reports earlier this week indicated that he would make a scouting trip to Augusta National early next week before heading to Houston, but those plans have now changed and his spot in the field at Redstone remains in doubt.

"I'm going to go back to San Diego for a couple days and have a doctor take a look at it, but there's really not much you can do for a pulled muscle," Mickelson said. "I hope I'll be OK to play the (Shell Houston Open) but I just don't know."

Mackay echoed his player's concern regarding next week's prognosis.

"In a perfect world, he'd love to play Houston. He loves the tournament, loves the city and it's great preparation for Augusta," Mackay said. "Obviously, he's going to make the right decision relative to what his body's telling him."

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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.


Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


“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.”