Category: Waste Management Phoenix Open


February 06, 2012

Truth & Rumors: David Feherty backs Tim Tebow for president

Posted at 12:53 PM by Mick Rouse

During his live Super Bowl special, David Feherty sat down with Tim Tebow and pressed the young QB if leading the nation could be in his future after he finishes leading mediocre football teams to playoff berths. Feherty pleaded his case to Tebow, saying, “Would you ever think of running for office? Please? Because, here’s the thing, we’ve got Romney and Gingrich here at the minute and I don’t know what anybody else thinks, but they’ve got the sort of faces you never get tired of punching.” 

Tebow didn’t completely knock the notion, though, responding, “For me, it could be something in my future. It’s something I’ll have to think about and pray about.” 

Check out an excerpt of Feherty’s interview with Tebow in the video below, as well as extended clips from his Super Bowl special. 

 

  

Golf Boys reunion 

It may not be as big news as the Beach Boys's 50th anniversary reunion and tour, but for a brief moment, Ben Crane and Bubba Watson, one-half of golf’s favorite boy band, kept the party going on TPC Scottsdale’s 16th hole. Missing in action from the impromptu concert was Rickie Fowler, who was in a different playing group at the Phoenix Open, and Hunter Mahan, who was busy getting cut in Qatar

  

I may be alone in this, but I never get sick of Ben Crane’s racing helmet and goggles. For more images of the Waste Management Open’s party hole, check out our gallery here

Nager appointed as USGA’s 62nd president 

During the USGA’s annual meeting in Houston, Glen Nager was announced as the 62nd president of North American golf’s governing body, reports Ryan Ballengee. Nager has been elected to serve a one-year term and hopes to keep the organization focused on challenges faced by predecessor Jim Hyler, including improving participation and environmental stewardship in the game. 

“At a time when the game faces increasingly complex challenges, we must recommit ourselves to the USGA’s mission,” Nager said at the annual meeting. “To sustain the game, we must do more. We have to promote a more enjoyable, more affordable and more welcoming experience for golfers – without fundamentally changing the game itself.” 

Nager, 53, resides in Washington, D.C. where he is a partner in the Jones Day law firm. He has an extensive background in constitutional law and has argued 13 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Nager is also a single-handicap golfer and was named the volunteer general counsel of the USGA in 2006. He most recently served as chairman of the USGA’s Rules of Golf, Commercial and Compensation committee.

Tweet of the Day

February 05, 2012

16th Hole Cheat Sheet at 2012 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Posted at 5:18 PM by Stephanie Wei

How do the fans at the Waste Management Phoenix Open's rowdy 16th hole create a personalized chant for every single player who comes to the tee? Easy, they have a cheat sheet.

Mike Leonard of Lakeville, Minn., collects factoids on each player and compiles "Leonard's List," which he photocopies and distributes around the crowd at 16. For example, did you know Kris Blanks was named after Kris Kristofferson? Take a look at the first page of Leonard's list:

 

List2

 

January 23, 2012

Truth & Rumors: Phil Mickelson to skip WGC-Accenture Match Play

Posted at 11:41 AM by Mick Rouse

Following his tie for 49th place at the Humana Challenge, Phil Mickelson announced that he would be skipping next month’s WGC-Accenture Match Play. Alex Miceli has the story:

Mickelson, playing in the Humana Challenge for the first time in five years, has a conflict with his children’s spring break and, as in the past, will take the week off to vacation with his three children and wife, Amy, during the Feb. 22-26 Match Play.

“I'm going to end up missing the Match Play this year as we're going to go on a family trip,” Mickelson, No. 15 in the Official World Golf Ranking, said Sunday after completing his third round here. “So as I miss that tournament, it was easier to add this one, too.”

Those wanting more of Lefty won’t have to look hard to find him. Mickelson will be making his rounds on the West Coast over the next few weeks, playing the Farmers Insurance Open, Waste Management Phoenix Open, AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am and Northern Trust Open before taking a week off with the family for a little R&R.

