Phil Pining for First Open Victory

By Golf Channel DigitalJune 13, 2005, 4:00 pm
Phil Mickelson doesnt watch the tape. He remembers the good parts well enough, and there are certain other parts he'd rather forget.
 
Mickelson doesnt need to view a replay of the 1999 U.S. Open to remind him of what happened that Sunday in Pinehurst, N.C. He recalls quite vividly the putts he missed: the 7-footer for par on 16; the 7-footer for birdie on 17; and the 25-footer for birdie on 18.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson has three runner-up finishes in his last six U.S. Open appearances.
He also recalls just as clearly the putts Payne Stewart made: the 25-foot par save on 16; the 3-foot birdie putt on 17; and the 15-foot birdie clincher on 18.
 
I think that I have looked back, but I really don't remember much of the round now except the last three holes, and I stopped really rehashing it, he said.
 
And hell never forget the way Stewart approached him in the chaotic aftermath ' when Stewart embraced Mickelsons face with both his hands and told him the joys of fatherhood would far outweigh this disappointment.
 
I was most impressed with Payne when here he just won the greatest championship of the game and he's thinking about Amy and myself, Mickelson said. He's very prophetic, too; being a father is the most fulfilling thing that I've ever experienced in life.
 
Once again, the best in the game have returned to the No. 2 course at Pinehurst; this time for the 105th edition of the United States Open. Unfortunately, they do so without Stewart, who died in a plane accident just four months after his most defining victory.
 
This is the second major of the season, with Tiger Woods having won the Masters in April. It marks an opportunity for Woods to complete the second leg of the seasonal Grand Slam for the second time in four years.
 
It also marks an opportunity for the United States Golf Association to redeem themselves after being taken to task by players, media and fans after the way they set up last years venue, Shinnecock Hills.
 
Complaints were few and far between in regards to the way Pinehurst was set up in 99. Most players ' at least those not named John Daly ' enjoyed the unique challenge the course presented. They liked the fact that the courses defense against red numbers was shifted from the fairways to the greens.
 
Only one player finished under par in 99. And he was only one stroke to the good.
 
But what a good stroke that last one was. Stewarts reaction is one of the most indelible images in golf history.
 
Mickelson can see it clearly. He doesnt need to close his eyes or watch it on tape.
 
There is one video, however, he enjoys viewing. The event took place in 2004 in Augusta, Ga. It also ends with a player making about a 15-foot putt on the final hole to win by a stroke.
 
I've actually watched that probably four or five times, yeah, Mickelson said with a laugh about the 04 Masters, which he won for his first major championship. Of course I knew the outcome then, but it was more exciting for me.
 
Come Sunday he may very well want a copy of the 2005 U.S. Open for his own collection.
 
Five for the Title:
 
Phil Mickelson
No one this week will be a more sentimental choice to win than Mickelson. And no one should be a more favored pick than Mickelson either. The left-hander has a short game like no other, which is critical to scoring and saving shots around Pinehursts greens, which Woods likened to upside-down bowls. Mickelson has three runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open, and they have all come on non-traditional Open venues: Pinehurst, 1999; Bethpage Black, 2002; Shinnecock, 2004. While most of the top players were competing at the Memorial two weeks ago, Mickelson got in some quality practice time at Pinehurst. He then tried to stir up his competitive juices last week at Congressional, where he tied for 29th in the Booz Allen Classic after a disappointing, closing 74.
 
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods is seeking his third U.S. Open victory in the last six years.
The last time Woods won the Masters, he went on to win the U.S. Open, and the golf world was abuzz with Grand Slam talk. Its just a murmur right now, but should he win this week cover your ears. Like Mickelson, Woods already has a couple of Pinehurst practice rounds under his belt, playing the course last week. But while Mickelson reportedly took seven hours during one round to familiarize himself with the layouts intricacies, Woods reportedly completed two rounds in about five hours. Woods, who finished two back of Stewart in 99, tied for third in his last start at the Memorial. He said that his game is in great shape, despite his historic missed cut at the Byron Nelson.
 
