Four-time major winner Phil Mickelson entered last week's Pebble Beach tournament without a PGA Tour success since April 2011, but now the American golfer has a chance for his second victory in a week.
Phil Mickelson's rivalry with Tiger Woods has provided some of golf's best stories of the past decade, and that battle for supremacy was renewed at Pebble Beach on Sunday as both sought to re-establish themselves as the PGA Tour's marquee names.
Sports Illustrated will announce its choice for Sportsman of the Year on Nov. 30. Here's one of the nominations for that honor by an SI writer. Phil Mickelson started and finished this year with some spectacular golf. He opened 2009 with victories on two of the Tour's best courses, Riviera and Doral, and then at the Masters shot a thrilling final round 67 that didn't quite earn him another green jacket but definitely stole the show. This fall Mickelson twice dusted Tiger Woods on Sunday to nab important trophies -- at the Tour Championship and then more recently at a glittery new World Golf Championship in Shanghai, where Phil dazzled new fans to the game with his good play and good humor.
When a victorious Phil Mickelson walked off the final green after winning The Players on Sunday, he threw his arm around new coach and said, "First of many, Butch." But things weren't always so warm and fuzzy between instructor Butch Harmon and his new prized pupil. Just four years ago Harmon--who at the time was coaching Tiger Woods--slammed the then-majorless Mickelson, saying he would never win a big title unless he got over his "pathetic" obsession with driving the ball huge distances.
Phil Mickelson was playing so well at the Players last week, and has such a good record at this week's AT&T Classic at TPC Sugarloaf (three W's, last year by 13 strokes), it seemed well within the realm of possibility that the surging lefty might take advantage of a little-used Tour bylaw and parlay his Sawgrass victory Sunday into a late entry for Sugarloaf. How could he lose? It seemed he would be almost guaranteed to prevail, guaranteed to pad his FedEx Cup and World Ranking points, to edge closer to Tiger, to fatten his bank account by another $972,000.
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla., May 13 -- It was a two-man race in the final round of The Players on Sunday, but don't believe everything you saw on NBC. Yes, there was Phil Mickelson, the winner of 30 Tour titles, including three majors. There was his caddie, Jim MacKay (a.k.a. Bones). And there was the kid Mickelson was playing against, the 6-foot-2-inch, 165-pound winner of one John Deere Classic, Sean O'Hair (a.k.a. Bonier).
New Orleans is known for minting first-time winners, but Nick Watney's slow waltz to victory at the Zurich Classic last weekend contained very little suspense, especially not after last year's heart-stopper by Chris Couch.
I'll get right to the point: I think it's time for Phil Mickelson to make a coaching change from Rick Smith to Butch Harmon. Here's why: Ten months ago Mickelson was on the verge of winning the U.S. Open and making a serious run at knocking Tiger Woods from the top spot in the World Ranking. Now Mickelson is a distant fourth in the ranking and has a horde of whippersnappers gaining on him fast. The cause of the slide? Mickelson's swing is a mess.
AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) -- They walked off Augusta National much the way they came on it, two by two, bundled against the cold. Their misery finally over, they trudged into the scorer's shack where the carnage could be tallied.
(AP) -- About the only negative memory Phil Mickelson has of Sunday at the Masters last year was finishing his third round in the morning. The sudden clicks of a camera from the tower over the 18th tee when he was at the top of his swing led to a wild shot and ultimately a bogey that reduced his lead to one shot.
Tiger Woods has changed even the nomenclature of golf. He gave us Tiger Slam, idiomatic for winning four major championships in a row, but not in the same calendar year. And he originated cold-shafting, the term for starting predawn practice rounds without so much as a warmup shot.
THEY READ LIKE HANDWRITTEN notes from a bursting-proud grandmother. "Your beautiful children are very fortunate to have such a loving, devoted father. Congratulations on your life, Phil! You are most deserving."Or like cards that your sister might select from the "Encouragement" rack at the Hallmark store.
Say this about Phil Mickelson -- he gives good press conference. After four months in hibernation, "Phil the Thrill" finally turned up this week at the Bob Hope Classic, giving us the chance for another installment of "What Phil Was Really Thinking."