Coming to America

Chubby Chandler may have lost his brightest star in Rory McIlroy, but that hasn’t deterred ISM’s head honcho from seeking out new talent. Expect many of those new clients to bleed red, white and blue. While speaking with Golf Talk Central, Chandler stated that he would sign more American players this year than Europeans. 

Chandler recently set up shop in South Florida, ISM’s new American base, and has signed Peter Uihlein and Ben An in the last two months alone. 

Rex Hoggard of Golf Talk Central is also reporting that Steve Zika will take the lead on ISM’s descent into the American talent pool: 

GTC has confirmed through various sources that Steve Zika, a longtime tour representative for Ping, will be ISM’s American front-man. 

Zika was with Ping for a dozen years and worked with the company’s PGA Tour team since 2001. It was during this time that Zika fostered a relationship with Lee Westwood, No. 2 in the World Golf Ranking and a longtime member of Chandler’s stable.

Bubba gets a new ride

Contrary to what Christina Kim thinks, Bubba Watson apparently can have it all. This past weekend, Watson became the proud new owner of the original General Lee car from the “Dukes of Hazzard.” While at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Ariz., Bubba tweeted a photo of the legendary vehicle:  

Roughly five hours later, Watson sent out a follow-up tweet, exclaiming, “Just got my dream car!!!” 

Never one to shy away from the send button, Bubba has since continued to tweet about his new prized possession, including this picture of him gassing up the General: 

Watson has also contacted Notorious Whips with plans of customizing the classic Dodge Charger, including a complete restore of the inside. 

And before you even ask, yes, the horn still works. 

All in all, the General Lee set Bubba back a mere $110,000. Not too shabby considering he owns a watch worth more than four times that. Hey Bubba, just make sure you keep an eye out for Roscoe

Tweet of the Day 

 

February 07, 2011

Live Blog: Round 4 at the 2011 Waste Management Phoenix Open

Posted at 9:47 AM by Live Blogger

1:10 p.m. That's it for the Live Blog today. We had a lot of contenders in the Give That Tour Player a Nickname contest, but Mike Z gets the prize for Tiger "The Sean Foley Project" Woods. If Mike Z sends me an email at editor@golf.com, we'll send him a hat. Thanks to everyone who read and commented. See you next time!

1:08 p.m. Suggested headline for Golf.com: "Nice Guys Finish First"

1:05 p.m. Wilson drains the putt for his second (!) win of the year. Heck, this FedEx Cup might be over by March.

1:04 p.m. Jason Dufner about 5 feet short with his putt. Chance to win for Mark Wilson.

1:03 p.m. Dufner's got a loooooooonnnnnnnngggg putt for birdie.

1:01 p.m. Whoa! Mark Wilson sticks his approach close to about 6 feet on 10. This could be over soon.

12:55 p.m. Good tee shot from Wilson on the par-4 10th; Dufner in the left rough. Some highlights from the Give That Tour Player a Nickname contest (still time for more entries):

Reader Mike Howard:

For Phil I would dub him "Phil.I.Am"  
For John Daley, I might dub him "Mayor Daley"  
For David Duval, "Square D"  
For Rickie Fowler, "Flat Hat"  
For Charles Howell III, "Thurston"  
For Steve Stricker, "The Cheese Wiz"

Reader Mike Z:

Tiger Woods: "The Sean Foley Project"

Reader Scott:

Tommy Two Flubs

Reader Michael Turner:

How about Davis "Can't buy me" Love

Reader Duke "Berman" Wilson:

Vijay Of Thee I Singh

12:53 p.m. Dufner leaves his short, has a tap-in, and Wilson drains his four-footer with confidence. Onto 10...

12:51 p.m. Wilson makes a good run at his birdie putt, but it runs past the hole. Dufner for the win...

12:49 p.m. Wilson has a long putt for birdie, Dufner much closer.

12:46 p.m. Reader Doug writes: THIS JUST IN - online "expert" labels a fairway metal a wedge in a Phil Mickelson photo. Magazine debates his future....STAY TUNED for update

Doug is refering to my misidentification of Phil's club in the photo below. Personally, I'm just glad they gave Doug his Internet privileges back after the last incident.

12:45 p.m. Wilson hits his drive into a right-side fairway bunker on 18. Dufner finds the thick rough on the right. Advantage: nobody.

