No 2 Fan Ful-Phil-Ment

By Mercer BaggsDecember 30, 2004, 5:00 pm
2004 Stories of the YearEditor's note: We are counting down the top 10 stories in golf for the 2004 season. This is Story No. 2.
 
Phil Mickelson wears the white hat. The public ' the majority ' sees him this way. They see him sign pictures and golf balls and programs and pieces of paper by the hundreds. They see him with his pretty wife and his pretty daughters. They see him with his goofy, permanent smile.
 
They see him win; they see him lose. They see how he handles both. They love him for this.
 
They want to be Phil Mickelson. They want the pretty family and the millions of dollars and the playing golf for a living. They want this wonderful life.
 
And since they cant be him, they want for him. They want for the man who interacts with them and makes them feel a part of this wonderful life. They want what he wants.
 
They got it on April 11, 2004.
 
They had seen this all before ' at the U.S. Open and at the PGA Championship and at this very Masters Tournament.
 
They had seen him in contention for a major championship. They had seen him with his left hand on the trophy, unable to grasp it fully with his dominant right hand. They had seen him fail, again and again and again.
 
But they hadnt seen him in this particular situation ' with a share of the lead with 18 holes to play.
 
They wondered: would this be any different? This was supposed to be a new Phil Mickelson, one no longer hell-bent on power, but on precision. A Phil Mickelson reprogrammed to win major championships.
 
They would hope for something different this time ' but they would believe it only when they could actually see it.
 
And so they watched.
 
They watched as he bogeyed the third hole and the fifth and the sixth on this Sunday. They saw him fall three down when Ernie Els eagled the par-5 13th. They closed their eyes and they thought: no, this will not be any different.
 
OK, Phil, just go ahead a dump a couple of balls in the water on 12 and 13 and lets end this failed experiment.
 
No, no, instead lets birdie 12 and 13 and make this a tournament.
 
Phil did this and reopened a sea of eyes. And even when Ernie birdied 15 to go up by two, those eyes ' the thousands in Augusta and the millions around the world ' were open, wide open to hope and possibility.
 
And Phil had this same look in his eyes. He, too, believed.
 
He birdied 14 after nearly holing his approach shot. And after failing to birdie the par-5 15th, he made a birdie from 20 feet on the par-3 16th. He was tied for the lead with two holes to play.
 
Ernie could not birdie 17 or 18. And he could not watch. The tournament ' the one he wanted to win equally as much as his very popular opponent ' was no longer on his clubs, and all he could do was go to the practice range, hit a few balls, hope for a playoff, wait and listen to the crowd.
 
The crowd would certainly let Ernie, and everyone as far away as Atlanta, know of Phils fate on the final hole.
 
After a par on 17, Phil piped a drive down the middle of the fairway on 18, leaving himself 162 yards to the pin. He then hit his approach shot ' just his 30th swing on the back nine this Sunday ' just beyond the flagstick.
 
They watched him as he walked up the final hole. They saw him wave and smile, and it was for them. And this putt, should it fall, would be for them as much as him, as well.
 
They all would have to wait for the result of this putt. But this was a good thing. Phils playing companion, Chris DiMarco, was mired in the front greenside bunker. He would excavate his ball onto the green, almost on top of Phils marker ' but just beyond.
 
So Chris would have to putt first. Everyone watched, but none more studiously than Phil. Chris would miss left; Phil would make sure he did not.
 
Phils putt was said to be distanced at 18 feet between ball and hole. But its importance was immeasurable.
 
How could you measure the worth of major championship ' for a man who had never won one; for a man who had played in 47 of them; for a man who had worn this losing label like a scarlet letter?
 
And so they watched. They watched as the ball left from the putter. They watched as it tracked towards the hole. They watched as it tried to escape on the left side. They watched as it was pulled inside by the cups edge.
 
They exploded before the ball could clang the plastic bottom. They screamed and hugged and watched as their man jumped in the air and threw his hands much higher.
 
And in the distance, Ernie Els closed his eyes and shook his head. He knew. He didnt have to see.
 
They watched as Phil hugged and kissed his pretty wife and his pretty daughters. They watched as he put both arms inside a green jacket. They watched as he held aloft the replica of the Augusta National clubhouse.
 
He had always promised them that this day would come.
 
They had finally seen what they had always wanted to see. And it was better than they ever could have imagined it to be.
 
Related Links:
  • 2004 Year in Review
  • Full Coverage - 2004 Masters
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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.”