Vijay Singh
Singh tied Woods for third place six years ago at Pinehurst. He did so thanks to leading the field in scrambling. Singh missed 36 of 72 greens in regulation at Pinehurst in 99, but still made par or better on 27 of those occasions. If the ever-accurate Singh can get his ball to finish on the green only half of the time, you know scrambling is going to be an important category this week. Singh would dearly love to win the U.S. Open; not because of this years venue, but because it would give him three legs of the career Grand Slam. To do so, however, hell have to find the form that has led to three wins and seven top-3s this season. In his last two starts, Singh has a missed cut and a tie for 29th.
 
Retief Goosen
The defending champion doesnt have very many positive memories in relation to his last competitive foray to Pinehurst. He shot 75-82 to miss the cut by 10 shots. Of course, that was a much different Goosen ' one who hadnt won two U.S. Open titles. Putting was the key to Stewarts success in 99, as he led the field in putting average. Goosen is a tremendous clutch putter. He needed only 11 swipes over his final nine holes in winning at Shinnecock last year. On a course that emphasizes the importance of the short game, Goosen should be confident in his chance of becoming just the second player (Curtis Strange, 1988-89) in over 50 years to repeat as champion.
 
Jim Furyk
Weve been pushing Furyk as a favorite hard over the last month, and hes performed fairly well. He closed in 64-68 to tie for eighth at the Memorial two weeks ago. Last week, however, he tied for 37th. Furyk, like Goosen, is a great clutch putter. He has one U.S. Open title (2003 at Olympia Fields) to his credit, and has total package to add another one.
 
Playing Out the Front Nine:
 
Four more players to keep an eye on
 
*Ernie Els, who is a two-time U.S. Open champion. Els was in contention to win his third Open trophy last year, but shot 80 in the final round at a baked-out Shinnecock. Els missed the cut here in 99 and admits to having a greater affinity for the championships more traditional, tree-lined courses.
 
*Chris DiMarco, who lost to Woods in a playoff at this years Masters. It should be interesting to see how DiMarco fares in his first major since that difficult defeat at Augusta. He tied for ninth last year at Shinnecock for his best-ever Open finish. He also leads the tour in putting average, which should be a critical statistic this week.
 
*Luke Donald, who is among the chic picks this week. Donald has the consistency to eventually be a U.S. Open champion. He tied for 18th in his lone Open appearance at Bethpage Black in 2002. In addition to putting average, another statistical category of importance this week is scrambling. Donald is tied with Jose Maria Olazabal for first on tour in this department. Tony Jacklin, however, is the last European player to win the Open, doing so in 1970.
 
*David Duval, who led the field in greens hit in regulation in 99 at Pinehurst. Duval most certainly wont win this week, but hes definitely worth keeping an eye on. He hasnt played since missing the cut at the Masters. In between the seasons first two majors, he became a first-time father and has been working with his former college coach, Puggy Blackmon, in hopes of finding his old swing.
 
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    McIlroy, Rahm betting co-favorites after Open Round 1

    By Will GrayJuly 19, 2018, 10:10 pm

    They're both three shots off the lead, but after starting The Open with rounds in the 60s Rory McIlroy and Jon Rahm are now betting co-favorites to lift the claret jug at Carnoustie.

    McIlroy is four years removed from his Open triumph at Royal Liverpool, while Rahm remains in search of his first major title. Both carded rounds of 2-under 69 in Scotland to sit three shots off the lead of Kevin Kisner. While McIlroy started the tournament at 16/1 and Rahm at 20/1, they're now dead even at 10/1 in updated odds at the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook.

    Kisner started the week at 200/1, but after an opening-round 66 he's quickly been trimmed to 25/1. Tony Finau sits one shot behind Kisner and is now listed behind only McIlroy and Rahm at 12/1 after starting the tournament at 60/1.

    On the other side of the coin, consensus pre-tournament betting favorite Dustin Johnson fell from 12/1 to 100/1 following an opening 76 while Masters champ Patrick Reed shot a 4-over 75 to plummet from 30/1 to 200/1. Trailing by five shots following an opening-round 71, Tiger Woods' odds remained unchanged at 25/1 as he seeks a 15th career major title.