12:40 p.m. Little-known PGA Tour rule change this year: Every tournament must end in a sudden-death playoff. At least that's what it feels like.

12:38 p.m. Hole order for sudden-death playoff: 18, 10, 17, 18

12:35 p.m. Golf Channel's Kelly Tilghman plays it pretty straight on air, but she has more fun on Twitter. Here's Tilghman on Jason Dufner:

Jason Dufner in playoff w/Mark Wilson in Phx. Dufner lists sleeping as favorite hobby. He's in the zzzzzone. Don't wake him.

12:32 p.m. Tommy Two Gloves gets a big cheer from the fans when making par on 18 to finish at 14-under, but his mishap on 17 has given reader Scott a possible lead in today's Nickname Contest: "Tommy Two Flubs."  

12:29 p.m. Kyra Sedgwick is still the Closer as Wilson (-18) makes a good run at a birdie putt to win, but misses by a couple inches. Playoff between Wilson and Jason Dufner (-18) begins after these messages.

12:27 p.m. Even while walking dejectedly, notice how Phil's wedge driver or fairway wood is perfectly in line with his thigh. File Under: How to Walk Dejectedly Like a Tour Pro

Phil

Photo via Stephanie Wei.

12:25 p.m. Wilson, who barely missed the water with his tee shot, manages to hit his fairway bunker shot to about 18 feet. If he makes this, can he steal "the Closer" nickname from Kyra Sedgwick? Stay tuned...

12:22 p.m. Give That Tour Player a Nickname contest is heating up in the comments below. Good showing so far, but I still think it's wide open. Please keep posting.

12:19 p.m. Now Wilson almost dunks his tee shot on 18. I guess I won't be eating lunch anytime soon. With the pressure off, Two Gloves absolutely pounds one to the middle of the fairway.

12:17 p.m. Gainey makes a 7 (!) and drops to 14-under. Wilson (-18) makes another par. Birdie on 18 wins it for Wilson. Any predictions? I think he does it.

12:15 p.m. On his second chance, Two Gloves gets it on the green, but he'll have about 8 feet left for double-bogey. Meanwhile, co-leader Jason Dufner (-18) is warming up for a potential playoff.

12:13 p.m. Oh, no! Two Gloves tries to chip up to the 17th green, but the ball doesn't make it up and rolls back into the water, along with his chances to win this tournament. "I'm just trying to get it on the green," Gainey pleaded.

12:11 p.m. Still waiting for a Rules determination. While we've got some time, Tommy Two Gloves meet Jimmy Two Times...

12:06 p.m. Wilson (-18) pitches onto the green and he'll have about 18 feet for birdie. Two Gloves (-17) is asking for a Rules official before taking his drop.

12:01 p.m. Crazy stuff at the short par-4 17th. Gainey (-17) goes for the green and sends his ball into the water right, but not before almost getting a miraculous bounce from a hazard stake. Wilson's (-18) drive ends well right of the green and he'll have some work to do. Meanwhile, Dufner almost holes his bunker shot on 18 for birdie. He finishes as the co-leader at 18-under. Somewhere, Vijay Singh is saying, "I told you so."

11:59 a.m. Friend of the Blog Stephanie Wei sends in a photo of the scene at 18, via Twitter:

Impressed with the turnout for the Monday finish of the Phoenix Open. Here's the scene near 18...

18photo

11:58 a.m. Wilson (-18) and Gainey (-17) waiting on the tee at 17. I had a chance to meet both Wilson and Gainey on the range at the Bob Hope a couple weeks ago, and they each came across as decent, genuinely nice guys. Couldn't root against either one, but Two Gloves, a former assembly-line worker in South Carolina, has a chance to become the Tour's next folk hero.

11:54 a.m. We need more entries in our Give That Man a Nickname contest. Post your best idea for a new nickname for a Tour player (past or present) in the comments below. Winner gets a Golf Magazine hat. Check it out:

Golfhat

11:52 a.m. Checking Twitter for any good commentary....um, nope.

