Signature Shots: Phil Mickelson -- May 18, 2012
In the second round of the HP Byron Nelson Championship, Phil hit an unbelievable recovery shot to the par-4 9th hole and sank the putt for birdie.
Padraig Harrington sinks an 18-foot eagle putt on the par-5 second hole during the first round of THE PLAYERS Championship.
Click here to watch Phil Mickelson roll in a birdie putt on the same hole.
By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -- No one has ever successfully defended at THE PLAYERS Championship, where Matt Kuchar will begin his quest to become the first to do so this afternoon.
With pristine conditions -- sunny skies, hardly a breath of wind -- scoring has been good so far in the opening round at TPC Sawgrass. Will it continue? Here is a look at who and what to watch for this afternoon.
Lee Westwood (1:18 p.m. ET): The Englishman has knocked on the door a few times here -- most recently in 2010 when he was in contention going into Sunday before shooting 74 to finish fourth. He also finished fifth and sixth in 1998 and 1999 and given his ball-striking abilities should be a factor again.
Phil Mickelson (1:28 p.m. ET): As difficult as this tournament -- or Mickelson -- is to predict, Lefty has been largely consistent if nothing else since his win here in 2007. He's finished in the top 25 every other year the last five and for his career has eight top 25s in the event.
Webb Simpson (1:28 p.m. ET): The reigning U.S. Open champion admitted to a lack of confidence earlier this season. Then he finished second at Hilton Head, where he lost in a playoff. He's missed three of four cuts here, however.
Sergio Garcia (1:39 p.m. ET): The 2008 champion (he also finished second the year before) has just one finish in the top 20 since, but he has played well this year with three top 10s. His ball-striking should work well here, but with Garcia it all comes down to how well he putts.
Luke Donald (1:39 p.m. ET): The former world No. 1 finished sixth last year and tied for fourth the year before with all of last last eight rounds and 11 of his last 12 on the Stadium Course at par or better.
Tiger Woods (1:49 p.m. ET): For all his accomplishments, Woods has won THE PLAYERS just once, in 2001. Though he has three wins this season, he has just one top 10 here since that lone victory a dozen years ago.
Matt Kuchar (1:49 p.m. ET):The defending champion has finished in the top 15 in three of the last four years and in 2004 he tied for 16th. This season, Kuchar has four top 10s, including a win.
Brandt Snedeker (1:49 p.m. ET): He was admittedly exhausted after being in contention at the Masters and subsequently missed the cut in Hilton Head. He was also one of the hottest players in the game before getting injured in February. Snedeker has struggled here, missing the cut each of the last four years.
Phil Mickelson remained positive in unusual conditions, which helped his score. (Lecka/Getty Images)
By Gregg Steinberg, Special to PGATOUR.COM
The greens at the Quail Hollow Club were below par for a PGA TOUR event because the weather this spring in Charlotte, N.C., was cold and damp and clearly did not favor this type of grass. Putting on bumpy greens can beat you up mentally.
Or you could take a completely different approach, as Phil Mickelson did.
Mickelson declared his admiration for the course, even making the statement that Quail Hollow was one of his favorite courses on the globe. He thoroughly loves this venue.
I believe this thinking directly led to his great play at the Wells Fargo Championship. Mickelson putted beautifully, leading the field in strokes gained-putting and starting the tournament making 41 for 41 putts within 10 feet. While Mickelson did not win, he held the lead for most of the tournament and finished in a very respectable third place.
A declaration of love (or great admiration) for a course can help your play. Like Mickelson did, you are psyching yourself up to play well — regardless of condition or difficulty. Joy of a course can help expel any excessive feelings of anxiety. Ultimately, you are transforming adversity into an enjoyable challenge.
Let’s take the flip side. How many times have you been psyched out of a hole by telling yourself how much you dislike that particular hole? A dislike for a hole decreases the joy while increasing the stress you will feel, usually leading to a poorer score.
I know it is easy to find something wrong with every course you play, but I would highly recommend that you expand upon Mickelson’s lead. Talk yourself into enjoying every golf course that you play. Find something about the course that you really admire. Perhaps it’s the piece of property and its beauty, or its unique par 3s.
When you make every course your favorite, you will enjoy the course even more because you played so well.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a regular guest every Tuesday on “Talk of the Tour” heard on the Sirius/XM PGA TOUR radio. He is a tenured professor of sports psychology and has been the mental game coach for many PGA TOUR players. Dr. Gregg is the author of the best selling golf psychology book, MentalRules for Golf, and you can get your autographed copy at www.drgreggsteinberg.com.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Everyone has made the turn at Quail Hollow and Phil Mickelson is holding firm to a one-stroke lead at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Lee Westwood was briefly tied with Mickelson at 8 under after he made a 6-footer for birdie at the 10th hole. But the Englishman has just made back-to-back bogeys to drop back to 6 under and into a tie with Charles Howell III, David Lynn, Derek Ernst and overnight leader Nick Watney.
Howell is 3 under for the day and playing the 18th hole.
