With the 109th U.S. Open finally in the books, so too is Phil Mickelson’s streak of 61 straight major tournaments. Mickelson has made it fairly clear that this past weekend at Bethpage Black will be it for golf for a while, so that he and wife Amy can concentrate on her treatment for breast cancer.
Mickelson doesn’t anticipate returning to the tour until August at the earliest, which would mean he would miss next month’s British Open at Turnberry. But the popular Mickelson hasn’t completely closed the door on the British Open though, only saying that he “most likely” would be skipping the tournament.
Mickelson’s bid to win this past weekend’s U.S. Open came up short, as he made a final round charge but finished as runner-up to Lucas Glover, his record setting 5th second place finish at the U.S. Open.
In a weekend that can only be described as strange and unpredictable, it seems fitting that a relative unknown 29 year old from South Carolina, who chews tobacco and listens to Sinatra no less, should find his name engraved on the U.S. Open trophy, right above one Tiger Woods. It was a final round of major collapses, rousing comebacks and whispers from past greats that highlighted Lucas Glover’s improbable U.S. Open win.
Glover never relinquished the lead after the 12th hole, and finished up the round with a 3-over 73 and a two stroke victory. His birdie on the 16th broke a three-way tie for the lead, and his 73 was the highest final round score in the Open since Ernie Els’ 73 at Oakmont in 1994. But the only number that really mattered to Glover was his 4-under for the tourney, good enough for the championship.
Phil Mickelson made an early charge to gain a share of the lead, but an all too familiar collapse in the closing holes was “Lefty’s” undoing. He missed two par putts over the last four holes to fall behind Glover, and ended up tied for second at 2-under for the tournament. This was Mickelson’s record setting 5th runner up finish in U.S. Open history.
The enigmatic David Duval was also a co-leader at one point, flashing signs reminiscent of his time as the world’s number one golfer. Now ranked No.882, Duval reeled off three straight birdies to gain a share of the lead, before a par putt on the 17th rimmed out, effectively ending his chances for the win. Still, it was a nice showing for Duval, who hasn’t won on tour since 2001.
Ricky Barnes, the co-leader with Glover after 54 holes, had a monumental collapse in the final round, shooting 40 for the front nine, and finishing with a 76 for the day. His 2-under for the weekend left him in a tie for second with Mickelson and Duval.
With the win, Glover’s world ranking has skyrocketed from No.71 to No.17, and maybe even better, he pockets a $1.35 million purse.
The sun finally made an appearance at Bethpage Black on Friday, long enough to dry up the fairways and leave the greens soft and sweet. Many of the players took advantage of the prime scoring conditions–unfortunately Tiger Woods wasn’t one of them. The world’s top golfer was even par heading into the final four holes of his opening round when disaster struck. Tiger gave back four strokes over the last four holes to finish at 4-over 74 for the round, his worst start at a major since the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot.
While Tiger tanked, a surprising name found himself atop the leaderboard when play ended due to darkness. After an opening round 69, Lucas Glover dropped five birdies to finish at 6-under through thirteen holes. Glover sits one stroke ahead of Ricky Barnes, and two strokes in front of a group of three players, including former Masters winner Mike Weir, who shot an impressive 6-under 64 in his opening round before a pair of bogeys in the nine holes he squeezed out in his second round left him at 4-under.
Sentimental favorite Phil Mickelson opened with a 69, shot even par through eleven holes, and sits at 1-under going into play Saturday. Reigning major champs Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington fared no better than Woods, finishing at 4-over and 6-over respectively.
Play continues Saturday, with more rain in the forecast. Officials are already speculating a possible Monday, or even Tuesday, final round.
After failing to grab a spot in a U.S. Open qualifier last week by three strokes, Brian Gay needed a win at the St. Jude Classic to secure a berth at Bethpage Black this coming weekend. And win he did, leading the tournament wire-to-wire, the fourth player to do so, and the first since Justin Leonard pulled off the feat in 2005.