11:50 a.m. Two Gloves cringes when his birdie putt misses the cup to the left. Tap-in par. Wilson, with a little more left, makes a 2 and a half footer to stay at 18-under.

11:49 a.m. Wilson misses his birdie try and Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee uses the T-word, timid.

11:48 a.m. Both Two Gloves and Wilson stick their shots within 10 or so feet on the famously rowdy 16th, which like Cinderella turned back into a normal par 3 at midnight on Sunday.

11:46 a.m. Jason Dufner is about to tie the lead at 18-under with a birdie on 17.

11:44 a.m. Friend of the Blog and SI Golf Group contributor Stephanie Wei of WeiUnderPar.com is at TPC Scottsdale this morning:

I'm surprised how many fans showed up. Dedication! No drunks or mini skirts spotted...yet. This whole Monday finish has completely thrown me off. It feels like Saturday to me.

11:42 a.m. Did you ever notice the guy on the European Tour logo looks like he's wearing a beret?

Eurotour

11:40 a.m. Two Gloves makes his birdie putt on 15, now within 1 shot of Mark Wilson.

11:35 a.m. Forced to lay up on the par-5 15th, Two Gloves (-16) sticks his approach to about 12 feet, while Wilson (-18) is much farther away. Things just got a little interesting...

11:32 a.m. Just saw the Transitions eyewear ad on the Golf Channel. For a nickname, how about Kenny "Shady" Perry?

11:30 a.m. Wilson lays up on 15. You would too with a two-stroke lead.

11:27 a.m. In case you missed it, Rickie Fowler shot 62 on Saturday. Fowler's scorecard for the week has more ups and downs than Charlie Sheen's career.

11:25 a.m. Wilson and Gainey tee off on the par-5 15th. Looks like a decent drive for Wilson. Gainey's leaks right and he might not have a chance to go for the green.

11:22 a.m. Scotland's Martin Laird is co-clubhouse leader at 16-under with Vijay Singh. According to Wikipedia, a Laird is a member of the gentry and is a heritable title in Scotland? 

11:19 a.m. Two Gloves (-16) just misses his birdie try on 14. He and Wilson (-18) both make pars. Two Gloves won't many better opportunities than that one.

11:14 a.m. Playing with a two-stroke lead, Wilson sensibly hits to the center of the green. Two Gloves lands his approach inside Wilson, but he's still got about 15 feet left for his birdie.

11:12 a.m. Mickelson (-11) makes par on 14, so the chances for that seven-stroke comeback look pretty slim, unlike Mickelson himself.

11:10 a.m. Best nicknames on Tour: Two Gloves, Boom-Boom, Big Easy. Worst nickname: Lefty. Is this really the best we could come up with for a guy like Mickelson?

11:07 a.m. Wilson (-18) and Gainey (-16) both find the fairway on the par-4 15th.

11:06 a.m. It's not a Golf.com Live Blog without a reader contest. In honor of Two Gloves Gainey, today we're playing the Give the Man a Nickname contest. Send in your best idea for a new nickname for a Tour player (past or present). The best entry will get a Golf Magazine hat. And no cheap Tiger jokes, you're better than that.

11:05 a.m. Wilson and Gainey both miss their birdie tries on 13 and make pars. Wilson still two shots ahead.

11:03 a.m. Your leader in the clubhouse? Old friend Vijay Singh, also two behind Wilson. But Vijay said Sunday that he has no plans to stick around for a potential playoff:

Q. How do you handle this now? There's guys that are going to finish up tomorrow. I think you're two strokes back from the leader.

VIJAY SINGH: I've got no chance. They're going to come back tomorrow and I think the leaders have two par-5s to go and 17, and they're good enough players to I think

Q. Will you leave tonight?

VIJAY SINGH: I'll leave tomorrow morning.

I'm sure Vijay's got a lot of commitments and he's right that his chances of ending in a playoff are slim to none, but I'm a big believer that "you never know." Did Vijay make the right call? Let us know in the comments below.

11 a.m. Welcome to Golf.com’s Special Waste Management Open Monday Finish. The contenders: 2011 Sony Opener winner Mark Wilson has a two-stroke lead on Tommy “Two Gloves” Gainey. Both players will have the 20-foot putts for birdie on 13 that they marked in darkness Sunday night. Jason Dufner is also two back on the 14th. Jason Dufner is two-back and he’ll be starting on the 15th hole.