Mickelson's closest competitors now are Ryan Moore and Robert Karlsson, who are tied at 7 under. Karlsson, who lives about 20 minutes from Quail Hollow, has been very steady, making one birdie and 10 pars so far on Sunday. Moore had a tough start, making bogeys on his first two holes, but has made three birdies over his next nine holes.
Karlsson and Ernst need to win the Wells Fargo Championship to get into the field for next week's PLAYERS Championship, which is the PGA TOUR's flagship event.
Rory McIlroy, the 2010 Wells Fargo Championship winner, is having his troubles on the back nine. He hit his drive right into the trees at the 12th hole and his second shot went even deeper. His third shot found the fringe, 88 feet from the pin, and he putted to 12 feet, then two-putted for bogey.
McIlroy, who lost in a playoff last year, made another bogey at the 13th hole and now trails by four with four holes to play.
Phil Mickelson hits a 43-yard chip on the par-5 5th hole to inside 6 feet and sinks his putt for a birdie that got him back to 8 under and atop the leaderboard at the Wells Fargo Championship.
Nick Watney (L) and Phil Mickelson (R) will start the final round leading by one stroke.
By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson hit his second shot at the par-5 15th hole out of bounds and beaned a spectator at the 16th. Nick Watney shanked a 7-iron at the 17th hole.
But for all the errant -- and yes, even embarrassing, shots -- as the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship drew to a conclusion on Saturday, the two will head into the final round tied for the lead at 8 under.
That is, if the final round gets under way on Sunday. The weather forecast is for rain to begin early Sunday morning and continue all day, getting increasingly heavy as the day progresses. Monday's forecast is for more of the same.
In an effort to beat the weather, tournament officials have moved tee times up. Players will be sent off Nos. 1 and 10 in threesomes from 6:45-8:46 a.m. ET.
Watney shot 71 wile Mickelson had a 73. Both lead by two shots on the back nine before the fun started as the vaulted Green Mile took its tool. Their advantage is now one over George McNeill and two over Lee Westwood, John Senden, Ryan Moore, Robert Karlsson, David Lynn aand Derek Ernst.
Rory McIlroy, the 2010 champion who lost in a playoff here a year ago, is three strokes behind. He's tied at 5 under with Brian Harman, Kevin Streelman, Jason Kokrak and D.A. Points, another playoff participant last year.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson simply doesn't like company at the top of the leaderboard at the Wells Fargo Championship.
He held a two-stroke lead a the start of the day and has never relinquished it -- although he's been tied three times, once by his playing partner Scott Gardiner and two more times by Nick Watney.
Mickelson, though, just poured in a 19-footer at the 14th hole and followed it with a mini-fist pump, to get to 11 under and one shot ahead of Watney. George McNeill, who is playing with Watney, is another stroke behind after making a 5-footer at the same hole.
The group at 7 under includes Lee Westwood, who finished fifth at Quail Hollow last year; PGA TOUR rookie Derek Ernst and Duke product Kevin Streelman, who picked up his first win earlier this year.
Rory McIlroy, who won the Wells Fargo Championship in 2010 and lost in a playoff last year, has struggled on the greens Saturday. He's 1 over for the day and is now five strokes behind Mickelson -- the man he beat with a final-round 62 three years ago.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Phil Mickelson has now made 38 of 38 putts from inside 10 feet this week, and the 9-footer he just rolled in at the eighth hole has given him the lead again during the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship.
Mickelson is now 10 under and one stroke ahead of Nick Watney, who is playing in the penultimate group and had made a 3-footer on the same hole to tie his good friend. George McNeill, who birdied three straight on the front nine and just made the turn in 35, is alone at 8 under.
Robert Karlsson, the Swede who now makes his home in Charlotte, is among five players tied at 7 under after birdies on the 14th and 15th holes. Also at that number is Lee Westwood, who has just made the turn, rookies Scott Gardiner and Derek Ernst, and Duke grad Kevin Streelman.
Rory McIlroy had pulled within a shot of Mickelson when he made a 5-footer for eagle at the seventh hole. But he drove into the trees at the par-5 ninth hole, chipped out and eventually three-putted from 18 feet for double bogey to drop back to 6 under.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After three holes of the third round of the Wells Fargo Championship, Phil Mickelson and Scott Gardiner are tied for the lead at 8 under.
Gardiner, the Australian rookie who is on the verge of turning what he jokingly said he thought might be "agony" at the start of the week into ecstacy, chipped in for birdie at the first hole to close the gap. When Mickelson missed the thrid fairway, as well as the green, and made bogey the two playing partners were deadlocked.
Another rookie, Derek Ernst, made birdie on his first hole and is one stroke behind the leaders, tied with Nick Watney, who is even par through four holes. Rory McIlroy, who missed a 5-footer to save par at the fifth hole, has dropped back into a tie at 6 under with Ryan Moore, Rod Pampling and Lee Westwood.
Moore is by far the furthest along after having played 14 holes. He birdied five of his first seven but made his first bogey at No. 12 so he's 4 under for the day. The other three are even for the day.