Mickelson Grabs Early Advantage
And due to his efforts, he leads the way with money earned with $100,000, followed by Tiger Woods and his good buddy Mark O'Meara, both with $75,000 and three-time winner Fred Couples coming in with $50,000.
Returning to its regular format where whoever has the best score wins the hole, there was a lot more money being won compared to last year, when not a single skin was earned on Saturday. A year ago, no one could win a skin unless he validated it by having at least a share of the best score on the next hole.
So this year the 45-year-old O'Meara took advantage of the easier format by knocking in a birdie on the par-3 3rd after a beautiful iron shot to two feet. The hole was worth $75,000 and three skins after halves on the first and second holes.
After lipping out an eagle putt on the par-5th, Tiger got on the board with a birdie-2 on the par-3 4th that was worth two skins and $50,000.
Woods came right back on the par-5 fifth with a monster 3-wood to the green that set up a tap-in birdie that gave him three skins for the day and a total of $75,000.
Mickelson finally got on track after spending the early part of the round in bushes, hitting right-handed shots and basically just being Phil - all over.
He threw a dart at the short par-4 7th to within three feet, but O'Meara was also up to the task, he too knocking one tight for birdie.
At the par-3 eighth, Lefty fired his approach from 148 yards to about four feet. After watching Couples, Woods and O'Meara miss their birdie tries, Mickelson rolled in his birdie for two skins and $100,000.
'You can hit the ball all over the map,' said Mickelson. 'Tiger played the best of all four of us. But I was able to get some skins because each hole gives us a fresh opportunity to win.'
Couples, who won the event in 1995, 1996 and 1999, needed a spectacular eagle at the ninth to finally wrestle some money away from the others. His 5-iron from a sidehill lie in the rough found it's way to within four feet of the hole, and the ensuing putt gave him a lone skin and $50,000.
'I thought there would be an eagle there. I just didn't think it would be mine,' said Couples, who tied Jack Nicklaus with his record-tying ninth appearance at The Skins Game this weekend.
It was only the fourth time in the 20 years of the Skins Game that all four players had money in their pocket after the first nine holes.
The first six holes are worth $25,000 each, the next six holes are worth $50,000, the next five holes are worth $70,000, and the 18th hole is worth $200,000.
Full Coverage of the 2002 Skins Game
Weather extends Barbasol to Monday finish
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.
Watch: Spectator films as Woods' shot hits him
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.
Molinari retirement plan: coffee, books and Twitter
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.
Molinari had previously avoided Carnoustie on purpose
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.
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.