Golf Magazine senior writer Mike Walker will blog the final round of the 2011 Waste Management Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale. Play begins at 11 a.m. EST.

Leaderboard | Photos | Course Profile | Sunday Highlights

February 05, 2011

Mayfair honors fallen hero Pat Tillman

Posted at 7:39 PM by Gary Van Sickle

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Now on the tee, Number 42. Feb5_mayfair_600x408

Longtime PGA Tour veteran Billy Mayfair wasn't introduced that way when he stepped onto the 16th tee at the TPC Scottsdale Saturday, but he could have been. The 16th is the par 3 surrounded by an amphitheater of stands and known as the loudest party hole in golf. While in the tunnel walkway from the 15th green, Mayfair pulled out an Arizona State University jersey with "42" on the back and a name above it -- Tillman.

It was a reference to former ASU star Pat Tillman, who played in the NFL for several seasons but quit after the 9/11 attacks to join the Army Rangers. He later was killed in combat in Afghanistan at age 27.

"It was just a tribute to Pat," said Mayfair, a fellow ASU alum. "I talked to Linda Vollstedt, the former ASU golf coach, and she thought it was a good idea to wear the jersey and honor him today."

Mayfair hit quite a shot on the hole during his second round. It landed on the green, hit the back of the cup and lipped out. It would've been the second ace there in one day. Jarrod Lyle had earlier holed out to a huge roar.

"I made a birdie, so I guess I should have worn the jersey all day," joked Mayfair.

The vocal crowds around the hole picked up on Mayfair's attire. "At first, they were just cheering ASU, ASU," Mayfair said, "but when they saw Tillman on the back, they started chanting, 'Tillman, Tillman, Tillman.' I think even any University of Arizona people would've been cheering. Pat was a hero, no doubt about it."

(Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Brendan Steele's ace comes a few holes too soon

Posted at 7:15 PM by Gary Van Sickle

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.—The ground-shaking moment Saturday at the Waste Management Phoenix Open undoubtedly came when Jarrod Lyle made a hole-in-one at the 16th, infamous as the loudest hole in golf. Lyle, Australia’s jovial answer to Tim (Lumpy) Herron, played to the roaring crowd and incited them to even greater decibels.

That shot was replayed on TV throughout the day.

Lyle’s moment wasn’t the day’s only ace, however. Brendan Steele holed a 7-iron shot on the par-3 12th hole, but the ground didn’t shake. “It was a couple of holes too early,” said Steele’s caddie, shaking his head.

Steele, a rookie from Idyllwild, Calif., played in the final threesome that started the second round on the back nine. The ace came on his third hole of the day, and the timing couldn’t have been better since he was in danger of missing the cut after shooting a one-over-par 72 in the opening round Thursday.

“It’s pretty awesome to make a one, especially in a round where I really needed it,” Steele said. “I was feeling pretty good by the time I made the turn.”

Steele birdied three of the next five holes after the ace, shot 31 on the back and posted a 65 to make the cut. When he finished his second round at 4:30, he had only 30 minutes before he had to go back to the tee to start his third round, which was only going to last an hour before darkness fell.

Unlike Lyle’s shot, Steele’s wasn’t caught on video. He also didn’t celebrate nearly as much, nor did he have nearly as big a crowd as Lyle did at the amphitheater 16th.

“Nobody had a camera out there,” he said. “But a one is a one. I gave some high fives to some people, nothing too much. The shot was a little back into the wind, which meant my 7-iron had to be struck really well to get there. I hit it well and it started on line but I wasn’t thinking it could go in. Then it landed, took one nice bounce and rolled in. Everybody went crazy. Not as crazy as they would’ve gone on 16, but crazy.”

