Friday, July 07, 2006

DC's Booz Allen outtahere

Starting next year, Washington, DC will join Philadelphia as a major East Coast market without a PGA Tour stop, as the fall-out begins from the new 2007 tournament schedule.

In the case of the Booz Allen -- the tournament had been a fixture since it was the Kemper in 1980 -- the lead sponsor undertstandably was unwilling to cough up major millions for an event that was to become an after-thought in the fall.

For more, click here.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Tiger on Phil flubbing the Open

Check out these juicy excerpts from Tiger Woods' pre-Western Open interview...

Q. Did you watch the end of the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: You know, I watched both days. That was my punishment.

Q. Thoughts on Montgomerie and Mickelson?

TIGER WOODS: I thought in my opinion that it was Monty's tournament. In the fairway on 18 with -- not only in the fairway, he was on the right side, on the flat spot with a perfect angle with his fade. It doesn't get any better than that. With Phil on the tee, anything can still happen. He could still make bogey on the last hole and lose the tournament. I thought it was Monty's tournament, put the ball on the green and it's over. Obviously that didn't happen, and then Phil had his mistakes. It was a very interesting finish, one that none of us who are involved in the game of golf probably ever would have predicted we would have seen happening.

Q. Will Phil be able to brush off what happened to him at Winged Foot?

TIGER WOODS: I don't know. (Translation: I hope not)
More than likely to stay competitive you have to, especially in our sport. In our sport we fail more times than we succeed. Failure is a part of our sport; that's just the way it is. You pick yourself up off the ground and you have the next week to play. If we had a percentage very similar to baseball, if you put a .300 in your winning percentage, you'd have one hell of a career. But that's normally not the case. Your winning percentage is a lot lower than that, and you have to deal with losses quite a bit. It's nothing new to him, nothing new to any of us. You pick yourself up, dust yourself off, come back out the next week and play.

Q. What did you not playing on the weekend?

TIGER WOODS: I went spear fishing and came back and have been working on my game ever since.

Q. How frustrating was the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: You know, it's something I don't normally do, missing the weekend at a major championship. Missing a weekend means that you have no opportunity to win the tournament. With the way I was playing, I felt if I could just get into the weekend and play two good rounds, I figured the guys would come back. I never even gave myself that opportunity to even fight for the championship.

Q. After Phil won The Masters there was a lot of talk about a rivalry between you and Phil. Your sense of the history and the Ernie and Jack legend, would you look forward to that rivalry blossoming?

TIGER WOODS: Well, all my career I've had rivals with Ernie, for a stretch with Vijay, with Duval, and I've had it with Phil. Just as long as I'm part of each conversation over the rest of my career (laughter), it's never a bad thing. (Translation: Don't mistake these pikers for No. 1 me).

Q. Were you ready to play the U.S. Open?

TIGER WOODS: I was rusty. I didn't execute properly, there's no doubt about that. There's no excuses for it. I had the same opportunities as everybody else to hit shots and I didn't do it.

It was very disappointing because I had good practice sessions, I felt I was prepared, and come game time I did not hit the proper shots. I didn't putt well on top of that, and it was just bad from tee to green.

Q. Can you speak about Sean O'Hair?

TIGER WOODS: Sean is good. I'll tell you, he's got just an enormous amount of talent, and on top of that, he is a nice guy. He really is fun to be around, and I think that he's got the proper mental attitude and approach to be successful, and not only be successful but be successful for a long period of time out here.

Q. Did you get a text message from Annika after she won on Monday?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, she texted me (laughter). We're all square now. That's fine, we do that all the time to each other. It's fun having a friend who's competitive just like I am. She's one of the greatest that's ever played this sport. To see her go out there and how she prepares, it's pretty phenomenal to watch, not only from the golf standpoint but from the physicality standpoint of the effort level she puts into it. There's really no surprise why she's that successful if you watch how she prepares.

Q. Thoughts on Michelle Wie playing the John Deere Classic next week?

TIGER WOODS: I'll tell you what, she's playing great from what I've seen in the highlights, the way she's hitting it, it's been phenomenal. She's missed a couple of putts here and there, but overall she's hitting it great.

I think at the John Deere, that golf course is a little bit more wide open, where she can go ahead and let it go like she did last year and get it out there. There really is not that much trouble. I think she can go ahead and free-wheel it and let it go and hopefully she can make the cut.

Q. Has time helped since your father passed away?

TIGER WOODS: I'm sure it gets easier, but it's something you'll never, ever forget. I don't think it's ever something you ever really want to forget or ever really want to truly put behind you because having a parent that is so loving in your life and that you love so much, you never, ever forget that. Life lessons always come about, each and every day. I've talked to a bunch of my friends who have gone through it before, and they think about their lost parent every day. It happens.
That's something I've done and I will continue to do probably for the rest of my life.