Gay led by only a stroke following each of the first three rounds before firing another impressive 4-under 66, his third in a row, to finish at 18-under for the tourney. David Toms and Bryce Molder tied for second, 5 strokes behind Gay.
It was a difficult weekend for fan favorite Phil Mickelson, playing in his first tournament since his wife Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Heading into the final round at 4-under, Mickelson shot a 75, leaving him at +1 for the weekend. But it wasn’t all bad for Phil. Six kids who had been treated at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital were waiting for him on the 18th fairway, wearing shirts and a banner that read “Thinking of Amy.” In true Phil Mickelson fashion, the golfer spoke with the children and signed their shirts before finishing up his round.
For you golf fans hoping to see a Tiger Woods/Phil Mickelson pairing to start this year’s U.S. Open, you’re out of luck. Tournament officials have decided against using last year’s method of grouping the top three players in world ranking, instead going with a grouping of the reigning major championship winners. This means that instead of a Woods, Mickelson, Paul Casey group, Tiger will begin his U.S. Open defense paired with Masters winner Angel Cabrera, and Padraig Harrington, who captured the British Open and PGA Championship.
Mickelson’s grouping will not be without it’s share of intrigue though. Phil will be teamed with Ernie Els, whom Mickelson defeated by one stroke in the 2004 Masters, his first major win, and Retief Goosen, who like Els, is a two time U.S. Open winner.
Woods’ group is set to tee off Thursday morning, the 18th of June, at 8:06 am, while Mickelson’s threesome will go off at 1:36 pm from the 10th tee. Even though Woods and Mickelson aren’t playing together the first two days, I don’t think anyone would be surprised to find the two best players in the world paired up on the final day at Bethpage Black.
Phil Mickelson, easily one of the most popular players in golf, is returning to the PGA tour, just a little less than a month after his wife Amy was discovered to have breast cancer. Mickelson’s return was buoyed by the news that the cancer was caught early enough so that Amy would not have to rush into surgery, or have to make any quick decisions regarding treatment.
According to Mickelson, his wife will undergo surgery sometime in the first week of July. Then they will have a better understanding of the cancer and what they will have to deal with afterwards.
It’s been a difficult time for both Phil and Amy, but they’ve received the support of fans and the PGA Tour Wives Association, who encouraged the players to wear pink during tournament play. Most players sported pink ribbons on their hats, while two players, John Daly and Rory Sabbatini, went one step further. Daly wore pink pants in support of Amy while playing in a European Tour event, and Sabbatini donned a pink shirt en route to winning the HP Byron Nelson Championship.
Beyond the St. Jude Classic this weekend, Mickelson has his sights set on the U.S. Open next weekend at Bethpage Black, a course that he feels suits his game. So much so that he is not only playing to return some normalcy to his life, but because he feels the championship can be his for the taking.
Unfortunately Amy will not be there with Phil at Bethpage next week because of the emotion factor. It will be the first major that her husband has played in that she will have missed.
Phil Mickelson’s wife Amy has been diagnosed with breast cancer, and to help give her support and love, he has suspended his PGA tour indefinitely. Apparently she will begin treatment immediately, including a major surgery in the next two weeks.
Mickelson is currently the number two ranked golfer in the world. He withdrew from the “H.P. Byron Nelson Championship in Dallas, where he was scheduled to begin a two-week run, including a title defense at next week’s Crowne Plaza Colonial.” Our wishes for recovery and good health go out to Amy.
Image: Zuma Press
“Men’s Fitness” Magazine is currently running a sweepstakes for five copies of Phil Mickelson’s latest golf dvd, “Secrets of the Short Game,” released earlier this month. The two-disc, 105-minute set has received glowing reviews from everyone from sports writers to Amazon users.
To enter, visit the “Men’s Fitness” Website and complete the online form. The sweepstakes runs from now until May 5 and is open to residents of the 50 United States plus the District of Columbia who are 18 years of age or older. You can enter once daily.
(photo credit: Amazon.com)