Wie Mickelson and Other Thoughts

By Kraig KannJanuary 23, 2004, 5:00 pm
On Tuesday nights Sprint Pre-Game the conversation centered around a 14-year old whos taking a week off, and a 33-year old whos taking more on than just this week.
Michelle Wie stomped around the Sony Open like shed been playing the game forever and playing most of that forever with the guys.
My take on Michelle is quite simple. The props are most-deserved and well-earned. And whats all the negative fuss about? Since when do we need to waste space or oxygen talking negatively about the opportunity she was given or the possibilities that might come because of her fantastic display? The circus talk is just a bit overboard.
Are we, as a collective group of golf fanatics, not in favor of growth in our sport? If Michelle brought more folks to the course to watch the tournament - was that bad? If more youngsters pick up the game because of what the 14-year old accomplished ' is that not a good thing?
If either of my young daughters finds inspiration in watching Wies explosive athletic ability and electric smile while playing against the best players in the world (albeit men) then I say, Where next! Remember the PGA Tour slogan Anythings Possible? Michelle proved it. Isnt that what we want our kids to believe?
My take on Phil Mickelson is more optimistic than some. Ive talked with a few players on the PGA Tour who feel as though his climb back to status among the legitimate threats to Tiger will cause some serious leg pain. The theory centered on his love for length and his disdain for conformity. Look at his stats from a year ago. They were un-lefty-like to say the least. I believe Mickelson himself called his play from 130 yards and in pathetic. His world ranking took a tumble from second to 16th. Need any more of a wake-up call? Not when youre talented enough to reach the top.
Truth be told, and Phil told it Tuesday in his press conference from the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, Mickelson and his wife Amy survived more than just bad stats a year ago. The birth of their child nearly cost Lefty his wife and his newborn. So tell me that wouldnt cause you to lose some focus. Losing your golf ball off the tee is one thing. Losing your every day world is another. Golf is just a game. Remember?
And because of that, I say Phil has something more to play for. If Tiger finds motivation in the smallest of things, Phil can certainly find some extra fight for something big like his family. Mickelson should win at least twice every year. And this year, I think hell do just that. By the way, Wednesday Mickelson took the 3-wood out of his bag in favor of a 1-iron, and geared down his golf ball as well. In the hope of finding more control, he might just leave the Hope with a win.
Here are a few other things.. 2004 from where I sit:
1. Geoff Ogilvy and Pat Perez will have breakthrough years.
2. Paul Stankowski and Tommy Tolles will have comeback years.
3. Chad Campbell will have a Ryder Cup year.
4. Zach Johnson may actually surpass lofty expectations.
5. Fellow Nationwide grads Bo Van Pelt and Ryan Palmer are more than capable.
6. Hal Sutton becomes a television star at ABC.
7. Steve Flesch is doing the same here at The Golf Channel.
8. Last year was no fluke for Kenny Perry.
9. Is there a tougher hombre than Jerry Kelly?
10. Is there a quieter budding star than Briny Baird?
Is there anything better than speculation? Thats whats so great about this game. We never know er make that, Wie never know, now do Wie? See ya late Sunday on the Sprint Pre-Game after TGCs coverage of the Champions Tours Mastercard Championship.
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    Van Rooyen holes putt after ball-marker ruling

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:50 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Erik van Rooyen was surveying his 10-footer for par, trying to get a feel for the putt, when his putter slipped out of his hand and dropped onto his ball marker.

    The question, then, was whether that accident caused his coin to move.

    The rules official looked at various camera angles but none showed definitively whether his coin moved. The ruling was made to continue from where his coin was now positioned, with no penalty.

    This was part of the recent rules changes, ensuring there is no penalty if the ball or ball maker is accidently moved by the player. The little-used rule drew attention in 2010, when Ian Poulter accidentally dropped his ball on his marker in Dubai and wound up losing more than $400,000 in bonus and prize money.

    After the delay to sort out his ruling Friday, van Rooyen steadied himself and made the putt for par, capping a day in which he shot even-par 71 and kept himself in the mix at The Open. He was at 4-under 138, just two shots off the clubhouse lead.