The party finally gets started at TPC Scottsdale's 16th hole

Posted at 7:19 AM by Stephanie Wei

Nothing else in golf compares to the famed 16th hole at TPC Scottsdale during the Phoenix Open, but with the frigid temperatures (43 degrees at noon) on Thursday, the usually rowdy crowd was disappointingly well behaved. With slightly warmer temperatures on Friday, the fans were livelier and even a little disruptive, but they're probably saving their best for Saturday. I showed up to 16 around 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon and the mood was festive enough to give me a buzz.

Some highlights of the day:

*On the walk to No. 16, I passed the chipping practice area and spotted PGA Tour rookie Daniel Summerhays and second-year player Alex Prugh. (Both guys had the day off because of the frost delay on Thursday.) I stopped to ask about their first experience on 16.

"Honestly, I didn't get all that nervous," said Summerhays. "It was fun having so many people watching you hit a golf shot. It's amazing. I wasn't nervous walking to 16 because I was mad that I made par on 15. But it's a cool feeling when you're walking through that tunnel. It's like you're coming into an arena, like the gladiators, and you're coming out to fight. It was a little more docile yesterday. We just made three pars in our group, so the fans were like, 'OK, good job, guys. Get the next group out here.'"

*Prugh wasn't rattled either. "The taunts and booing doesn't really get to me," he said. "I was just more pissed I missed a four-footer. It's one of those things I can't wait to play tomorrow. It's what makes the tournament. My caddie told me later that people were chanting "Noonan," like from Caddyshack. Fortunately, I didn't hear it. I was just focusing on trying to birdie the next hole."

*I met Dan Fox, a member of the Thunderbirds charity group which organizes the tournament, on the 16th tee on Thursday, and he invited me to sit up in the box seats with him and his buddies Friday. (Not surprisingly it felt business-casual corporate, but I was happy to get a padded seat and waitress service.) Dan says if you want to do business in Scottsdale/Phoenix this week, you have to be at the tournament because no one is at work.

*The first group I watched was Brandon Smith, Tommy Gainey and Chris Kirk. When Smith, an alum of University of Arizona, approached the tee, fans in the boxes on the right side of the tee chanted, "U of A! U of A!" He raised his arm up to silence them and they politely settled down. He pulled his tee shot and his ball was headed toward the left bunker, but he got a lucky bounce right (which doesn't typically happen because everything funnels left) and ended up on the fringe about 20 feet from the back-left pin. Initially, fans chanted "ASU! ASU" because they thought he hit a poor shot, but after it turned out well, they chanted, "U of A!" again. Smith threw his arms up in celebration. His caddie handed Smith his bag and sprinted to the green because the fans in the stands by the green play "caddie races," where they bet on which caddie touches the green first.

*Fox thinks Saturday afternoon will produce the largest crowd ever. "It's still a little tame," he said. "Everyone is waiting to be here tomorrow because of the cold weather the past few days. Tomorrow afternoon the TPC Scottsdale will be the third largest city in Arizona."

*When Michael Putnam, whom I've known since I was 14 from sharing the same swing coach, approached the tee, I had everyone around me yell, "Putty!" He looked over, saw me and shook his head while laughing. (He gives me a hard time like a big brother, so this was a small form of payback.) Apparently he was a little rattled because he pulled his shot into the bunker. Then he skulled it out to the other side of the green. Fans near the green yelled, "I smell 5!"

*The group of Dustin Johnson, Hunter Mahan and Geoff Ogilvy were next on the tee. After Ogilvy knocked one in the left bunker (I swear, it's like a magnet over there), he tossed his club at his bag in disgust. Boos ensued (because of the shot).

Dustin Johnson hit it to 12 feet, the closest I saw all day. Walking down the fairway, he passed out a few TaylorMade hats to the crowd. "No, I wasn't trying to bribe them," Johnson laughed after play was suspended due to darkness. "Everyone gets a little nervous, but it was good. They were pretty good to me today."

After Mahan's tee shot came up short, he had a chip, which he caught it a little heavy and left 12-feet short. I spoke to a group of guys in the stands who said they discussed yelling, "Ryder Cup," but decided it was too cruel.

*When anyone hit a poor first putt, the crowd yelled, "Three-putt!"

*During Anthony Kim's backswing, someone in the skybox seating shouted, "Shank!" The marshal by the 16th tee said tournament organizers couldn't find the culprit, but they had an APB out on him. Good luck with that.