    Here's a look at the revised betting odds heading into the second round at Carnoustie:

    10/1: Rory McIlroy, Jon Rahm

    12/1: Tony Finau

    14/1: Justin Thomas, Rickie Fowler

    20/1: Francesco Molinari

    25/1: Tiger Woods, Alex Noren, Henrik Stenson, Kevin Kisner

    30/1: Jordan Spieth, Zach Johnson, Tommy Fleetwood, Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka

    40/1: Ryan Moore, Jason Day

    50/1: Erik Van Rooyen, Brandon Stone, Matt Kuchar

    60/1: Danny Willett, Thomas Pieters, Marc Leishman, Thorbjorn Olesen, Russell Henley, Matthew Southgate

    80/1: Webb Simpson, Adam Scott, Patrick Cantlay, Brendan Steele, Kevin Na

    100/1: Dustin Johnson, Zander Lombard, Sung Kang, Paul Casey, Louis Oosthuizen, Xander Schauffele, Chris Wood, Pat Perez, Luke List, Charley Hoffman

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    Despite 78, Lincicome savors PGA Tour experience

    By Randall MellJuly 19, 2018, 9:41 pm

    Two bad holes derailed Brittany Lincicome in her historic start Thursday at the Barbasol Championship, but they couldn’t wipe the smile off her face afterward.

    It might have been the most fun she ever had shooting a 78.

    Lincicome joined Babe Zaharias, Shirley Spork, Annika Sorenstam, Suzy Whaley and Michelle Wie as the only women to tee it up in a PGA Tour event when she striped her opening tee shot down the middle Thursday at Keene Trace Golf Club in Nicholasville, Ky.

    A double bogey at her ninth hole and a triple at her 16th might have spoiled her chances at joining Zaharias as the only women to make a 36-hole cut in a PGA Tour event, but it didn’t spoil her experience.

    “I did what I wanted to do, with having fun,” Lincicome said. “I think I nailed that part pretty well.

    “I love playing with the guys. It's so much fun, being inside the ropes with them. Hopefully, I can get a good one tomorrow.”

    Lincicome, 32, held her own for 16 holes, playing them in 1 over par, but those two big numbers left her tied for last place when she signed her scorecard, though other players remained on the course.

    At 6 over, Lincicome is 13 shots behind the leader, probably seven or eight shots off the projected cut line, but she savored the experience. She arrived wanting to inspire young girls to dream big, and to bring some extra attention to a title sponsor who means so much to her. She represents Pure Silk, part of the Barbasol family.

    Sam Ryder, who joined Conrad Shindler playing alongside Lincicome, was impressed with the way Lincicome carried herself.

    “I would play with her every day if she wanted to,” said Ryder, who opened with a 68. “She's just a great person.

    “Even though I know she's probably a little disappointed with her final score, she had a smile on her face all day.”

    Lincicome, an eight-time LPGA winner, made her first birdie at her 12th hole, dropping a 30-foot putt, but she wasn’t happy with her putter much of the day. She missed three other good birdie chances, a 4-footer at her eighth hole, an 8-footer at her 10th and a 12-footer at the last.

    “Pretty happy with my game overall,” Lincicome said. “I had two bad holes, but I drove it well. I did all the things I said I needed to do, but my putter let me down today.”

    After piping her first drive, Lincicome opened with three consecutive pars.

    “I was actually calmer than I thought I was going to be,” she said. “I thought I was going to be a nervous wreck. After the first tee shot, I was pretty happy that I found the fairway.”

    Lincicome said Ryder and Shindler made her feel welcome. So did the crowds.

    “It was great,” she said. “I could feel the energy of the crowd support me. Every time I hit a good driver or good shot, they would cheer for me, which was great.

    “Conrad and Sam were so nice. I couldn't have asked for a better pairing. They were very welcoming, and we were interacting, they were asking me questions, and it was great.”

