Mickelson, Sorenstam give reason for optimism
Dedicated viewers of the TV show "Lost" know there are spooky revelations in every single episode. And if they watched the latest airing on Thursday closely enough, it may have revealed the next PGA Tour champion.The program opened with a left-handed golfer on the course and later showed him in pursuit of a helicopter ride -- the culmination of many long months spent working toward a common goal. Hmmm ... sure sounds like Phil Mickelson's story, as Lefty commuted via the skies to Riviera Country Club, site of the Northern Trust Open, where many long months spent working with Butch Harmon culminated in his first career victory at the famed venue. Of course, instead of "Lost," a better title would be "Won." The Weekly 18 begins with the message that the latest triumphs from Mickelson and Annika Sorenstam may portend an entertaining season to come.
- "I'm starting to say that I'm on the back nine of my playing career, if you know what I mean. But I don't know if I'm on the 11th hole or on 17. I think really the key is, where's my motivation? Do I enjoy the hard schedule that it takes? Can I push my body any harder? I think those are factors that play a big role.
"I am working less, no doubt, but I also think I'm more efficient today than I was 10 years ago. I'm trying to focus more on quality than quantity when it comes to practice and now I have a better understanding of that. I've done this for a while now so I know my limits, I know what I need to do, and I think today I can accomplish a lot more in 20 minutes than I used to."
"I'm still learning a lot about the sport," he said. "I definitely go to the hockey games when I'm back in town. I'm actually going to drop the puck I think next week, and they are going to make me my own jersey, which is kind of fun to do."
- Thursday morning tee times: 71.28
Thursday afternoon tee times: 73.51
- Friday morning tee times: 73.78
Friday afternoon tee times: 70.68
- A tour official said Wednesday that the 16-man Players Advisory Council, which met this week at Riviera Country Club, wants to return to the traditional 36-hole cut of the top 70 and ties. If that results in more than 78 players, another cut on Saturday to the top 70 and ties would help reduce the field for the final round.
The policy board will vote on the proposal at its Feb. 25 meeting at the Honda Classic in Florida. Because it relates to competition, the vote must get majority approval by four players on the nine-member board.
- Garcia was lining up a putt on the 18th hole, Riviera's famed uphill par-4 finishing hole, when another golf ball dropped out of the sky a few feet from him.
Startled, Garcia spun around and spotted Kim in the 18th fairway, looking guilty.
"Sergio was really ticked off," recalled Kiki Garcia (no relation), head professional at General Old Golf Course in Riverside, who was in the greenside gallery when the incident occurred. "I [jokingly] told him I had his back. But Sergio said, 'I don't need your help. I'll break every club I have over his head.' "
|Steve Lowery: Last two starts|
|Greens in regulation||65.3||36.1|
|Putts per round||27.0||30.0|
|Putts per GIR||1.60||2.08|
|Birdies (or better)||22 (in 72 holes)||2 (in 36 holes)|
|Bogeys or worse||10 (in 72 holes)||15 (in 36 holes)|
- "I think Tiger's mental game was probably stronger [at a similar age]. I think actual technique-wise, swing-wise, I reckon Anthony's swing is better at 21 or 22 than what Tiger's was."
- "The last person I want to play is Tiger. I don't want to embarrass myself right now. ... It would be a free show for me, watch him play. Unbelievable, this guy. I can't lose either way. If I beat him, I'm a hero. If I don't, I'm not supposed to win. If I beat him, I may quit, just pack in it. If anybody asks, 'When was the last time you played? Aw, I beat Tiger. I'm done.'"
Jason Sobel is ESPN.com's golf editor. He can be reached at Jason.Sobel@espn3.com.