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Mickelson validated by WGC-Mexico win

By Rex HoggardMarch 5, 2018, 2:00 am

MEXICO CITY – When Phil Mickelson finally trades his PGA Tour card for an AARP card, which at this rate will likely stretch well into his golden years, PGA Tour victory No. 43 will be greater than the sum of its parts.

At first blush, the frenzied shootout on Sunday at the WGC-Mexico Championship was don’t-blink stuff. Lefty began the day two strokes off the lead, was one of six players to hold at least a share of the top spot and birdied Nos. 15 and 16 to force overtime with Justin Thomas, who just happens to be the game’s hottest player.

In typical Phil fashion, he didn’t make it easy.

He missed the fairway at the 11th hole, hit his next shot into a row of hedges and weaved a pitch between trees on his way to a bogey that dropped him two strokes off the pace with seven holes to play.

He caromed two tee shots off carts paths in a three-hole stretch, hit a tree and “a bunch of people” along the way – exactly what we’ve come to expect from one of the game’s most entertaining players.

Finally, facing another missed opportunity, he did something he’d been unable to do for over four years, holing key putts and avoiding the kind of mistakes that have defined a winless drought that stretched back to the 2013 Open Championship.

But when Mickelson finally settles into retirement, it won’t be his frenzied give and take with Thomas, who played his last 36 holes at Chapultepec Golf Club in 16 under par, or those clutch putts coming down the stretch that will define his 43rd celebration. It will be the validation that comes after more than four years of trial and (largely) error.

At 47 years old, Phil Mickelson has redefined himself. He’s no longer an aging legend clinging to misplaced confidence, or a player who has struggled with focus and poor swing mechanics. Instead, he’s emerged from the longest victory slump of his career like a competitive Benjamin Button.

“I believe it's going to continue to get better each week,” Mickelson reasoned following his victory over Thomas on the first playoff hole. “I don't think that this is the apex or the peak, I think I'm going to continue to get better, I think I'm working on the right things. I knew it was going to happen, but having validation means a lot.”

 Flanked by a World Golf Championship trophy it’s easy to have that kind of confidence, but know that throughout this process Mickelson never waivered.


Full-field scores from the WGC-Mexico Championship

WGC-Mexico Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“It was always a matter of when, not if [he would win again],” said Mickelson’s brother, Tim, who replaced Jim “Bones” MacKay on Lefty’s bag last year. “I don’t think there was ever any doubt.”

He never allowed himself the indulgence of doubt, that wouldn’t be in Mickelson’s character, but that doesn’t mean Lefty was immune from the weight of his own expectations.

He failed to advance to the Tour Championship in three of the last four seasons and needed a captain’s pick for last year’s Presidents Cup to keep his team participation streak intact. Mickelson would have the occasional flashes of brilliance, like his three runner-up finishes in 2016, but he could never maintain any level of consistency.

“Over the last four-and-a-half years I've been extremely frustrated knowing that I've been able to play at this level and I haven't been doing it,” Mickelson conceded. “Knowing that I'm able to hit shots and I haven't been doing it, hitting some of the crazy shots that I've hit, that's led to a source of frustration.”

Although he’d regularly insist that he was close, there’s no substitute for results, which until the last few weeks hadn’t been there with any consistency.

But things started to change last month. He tied for fifth at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, second at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am and set the table for his WGC walk-off with a tie for sixth two weeks ago at the Genesis Open.

As the week progressed in Mexico, those mental lapses and loose swings disappeared and he began playing a brand of golf that was more calculated. He made just a single bogey over 36 holes to earn a spot in Sunday’s final group, his first appearance in an anchor pairing since the 2016 Open Championship.

After that, it was all muscle and mental memory.

The nerves, the anticipation, the excitement that come with being in contention late on a Sunday all came back to him. He wasn’t perfect, but then Lefty never is. Despite hitting just 7 of 14 fairways, Mickelson two-putted from 32 feet at the 15th hole to inch to within a shot of the lead and rolled in a 19-footer for birdie at the next to move into a three-way tie with Thomas and Tyrrell Hatton.

“I love that nervous feeling that you get when you're in contention, I just haven't felt it that often,” he said. “I was certainly nervous heading into today's round, the pre-round warm-up, all that stuff. That's all part of it, though. That's what's exciting and that's what's so fun and that's what I've missed.”