*I stopped to talk to some fans, including brothers Kelly and Neal Degenstein from Anchorage, Alaska, who attend the Phoenix Open every year. "I'm an older guy hanging around a bunch of younger guys full of enthusiasm, having a blast, and I'm feeling younger myself," said Kelly. Added Neal: "This whole tournament is spectacular and we're loving it. We come down specifically for the Phoenix Open from Alaska."

*Says Andy Bednar from Las Vegas: "This atmosphere is the best in the country. No matter what, it's hands-down the best tournament experience you can ever be in. I've been talking a lot of s---. Anytime a player misses a green, I'm automatically booing them because I know I can hit a 9-iron closer than them."

*I ambushed several players trying to flee the course after play was supsended due to darkness:

Davis Love III: "It was real quiet when I went through. Nice and boring. I didn't hit a good shot, but they didn't boo because I think they were still frozen."

Ryuji Imada: "We were the last group on 16 today, so there were only 50 people. Nothing really interesting happened. It's a fun hole if you hit a good shot. I get excited about playing the 16th. I wouldn't say I get nervous. I get more mad (at the fans)."

Nick Watney missed the green, but then chipped in for birdie. "I got booed on the tee because I missed the green," said Watney. "I didn't hear anything too offensive on the tee. I heard a guy yell that I'm a handsome man, which I didn't really understand. I've never heard that before from a golf crowd."

Mark Wilson: "I played with Jerry Kelly and Rocco Mediate, and the fans love Rocco. They were screaming and hollering for Rocco. But yeah, nothing crazy this time. I've learned to just enjoy them and it's really fun if you just embrace the situation." I asked if Wilson heard anything crazy today. "No, they always like to throw in my birthday because I was born on Halloween. I always hear that one every year, so hopefully they'll come up with something a little bit more unique."

I hope so, too. I'm camping out by the 16th tee on Saturday afternoon and looking forward to seeing what kind of dirt the fans have dug up on Google. There's a reason why the Phoenix Open produces the highest attendance numbers on the PGA Tour — a golf tournament is a lot cooler when it's a party.

 

February 04, 2011

Truth & Rumors: Phil Mickelson reveals the secret of his precision

Posted at 11:53 AM by Alan Bastable

When Phil Mickelson ordered his caddie to tend the flagstick for a 72-yard wedge shot last week at Torrey Pines, there was some debate as to whether it was a smart play or a showy one. At the Waste Management Open this week, Mickelson helped put that discussion to rest when he revealed one of the laborious iron-game drills he executes under Dave Pelz's watch—and the staggering precision he has gained from it. Golfweek's James Achenbach reports:

"We don't work with technique, we work on how to practice," Mickelson said. "When we work, we're building a foundation that carries over to the golf course. For instance, I do a towel drill where I try to fly my irons a specific yardage, and I hit 1,500 balls a month to those specific yardages and have for the last seven years.

"So when I get a wedge shot like No. 18 (at Torrey Pines) that's 72 yards and my towel drill number is 75, I only have to alter it three yards to get it to fly to my number. And over seven years of doing this, I can usually fly it within a yard 95 percent of the time."

Mickelson also said he has switched to a softer, spinnier ball in 2011, the Callaway Tour i(s), which has been a boon to him in chillier weather.

"When it gets cold, [my former] ball doesn't compress as well, and when it hits the face, the face actually moves, and the misses get exaggerated, and this golf ball doesn't do that. This golf ball compresses very easily, so I hit it a lot straighter in cold conditions."

Think Phil's a savant? Get a load of Bubba Watson.

Phoenix Open = 'Chaos with cleavage'
Nice job by The Wall Street Journal's David Weiss
, who captures the ever-colorful and much-publicized scene at the Waste Management Phoenix Open without dragging out the same old tired clichés. (He did slip up by framing the rowdy 16th hole as the "Roman Colosseum of par-threes," but that was neutralized by likening Hunter Mahan to a "jam-band rhythm guitarist"):

Saddling the game's younger fans with hoary concepts like politesse and restraint is so last millennium. Phoenix locals have come to regard this PGA Tour event as a mere green-screen backdrop for 96 hours of drunken tomfoolery; they could as easily be at a NASCAR race or the Kentucky Derby. The atmosphere at this weekend's festivities is more WWF than R&A, a kind of bentgrass, suburban Woodstock.