    On Tuesday, Lincicome said a key to her play would be hitting fairways. She did that, hitting 10 of 14, but she was taking in longer clubs than she does in LPGA events, with Keene Trace set up at 7,168 yards. That’s 600 yards longer than she played last week at the LPGA’s Marathon Classic, where she finished second. She hit just 8 greens in regulation in this PGA Tour start.

    Lincicome is nicknamed “Bam Bam.” She is one of the LPGA’s longest drivers, but she was typically 30 to 40 yards behind Ryder and Shindler after hitting her driver. She averaged 259 yards per drive, Ryder 289 yards.

    “She had a couple birdie putts that she could have made,” Ryder said. “If she made a couple of those, might've been a little bit different, just to get a little bit of momentum. Who knows?”

    Lincicome’s biggest challenges were the par 3s.

    At the 18th, playing 195 yards, she mis-hit her tee shot, knocking it in the water, short of the green. She took a penalty, moved up to a forward tee, dropped and hit into a right greenside bunker. She got up and down from there for a 5.

    At the seventh, playing 198 yards, she missed wild right and deep. From a tough spot in the rough, she left her pitch short of the green. She chipped her third past the hole and to the fringe, where she took three putts from 20 feet.

    Afterward, Lincicome wasn’t dwelling on the bad shots. She was focused on going to sign autographs for all the fans waiting for her, including all the little girls who came out to see her.

    “I need to go back over there and sign,” she said. “Any time I can influence a child, especially a girl, obviously I want to get them involved with the LPGA, as much as possible.”

    Her overall assessment of her day?

    “It was a great experience,” she said.

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    Watch: Full replays of The Open coverage

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 19, 2018, 8:55 pm

    NBC Sports and Golf Channel are showcasing nearly 50 hours of live coverage of the 147th Open. Missed anything? Well, you can catch up right here. Click on the links below for replays from Carnoustie, broken down into daily segments:

    Thursday, Day 1 (Times ET)

    Noon-4PM (Watch): Tiger Woods was up and down in the afternoon, as winds picked up a little and no one could catch Kevin Kisner. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Woods, Russell Knox and Hideki Matsuyama.

    1:30-8:25AM (Watch): Defending champion Jordan Spieth got off to a good start, while Kevin Kisner (66) set the early pace. Click here or on the image below to watch. Also, click here to watch the full replay of the early marquee group: Rickie Fowler, Jon Rahm and Chris Wood.

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    Knox relishes round with 'mythical figure' Woods

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 19, 2018, 8:48 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Russell Knox was expecting the worst and hoping for the best Thursday at The Open.

    Playing with Tiger Woods tends to have that effect.

    The native Scot received a treat earlier this week when he saw his name on the tee sheet alongside his boyhood idol, Woods.

    “Felt good out there, but obviously my swing, it was just like I had too much tension,” Knox said after an opening 73. “I just wasn’t letting it go as normal. First round with Tiger, I expected to feel a little bit different. The way I felt was better than the way I swung.”

    Knox said that he was nervous playing alongside Woods, a player he’d only encountered on the range. “He’s almost like a mythical figure,” he said.

    But after a while, he settled into the rhythm of the round at Carnoustie.


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


    “I thought it would be worse,” he said, “I feel like I should know what I’m doing. It’s cool playing with Tiger, but I’ve got to get over that. I’m here to win, not just enjoy my walk around the course.”

    Knox probably had more interaction with Woods than he anticipated, if only because the third member of the group, Japan’s Hideki Matsuyama, keeps to himself because of the language barrier.

    “It’s kind of a blur,” Knox said. “It’s like, Oh, I’m chatting away with Tiger here like normal. I don’t even remember what I was saying.”

    There have been countless stories from this year as the next generation of players – guys who grew up watching Woods dominate the sport – get paired with Woods for the first time.

    It was no less special for Knox on Thursday.

    “It’s nice for him to say things like that,” Woods said, “and we enjoyed playing with each other. Hopefully we’ll play a little bit better tomorrow.”