I think I’ve been a little too overly excited for the the upcoming US Open at Pebble Beach, mainly because it’s at my former workplace, which is why I started the stories from Pebble Beach series earlier this year. I’ve never seen the course set at an open level, but know that even back when I was working there from 2004-2006 they were continually adding in obstacles and changing tee boxes to make the course tougher for this very event. Hopefully this time around it won’t be a blowout like the 2000 US Open at Pebble where Tiger won by a ridiculous 15 strokes. It sounds like nearly every hole has been changed since Tiger’s dominating US Open, whether it’s an added bunker or trees, a little extra length off the tee, narrowed fairways (they moved many fairways closer to the cliffs), etc. We all know about the length of the rough in the Open, and that will surely cause the players the most grief over this weekend. It sounds like it’s going to be a chilly weekend in the Monterey Penninsula, so hopefully the wind kicks up too making it tougher to shoot low. I’d like to see some 4 or 5 irons being used on the famous 109 yard par 3 7th hole. Here’s a few players that I’ll be looking forward to watching how their weekend unfolds… Continue reading
Tag Archives: Phil Mickelson
Early US Open Storlines
You may remember back in my first edition of Pebble Beach Stories, I wrote how much I despise the Fijian Bastard, Vijay Singh. Today I saw that Vijay missing the cut at the Byron Nelson Championship last Friday dropped him from the 51st ranked player to the 59th ranked player. That’s not all that exciting in itself, but it has forced him to play in a 36-hole playoff to try and qualify for the US Open at Pebble Beach. It could be the first time he has missed the US Open since 1994, and I hope he chokes in the qualifier so this does in fact happen. Not just to see him struggle, but so he’s not at Pebble creating hell for my former co-workers on the driving range! The part that I find most entertaining is Tony Romo could actually be in the US Open and Vijay could be a spectator. Couldn’t have drawn this up any better myself!
It’s been all over the newswires the last couple days that Phil Mikelson could be the #1 ranked player with a win at the Colonial this weekend. He would only be only the third player since 1998 to be ranked number 1, that isn’t named Tiger (David Duval and Vijay are the only other two to hold the #1 spot). If Phil doesn’t do very well, he will most likely still be #2, but if Lee Westwood, currently #3 pulls out a victory, he could conceivable jump Phil in the rankings. Tiger is supposed to play again next weekend, but no matter who ends up being in first come June it could set up to be a great storyline for the US Open. Despite it being a great major tournament, adding in the question of who will be the #1 golfer adds that much more drama. A non-US Open related story, Tiger might not be invited to the Ryder Cup according to captain Corey Pavin. I’m not buying it, but he is the 11th ranked American this year, so there’s a chance, but I’d say that’s a slim one since golf will want him to be in there for the ratings if he’s healthy. I think Pavin is just trying to pull in a little attention while he can!
Phillin the Love at Augusta
It was quite a fun weekend of golf, even if you aren’t that into the sport. There were plenty of memorable players and shots that made it interesting and fun to watch. The whole time I was waiting for the wheels to fall off for Phil, instead I was pleasantly surprised it was Tiger falling apart on Sunday. There were a lot of fun story lines that kept me from changing the channel, including 50 year old Freddy making a push, Anthony Kim coming out of nowhere, Lee Westwood playing solid, but not quite pulling it out in a major once again, and a lot of great golf shots in between. Continue reading
The Chinese Liked the Big White Guy!
Lao Mi or Phil Mickelson won the HSBC Championship in Shanghai on Sunday, which was really Saturday here in America. Highlighted in Nanfung Daily was how Phil might be ranked second in the world, but he was number one in approachability. This comes to no surprise of the Americans, as we’ve always felt closer to Phil than Tiger. I just found it interesting that Tiger wasn’t more well received, since he is in fact Asian. I guess they aren’t that big on half Chinese. I figured that alone would win him a good chunk of the popularity vote. The paper cited how Phil would hang around and sign autographs, but Tiger would leave immediately. It also said good luck getting Tiger to acknowledge you even if you are one inch from him! Once again, we see that Tiger is just a machine, and probably is the one reason I still root against him to this day.
In the end it was Laohu (Tiger) vs. Lao Mi (Phil), and Laohu only really had one good moment during the day sinking a birdie from about 14 feet away. He was constantly distracted by camera’s clicking during his backswing, and was quoted “I couldn’t wait to get out of here.” Phil on the other hand was giving the classic high-five to everybody that he walked by as he edged Els out for the victory by one stroke! Hopefully Phil is getting back on track after a disappointing season last year. His family seems to be okay, so now we’ll see if his focus goes back to the golf course!