The same TV network that treats Augusta National as sacred ground doesn't object. "Chaos with cleavage," is what golf pro and CBS analyst Gary McCord calls this week's proceedings at TPC Scottsdale. "That's about it—and if the weather is good, it's frightening." (So far it isn't—more like frigid.)

So we can cut the PGA Tour a little slack this weekend. With the rock 'n roll Super Bowl sucking all of the media oxygen out of the country, crew-cutted and conservative golf needs a little razzmatazz just to keep up. They don't have Justin Timberlake and Janet Jackson to spice up the proceedings with "accidental" nudity, even though CBS could find plenty of girls-gone-wild moments in the gallery if they so chose.

Chicago 'golf dome' deflated by storm
Golfers can't seem to catch a break this winter, especially in Chicago, where even indoor golf has been ravaged by the inclement conditions. Witness the "inflatable" practice range in Frankfurt, Ill., which after this week's storm now looks like a "giant deflated balloon," according to The Joliet Herald-News.

The range owner, Maggie McEnery, said she guessed the dome's skin will be completely replaced within two weeks. She did not know the cost of the damage but said insurance will cover it.

Unfortunately, McEnery said, she will miss out on potential business during the time it takes to fix the dome. "We were just starting to start rocking that dome," McEnery said. "The (customers) were trying out all of their new Christmas toys."

OK, so a pack of pot-bellied guys with R11s isn't exactly the Black Eyed Peas. But you hear her point.

Tweet of the Day

Ogilvy @geoffogilvy: Went for a run in the Valley of the Sun this morning. It was like running in a fridge.

February 03, 2011

What to Watch For: Friday at the Phoenix Open

Posted at 10:07 PM by Ryan Reiterman

Dustin-johnson D.J.'s Hot Round
With temperatures barely above freezing for most of the day at TPC Scottsdale, the only person who was probably bummed to head inside was Dustin Johnson. After a par on the first hole, Johnson made four straight birdies before the first round was suspended due to darkness. With another long frost delay expected Friday morning, can Johnson come out and continue his hot round in cool conditions?

Don't be surprised if Johnson keeps going low. He had two wins last season -- plus close calls in two majors -- and Johnson has already recorded two top 10s in his first two starts. With his length off the tee, Johnson will have no problem reaching the par 5s in two. He's also worked hard on his wedge game in the offseason to take better advantage of his booming drives.

The ... Rest of the First Round
With the frost delay Thursday morning, the "afternoon" wave of players barely started their first rounds when play was suspended. In addition to Johnson's hot round, Anthony Kim (even through 5), Freddie Couples (even through 5), J.B. Holmes (2 under through 4), Geoff Ogilvy (1 under through 6) and Hunter Mahan (even through 5) still have plenty of holes left to play.

The Forecast
There's a couple of feet of snow outside my apartment, so I have no sympathy for the pros out in Scottsdale. However, I know it's no fun to play in 40-degree weather. The good news is the forecast looks great for the weekend. The bad news is there is a freeze warning for Friday morning. More than likely, play will be delayed again. Depending on how long the delay is, there could be another 36-hole final like we saw at the Sony Open.

More from the Phoenix Open: Scores | Photos | TV Schedule | Guide to Scottsdale

(Photo: Gergory Bull/AP)

February 02, 2011

Send us your photos from Phoenix!

Posted at 10:56 AM by Golf.com

Scottsdale-fans_660x449

It's one of the greatest scenes in professional golf, and Golf.com wants to see your photos from it.

E-mail your photos from the Waste Management Phoenix Open to editor@golf.com, or submit them through our Facebook page and we'll include the best shots in a gallery later this week. Be sure to include your name and hometown with your submission.

Golf-hat Need more incentive? The best five entries will win a free Golf Magazine hat! (So be sure to include your contact information.)

Have fun this week -- and don't forget to share it with us.





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