    “I wanted to get going and get this 10-footer to save par, but I think having maybe just a couple minutes to calm me down, and then I actually got a different read when I sat down and looked at it again,” he said. “Good putt. Happy to finish that way.”

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    Lyle birdies last hole in likely his final Open start

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 4:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – If this was Sandy Lyle’s final Open appearance, he went out in style.

    Playing on the final year of his automatic age exemption, the 60-year-old Scot buried a 30-foot birdie on the last hole. He missed the cut after shooting 9-over 151 over two rounds.

    “I was very light-footed,” he said. “I was on cloud nine walking down the 18th. To make birdie was extra special.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Lyle, who also won the 1988 Masters, has missed the cut in his last eight majors, dating to 2014. He hasn’t been competitive in The Open since 1998, when he tied for 19th.

    To continue playing in The Open, Lyle needed to finish in the top 10 here at Carnoustie. He’d earn a future exemption by winning the Senior British Open.

    “More punishment,” he said.

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    DJ, Thomas miss cut at Open; No. 1 up for grabs

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 3:35 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – The top two players in the world both missed the cut at The Open, creating the possibility of a shakeup at the top of the rankings by the end of the weekend.

    Dustin Johnson became the first world No. 1 since Luke Donald in 2011 to miss the cut at the year’s third major.

    Johnson played solidly for all but the closing stretch. Over two rounds, he was 6 over par on the last three holes. He finished at 6-over 148.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Thomas added to what’s been a surprisingly poor Open record. Just like last year, when he struggled in the second round in the rain at Royal Birkdale, Thomas slumped to a 77 on Friday at Carnoustie, a round that included three consecutive double bogeys on Nos. 6-8. He finished at 4-over 146.

    It’s Thomas' first missed cut since The Open last year. Indeed, in three Open appearances, he has two missed cuts and a tie for 53rd.  

    With Johnson and Thomas out of the mix, the No. 1 spot in the rankings is up for grabs this weekend.

    Justin Rose, Brooks Koepka and Jon Rahm all can reach No. 1 with a victory this week.

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    TT Postscript: Woods (71) makes cut, has work to do

    By Tiger TrackerJuly 20, 2018, 3:32 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Here are a few things I think I think after Tiger Woods shot a second consecutive even-par 71 Friday in the second round. And yes, he made the cut:

    • Tiger said all 71s are not created equal. On Thursday, he made three birdies and three bogeys. On Friday, he made four birdie and four bogeys. Which round was better? The first. His theory is that, despite the rain, conditions were easier in the second round and there were more scoring opportunities. He didn't take advantage.

    • This is the first time since the 2013 Open at Royal Lytham & St. Annes that Tiger shot par or better in each of the first two rounds of a major. That’s quite a long time ago.

    • Stat line for the day: 11 of 15 fairways, 13 of 18 greens, 32 total putts. Tiger hit one driver and two 3-woods on Thursday and four drivers on Friday, only one which found the fairway. An errant drive at the second led to him sniping his next shot into the gallery


    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    • In his own words: “I could have cleaned up the round just a little bit. I got off to not exactly the best start, being 2 over through three, but got it back. The golf course was a little bit softer today, obviously. It rains, and we were able to get the ball down a little bit further, control the ball on the ground a little bit easier today, which was nice.”

    • At some point Tiger is going to have to be more aggressive. He will be quite a few shots off the lead by day’s end and he'll have a lot of ground to make up. Hitting irons off the tee is great for position golf, but it’s often leaving him more than 200 yards into the green. Not exactly a range for easy birdies.

    • Sure, it’s too soon to say Tiger can’t win a fourth claret jug, but with so many big names ahead of him on the leaderboard, it’s unlikely. Keep in mind that a top-six finish would guarantee him a spot in the WGC: Bridgestone Invitational in two weeks. At The Players, he stated that this was a big goal.

    • My Twitter account got suspended momentarily when Tiger was standing over a birdie putt on the 17th green. That was the most panicked I’ve been since Tiger was in contention at the Valspar.