What Else Could You Ask for From the PGA Playoffs?
The Tour Championship certainly heated up today, as old man Kenny Perry took the lead shooting six under! The ageless Perry now has a two shot lead on Tiger, and a four shot lead on the surprise of the day, Phil Mickelson. The FedEx Cup wraps up tomorrow, and the possible $10 million bonus coupled with the $1.35 million first prize in the Tour Championship could make there be an $11.35 million dollar putt on the par 3, 18th green of East Lake Golf Club. I’m not going out on a limb to say that this could be the most expensive putt of all time. Tough to really foresee anyone but Tiger winning this even if he is two strokes out, but both Perry and Woods have a very good shot at making this amazingly pricey putt. Also there is the possibility for Stricker, O’Hair, and Harrington could make the pay day putt, but they will need an amazing day to make that happen. If you had to pick someone, it’s impossible to pick against Tiger when the pressure is on.
The fun part of today was seeing Phil get into a good groove as he shot four under! It’s been a few months since he was close to the top of the leaderboard, so hopefully he can take something positive going into next season. I can’t think of one person that roots against the guy, and it’s pretty remarkable to be liked across the board the way he is. He’s had about as tough of a year as anyone could have with family health problems. Hopefully he’ll come out of the gates on fire tomorrow, and give us a show! It’s always fun when he’s in the hunt! Here’s a good interview with Phil, after today’s round today.
Q. You’re going to be in contention here for the first time in a while.
PHIL MICKELSON: It feels great. I haven’t been in contention since the Open. It’s been a few months, mainly because of my putting, and again, I look back on Thursday where I threw six shots away from three holes, otherwise I’d be leading. But to come back the way I have and play the way I have, I feel like I’m playing some really good golf, that no matter how many shots back I am, I think I’ll still be a factor.
If Tiger is Superman, does Padraig Harrington have any Kryptonite in his bag?
Is Padriag Harrington the next in line on the PGA’s attempt to find a rival for Tiger? With Woods looking about ready to wrap up his 15th major, there has been a buzz around Harrington (the defending champion of the event) playing very well for a second week in a row. Phil Mickelson and all of his troubles this year hasn’t put together much of a challenge on Tiger’s thrown, but he has been in and out of golf all season for obvious family reasons. Truthfully what can you expect from Phil if he isn’t able to properly practice and prepare himself to play at the highest level. Today, Harrington was quoted saying he wanted to play with Tiger in the final group. Harrington unfortunately didn’t get his wish as Y.E. Yang will play with him in the final group Sunday. Yang actually beat Tiger when he was in China at a tournament, but I have a feeling this will be a little different. Every player that gets paired with Tiger shoots an average of three shots higher than him, so I don’t see tomorrow playing out differently. It has to be tough playing with a gallery of Tiger’s size surrounding you all over the course.
I’m all for Paddy being the next contender to Tiger though, because last weekend he was paired with Tiger in the final round of the Buick Open, and held his lead after the 15th hole lead by 1 stroke.
Something weird happened on the 16th hole though, as even Woods came off the course furious about what happened on the 16th hole, eventhough he was the beneficiary of the occurrence. Harrington had a triple bogey on the 16th hole, and it was later revealed that Harrington was pushed by one of the rules officials John Paramor, for exceeding time limits. This would be understandable if they were in an earlier group, but they were the final group playing for a tournament and a million dollars! It was completely ridiculous.
Tiger later stated “He (rules official) got in the way of a great battle. It was such a great battle for 16 holes, and we’re going at it head to head, and unfortunately that happened. I don’t know why we were put on the clock.”
Hopefully Paramor didn’t put them on the clock so they’d finish in time for the CBS to broadcast their rerularly scheduled program! Well guess what? They finished at 6 p.m. on the dot.
Either way I like Paddy’s confidence around Tiger, because it’s basically the opposite of nearly every other player on the tour. Harrington went on to say that he felt comfortable playing with Tiger. He feels that Tiger forces him to not take too cautious of an approach, and go for more aggressive shots than he normally would. Harrington struggled early this year as he’s made major changes to his swing. It looks like the last two weeks have shown that he is finding his groove with that new swing. If he becomes the next player to challenge Tiger, I’d like that. He seems to feel like he can win, and has fun with it the same way Phil does on the course. He may not be able to take Tiger down this Sunday, mainly because Tiger has won every tournament (14-0) that he held the third round lead in, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be pulling for him. I don’t know why, but I always root against Tiger. I guess I just like to root for the least likely outcome… Go Harrington and/or Lee!