Mickelson, McIlroy have right attitude on Quail Hollow greens

By Jason SobelMay 2, 2013, 11:42 pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There’s an excellent chance that if you showed up at your local muni and plunked down 35 bucks to play a quick 18, only to discover the greens as patchy and scratchy and splotchy and blotchy as they are at Quail Hollow Club this week, you’d soon find yourself back in the pro shop, demanding a refund or a rain check or at the very least an explanation as to whom should be blamed for ruining your afternoon.

In this case, as in the case of so many other pratfalls on the PGA Tour already this season, the blame has fallen to an increasingly stubborn woman named Mother Nature – whether it really is her fault or not. A damp, cold first four months to the year have left these normally impervious putting surfaces looking like something out of Carl Spackler’s worst nightmare.

Competitors in the Wells Fargo Championship can’t demand any refunds, but they can take their balls and go home, which is what several big-name players did prior to the opening round, offering excuses from minor injuries to “personal reasons” that only thinly veiled their true rationale. It left what was already a severely weakened field even thinner, meaning its few marquee stars were needed to carry even more of the load.


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Enter Rory McIlroy and Phil Mickelson.

There are no hard and fast rules about playing on greens that aren’t hard and fast. There are no step-by-step programs for rolling the rock on greens that are inconsistent from step to step. If there is one trick, though, it would be all about maintaining the right attitude. Like ripping a page out of Chicken Soup For the Putter’s Soul.

So it should come as little surprise that McIlroy (5-under 67) and Mickelson (4-under 68) were among the early leaders on a cool, overcast day if you had listened to their perspectives prior to teeing it up.

McIlroy: “I guess if you start missing putts, then you've got to just accept it. I don't mind because I'm not a guy that relies on my putting, per se. So it will eliminate quite a lot of the field. I don't mind that at all.”

Mickelson: “I just think we should cut the tournament a little bit of slack. It’s not that big of a deal. It should not affect scoring at all. I think we’ll make more 20- and 30-footers because we can be aggressive, and we might miss more short ones, but it shouldn’t affect scoring overall.”

Like the old slogan says: Attitude is everything.

It was Joe Ogilvie who earlier this week said of these bentgrass greens, “If you hit a good putt, it will go in. If you hit a bad putt, it might go in.” That may have been true, but attitude had plenty to do with it, too.

McIlroy needed just 29 putts while posting seven birdies, numbers which helped share not just his first overnight lead of the year, but his first under-par opening round of the year, as well.

“They're not the best greens that we've ever putted on, but they're certainly not the worst either,” he said. “The ball still rolls pretty well on them. As long as you give yourself chances for birdies, that's all you can ask.”

Mickelson struggled from Tee to Green, hitting just six fairways, but flourished where others faltered, taking just 25 putts to tie for the tournament lead so far.

“I hit the ball pretty well today and made a lot of putts on the greens,” he explained. “It was a good round.”

On a leaderboard filled with blue-collar overachievers, journeymen seeing an obvious opportunity and up-and-comers looking to make their mark, McIlroy and Mickelson are those two marquee names needed to keep mainstream interest in the tournament burgeoning throughout the weekend.

Not all elite players witnessed the day through such rose-colored glasses. One top-50 man could be heard muttering as he left the premises, “What a waste. What a waste of a day.”

It can only be assumed that he was speaking about trying to compete on greens that would leave you asking for a refund at the local muni. It obviously wasn’t easy. But if there was a trick to the trade on Thursday, it was all about attitude. So far, McIlroy and Mickelson have figured it out.

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Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

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Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

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Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

“There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

“I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

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Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

“I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”


Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship


Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

“It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

“I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”