PHIL-LING EMPTY: Phil Mickelson bogeyed three of his first six holes Saturday to fall out of contention at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. A Sunday 67 netted him a tie for 24th. Mickelson finished the first two months of the year with just one top-10 in four starts, during a period of time in which he usually has great success. In his 18 years on the PGA Tour, Mickelson has reached the Southern Swing winless only four times.
It's going to take a lot for Mickleson to NOT be the favorite at Augusta, but he's doing his best to make that happen. Of course, as soon as we start casting doubts and focusing on other players, Mickelson will start winning again. Trying to figure out this man is harder than trying to comprehend why some people think Jay Leno is funny.
HUNTER AND THE PREY: Hunter Mahan had four birdies, an eagle and no bogeys for a final-round 65 and a one-stroke victory at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He began Sunday four shots off the lead, but rallied for his second career PGA Tour victory and first in nearly three years. Mahan edged Tour rookie Rickie Fowler, who missed a 20-footer to force a playoff on the final hole of regulation.
Mahan is one of only a handful of players leaving Phoenix happy. Aside from the aforementioned Mickelson, there was: Camilo Villegas, who opened in 62 and finished T-8; Y.E. Yang, who was 6 under on the back nine Sunday and leading the tournament before yanking one into the water on 17; Anthony Kim, who was one off the 36-hole lead, but shot 76 in Round 3 and tied for 24th; and Brandt Snedeker, the 54-hole co-leader who finished bogey-double bogey-double bogey for a 7-over 78 and a tie for 43rd.
PAIR OF AIS: Ai Miyazato won the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore to become the first player since Marilynn Smith in 1966 to win the first two tournaments of the LPGA season. Miyazato, who also won in Thailand, closed in 3-under 69 for a two-stroke triumph over Cristie Kerr.
It was Miyazato's third career LPGA win, all three of which have come outside of the U.S. [she won the Evian Masters in France last year]. On the PGA Tour this might be a problem, but on the LPGA – aside from the majors – this isn't much of a concern. The ladies have 26 official tournaments in 2010; 12 of them are contested outside of the States. Miyazato will have plenty of time to celebrate her early success, as the LPGA doesn't return to action until March 25 – in California.
FEELING ALL ROSIE: Rosie Jones was named the 2011 U.S. Solheim Cup captain. The 50-year-old, 13-time LPGA winner was a member of seven Solheim Cup teams. She was 11-9-2 with a 3-3-1 singles record. The 2011 matches will be contested Sept. 23-25 at Killeen Castle in County Meath, Ireland.
So who's up for consideration the next time the matches are staged in the U.S., in 2013? Just Dottie Pepper, Juli Inkster and Meg Mallon. Pepper thinks she has no shot due to her infamous 'choking freaking dogs' comment regarding the U.S. team in 2007. She's could be right, but if so that's a shame. Pepper is more well-known for her Solheim spirit than any of her major wins. She deserves to lead a team.
NO ADE TO OFFER: Gatorade announced Friday that they were ending their endorsement deal with Tiger Woods. Nike, on the other hand, said they were sticking by Woods, while Procter & Gamble, parent company of Gillette, said they will continue to keep him out of their commericials for the time being
That's now three major sponsors who have dropped Woods in the wake of his scandal [Accenture, AT&T]. Apparently, the people at Gatorade weren't overly impressed by his mea culpa the week prior. Guess they didn't have room in their hearts to one day believe in him again.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: John Daly is set to endorse Slix Closer boxer briefs. ... Laura Davies won the New Zealand Women's Open for her 73rd career worldwide win. ... Fran Quinn won the Nationwide Tour's Panama Claro Championship ... Former PGA Tour caddie Greg Rita died Saturday night on his 54th birthday.
Things I hope to never see: a horse's head in my bed; the IRS at my door; John Daly in his underwear. ... Somebody put this lady in the World Golf Hall of Fame, please. ... Quinn earned his PGA Tour card last year by finishing 25th on the Nationwide Tour's money list. He couldn't get into the field at Phoenix, so he dropped down a level and picked up an extra $108,000. ... Rita, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2007, caddied for Curtis Strange during his back-to-back U.S. Open titles and for Daly during his 1995 Open Championship win. He is survived by his wife, Kelley, and their 4-year-old son, Nicolas.