The finish was rather anti-climactic, with Mickelson two-putting for par at the first extra hole after Thomas, who earned his spot in overtime after holing out from 121 yards for eagle at the 72nd hole, missed the green and failed to make par.

But then it won’t be the relative ease of victory that will be the lasting memory of Lefty’s long-awaited bounce back, either.

He may be one of the game’s most well-versed players, with an uncanny ability to speak at length about any subject, but he’s largely endured in private the last few years, reluctant to talk about his lack of focus and swing issues. Instead, he worked harder than he ever has on his swing, body and mind.

“I know there were other victories that will have a lot of meaning, but this one is very special,” said an emotional Steve Loy, Mickelson’s longtime manager. “This guy has done a lot of things to get ready for this moment and never really got acknowledged for all the hard work and the passion and the pain he’s had to endure.”

Lefty had gone 0-for-101 since winning the ’13 Open, and there was a growing thought that his best days were behind him and the game – now dominated by a parade of players half Mickelson’s age – had moved on. Lefty had other plans.

However, and whenever, Mickelson closes out his career, his 43rd Tour title will stand out because validation can be much more meaningful than a trophy.

Just before leaving Chapultepec, bound for a much different future, Mickelson was asked if he ever thought that his victory in ’13 at Muirfield would be his last: “No, I knew that that wasn't going to be my last one. And this isn't either.”

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John Deere purse payout: Kim wins a million

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 9:07 am

Michael Kim won his first PGA Tour event, and with it, over $1 million. Here's how the purse was paid out at the John Deere Classic.

1 Michael Kim -27 $1,044,000
T2 Francesco Molinari -19 $382,800
T2 Joel Dahmen -19 $382,800
T2 Sam Ryder -19 $382,800
T2 Bronson Burgoon -19 $382,800
6 Harold Varner, III -18 $208,800
T7 Kevin Streelman -16 $168,780
T7 John Huh -16 $168,780
T7 Chad Campbell -16 $168,780
T7 Keith Mitchell -16 $168,780
T7 Andres Romero -16 $168,780
T12 Scott Brown -15 $117,450
T12 Steve Wheatcroft -15 $117,450
T12 Tyler Duncan -15 $117,450
T12 Matt Jones -15 $117,450
T16 Zach Johnson -14 $81,366
T16 Mackenzie Hughes -14 $81,366
T16 Whee Kim -14 $81,366
T16 Parker McLachlin -14 $81,366
T16 Seamus Power -14 $81,366
T16 David Hearn -14 $81,366
T16 Johnson Wagner -14 $81,366
T23 Dominic Bozzelli -13 $48,886
T23 Joaquin Niemann -13 $48,886
T23 John Merrick -13 $48,886
T23 Chris Kirk -13 $48,886
T23 Richy Werenski -13 $48,886
T23 Derek Fathauer -13 $48,886
T23 Fabian Gomez -13 $48,886
T30 Patton Kizzire -12 $36,830
T30 Jason Bohn -12 $36,830
T30 Chris Stroud -12 $36,830
T30 Robert Garrigus -12 $36,830
T34 Hunter Mahan -11 $27,453
T34 C.T. Pan -11 $27,453
T34 John Senden -11 $27,453
T34 Vaughn Taylor -11 $27,453
T34 Austin Cook -11 $27,453
T34 J.J. Henry -11 $27,453
T34 Nick Taylor -11 $27,453
T34 Cody Gribble -11 $27,453
T34 Denny McCarthy -11 $27,453
T43 Nick Hardy -10 $18,096
T43 Dylan Meyer -10 $18,096
T43 Troy Merritt -10 $18,096
T43 Steve Stricker -10 $18,096
T43 Patrick Rodgers -10 $18,096
T43 Ricky Barnes -10 $18,096
T43 Blayne Barber -10 $18,096
T50 Tom Lovelady -9 $13,990
T50 Kevin Tway -9 $13,990
T50 Hudson Swafford -9 $13,990
T50 Stuart Appleby -9 $13,990
T50 Corey Conners -9 $13,990
T55 Conrad Shindler -8 $13,108
T55 Ryan Moore -8 $13,108
T55 Ryan Blaum -8 $13,108
T55 Andrew Landry -8 $13,108
T55 Matt Atkins -8 $13,108
T60 Nick Watney -7 $12,644
T60 Lanto Griffin -7 $12,644
T60 Sam Saunders -7 $12,644
T63 Mark Wilson -6 $12,354
T63 Kelly Kraft -6 $12,354
T65 Benjamin Silverman -4 $12,006
T65 Arjun Atwal -4 $12,006
T65 Brett Stegmaier -4 $12,006
T65 J.T. Poston -4 $12,006
T69 Nicholas Lindheim -3 $11,658
T69 Tommy Gainey -3 $11,658
71 Kris Blanks -2 $11,484
MDF Chesson Hadley -3 $11,136
MDF Bill Haas -3 $11,136
MDF David Lingmerth -3 $11,136
MDF George McNeill -3 $11,136
MDF Martin Flores -3 $11,136
MDF Ryan Palmer -2 $10,730
MDF Sean McCarty -2 $10,730
MDF Andrew Putnam -1 $10,556
MDF D.J. Trahan E $10,440
MDF Brian Stuard 1 $10,324
MDF Brendon de Jonge 3 $10,208
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How to watch The Open on TV and online

By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 16, 2018, 9:00 am

You want to watch the 147th Open? Here’s how you can do it.

Golf Channel and NBC Sports will be televising 182 hours of overall programming from the men's third major of the year at Carnoustie

In addition to the traditional coverage, the two networks will showcase three live alternate feeds: marquee groups, featured holes (our new 3-hole channel) and spotlight action. You can also watch replays of full-day coverage, Thursday-Sunday, in the Golf Channel app, NBC Sports apps, and on GolfChannel.com.  

Here’s the weekly TV schedule, with live stream links in parentheses. You can view all the action on the Golf Channel mobile, as well. Alternate coverage is noted in italics:

(All times Eastern; GC=Golf Channel; NBC=NBC Sports; GC.com=GolfChannel.com or check the GLE app)

Monday, July 16

GC: 7-9AM: Morning Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: 9-11AM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

GC: 7-9PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Tuesday, July 17

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Wednesday, July 18

GC: 6AM-2PM: Live From The Open (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Thursday, July 19

GC: Midnight-1:30AM: Midnight Drive (stream.golfchannel.com)

GC: Day 1: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 1: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Friday, July 20

GC: Day 2: The Open, live coverage: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Spotlight: 1:30AM-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, Marquee Groups: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 2: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 4AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 4-5PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Saturday, July 21

GC: Day 3: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 3: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 3: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-3PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 3-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)


Sunday, July 22

GC: Day 4: The Open, live coverage: 4:30-7AM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

NBC: Rd. 4: The Open, live coverage: 7AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/theopen)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Spotlight: 4:30AM-2:30PM (www.golfchannel.com/spotlight)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, Marquee Groups: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/marqueegroup)

GC.com: Day 4: The Open, 3-Hole Channel: 5AM-2PM (www.golfchannel.com/3holechannel)

GC: Live From The Open: 2:30-4PM (www.golfchannel.com/livefromstream)

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Davies wins by 10 on 'best ball-striking round'

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 1:53 am

WHEATON, Ill. - Laura Davies immediately recognized the significance of having her name inscribed on the first U.S. Senior Women's Open trophy.

It might be a long time before anyone secures the title as emphatically as Davies did.

Davies went virtually unchallenged in Sunday's final round of the inaugural USGA championship for women 50 and older, claiming the title by 10 strokes over Juli Inkster.

''It's great seeing this (trophy) paraded down for the very first time and I get my name on it first, you know?'' Davies said. ''This championship will be played for many years and there will only be one first winner - obviously a proud moment for me to win that.''

The 54-year-old Davies shot a 5-under 68 to finish at 16-under 276 at Chicago Golf Club.

It was the English player's 85th career win, and she felt the pressure even though her lead was rarely in danger.

''I haven't won for eight years - my last win was India, 2010,'' Davies said. ''So that's the pressure you're playing under, when you're trying to do something for yourself, prove to yourself you can still win.

''So this ranks highly up there. And obviously it's a USGA event. It's hard comparing tournaments, but this is very high on my list of achievements.''

A 7-under 66 Saturday provided Davies with a five-shot lead over Inkster and what she said would be a sleepless night worrying about the pressure.


Full-field scores from the U.S. Senior Women’s Open


The World Golf Hall of Famer widened her advantage early Sunday when she birdied the par-5 second hole and Inkster made bogey. Davies said a par she salvaged at the 10th was another turning point.

''It wasn't the greatest hole I ever played, but I think that, to me, was when I really started to think I might have one hand on the trophy and just had to get the other one in there.''

Inkster shot an even-par 73. England's Trish Johnson also shot 73 to finish third, 12 shots back.

''I mean, she was absolutely spectacular this week,'' Johnson said about Davies. ''I've played against her for 35 years. Yesterday was the best I have ever seen her play in her entire career.

''She just said walking down 18 it was best ball-striking round she ever had. Considering she's won 85 tournaments, that's quite some feat.''

Danielle Ammaccapane was fourth and Yuko Saito finished fifth. Martha Leach was the top amateur, tying for 10th at 6-over 298.

Davies plans to play in the Women's British Open next month, and called this win a confidence-booster as she continues to compete against the younger generation. She finished tied for second at the LPGA's Bank of Hope Founders Cup earlier this year.

''You build up a little bit of momentum, and a golf course is a golf course,'' Davies said. ''Sometimes the field strength is a little bit different, but in your own mind if you've done something like this, 16 under for four rounds around a proper championship course, it can't do anything but fill you full of confidence.''

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Romo rallies to win American Century Championship

By Associated PressJuly 16, 2018, 12:42 am

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE, Nev. - Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo rallied from four points back to win his first American Century Championship at Lake Tahoe on Sunday.

Romo, who retired after the 2016 NFL season and is now an NFL analyst, had 27 points on the day to beat three-time defending champion Mark Mulder and San Jose Sharks captain Joe Pavelski, the the leader after the first two rounds.

''It's a special win,'' said Romo, who had finished second three times in seven previous trips to the annual celebrity golf tournament at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course. ''It feels like you're playing a tournament back home here. The day felt good for a lot of reasons.''

Romo tapped in for par, worth one point, on the 18th hole to finish with 71 points, three ahead of Mulder, the former major league pitcher. He then caught a flight to Berlin, Wis., where he was to compete in a 36-hole U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament on Monday.

The American Century Championship uses a modified Stableford scoring system which rewards points for eagles (six), birdies (three) and pars (one) and deducts points (two) for double bogeys or worse. Bogeys are worth zero points.

Pavelski had a 7-foot eagle putt on the par-5 18th that could have tied Romo, but it slid by. He finished with 66 points, tied for third with Ray Allen, who will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sept. 7.


Full-field scores from the American Century Championship


''It feels like nothing went in for me today,'' Pavelski said. ''But I couldn't ask for more than to have that putt to tie on the last hole.''

Romo plays as an amateur, so his $125,000 first-place check from the $600,000 purse will go to local charities and the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, the primary charitable arm of title sponsor American Century Investments.

Rounding out the top five were Trent Dilfer, a Super Bowl-winning quarterback with the Baltimore Ravens in 2001, and former tennis player Mardy Fish. Each had 62 points.

Golden State Warriors guard Steph Curry, who fell out of contention with a mediocre round Saturday, jumped into Lake Tahoe amidst much fanfare after losing a bet to his father, Dell. The elder Curry jumped into the lake last year, so he negotiated a 20-point handicap and won by two points.

Other notable players in the 92-player field included John Smoltz, the MLB hall of Fame pitcher who two weeks ago competed in the U.S. Senior Open and finished 10th here with 53 points; Steph Curry, who finished tied for 11th with retired Marine and wounded war hero Andrew Bachelder (50); actor Jack Wagner (16th, 47 points); Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (tied for 18th, 44 points); actor Ray Romano (tied for 71st, minus-26 points); comedian Larry the Cable Guy (tied for 77th, minus-33 points); and former NBA great Charles Barkley, who finished alone in last with minus-93 points.

The tournament drew 57,097 fans for the week, setting an attendance record for the fourth straight year.