Q. White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen said he would bet he could make a par on the PGA TOUR before you could get a hit in a major league game.

TIGER WOODS: I'd make a bet on that.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Mickelson's interview...

Here are exerpts from Phil Mickelson's pre-tournament interview at the Western Open.

PHIL MICKELSON: I'm looking forward to getting back and playing here. I haven't been to the Western Open in a few years. Already we're off to a fun night. We got here last night and there were fireworks all over the city that the kids saw. Another fun night tonight, we're going to take in a ballgame later this week, so it's been a fun week that we have scheduled for our family.

I have no idea what you might ask (laughter).

Q. Let's just get it out of the way. Nice to get back playing after a tough Open?

PHIL: It is. I think the biggest thing about that is that I don't want the one hole to affect my play in the next couple of majors, and so I've already been over to Hoylake, spent a few days there already doing most of the major prep work because if I can get that out of the way, I can focus more on getting my golf game ready for the tournament if I'm not doing all the preparation work.

I felt like I didn't execute the way I wanted to at the Open, and heading into the British, I want to make sure I have all the preparation work done, that I am able to focus on the shots that I need to hit and see if I can get execution to be sharp in the upcoming major.

Q. How long did it take for you to get it out of your system, and is it out of your system?

PHIL: Well, I'm not ever going to forget it, that's obvious. But what I'm not going to do is let it affect negatively my performance in upcoming majors. I've got two more this year. I'm playing too well, and I've got a system of preparation that has been helping me play some of my best golf, and right now I'm excited about the chances at Hoylake.

(Dave) Pelz and I have been mapping out our game plan over there. We've got the shots we want to hit. We're working on them this week. I've got Rick (Smith) here this week helping me to get those shots tight, and I'll be heading over right after this tournament to get ready for the British. I just don't want that one bad hole, again, to negatively affect the way I perform in the upcoming majors.

Q. Have you replayed, or at what point did you quit replaying that hole in your mind, and when you replayed it, if you did, would you have done anything different in retrospect?

PHIL: Well, I would have parred it (laughter).

Q. Club selection? You know what I mean.

PHIL: I know what you're saying. Fortunately what I have found has helped me play well or have that type of performances these past years in the majors is that I've done the prep work beforehand and I know what club selection I'm going to hit off each tee, given weather conditions, whether it's raining, whether it's hot or not. I already know and have known for weeks in advance what clubs I'm got to hit off each tee, so it's helped me approach the tee box with confidence knowing what club I'm going to hit.

It helped me when I hit the driver on 18 at Baltusrol on the last hole and ended up making a birdie. It helped me at The Masters knowing what club and what driver I was going to hit off each tee, and it helped me at the U.S. Open. Unfortunately I didn't execute the way I wanted to.

But it has erased a lot of the doubt as to the decision-making, what club am I going to hit, what club should I hit. I already know weeks in advance, and it helps me hit those shots and visualize those shots in practice before I ever show up the week of The Open.

Q. How about 18? Did you have an option there?

PHIL: Not for me, no. I couldn't get an iron or a wood past the turn of the dogleg. It set up perfect for a cut driver.

The difficulty that I had was I couldn't miss it left. I missed it left earlier in the week and fought to make bogey. Missed it left on Sunday and made double.

The second hole at the U.S. Open, I said, "Do not go right, stay left," because from left you have an angle up the green, you could run a shot up, get close, but from the right the trees cut you out. I missed it right four days in a row. My execution just wasn't what I wanted that week, and yet I fought and hung in there, and unfortunately I just needed to hang in there one more hole and wasn't able to do it.

Q. You beat yourself up pretty bad in the post-tournament comments after the Open. How long did you continue to beat yourself up over that?

PHIL: Well, again, that night it was decided that I'm not going to let one hole or one bad hole affect my upcoming tournaments. Sure, it's disappointing not to win the Open. I told you how much I wanted to win it. But I've got two more majors coming up, I'm playing too well to let one bad hole affect it, and I've got a pretty good game plan for the British.

Q. Not to harp on this, you said the decision was made that night not to let one hole affect the rest of your play. But what did you do? Once you left the course, once you got out from in front of all of us, did you go home, let the kids hug you? Did you fly back, put the clubs down for a couple days?

The trip home, the kids...

PHIL: We flew home Monday. I took my oldest daughter Amanda, who didn't have school - our other two did on Tuesday - to a club pool there, and we swam for six, seven hours that day. We went to Disneyland on Wednesday to celebrate her birthday. We had a great week, had a fun week. It could have been really fun (laughter), but it was just fun.

Q. How did you explain what happened at Winged Foot to your children? Is Amanda the only one old enough to really understand what happened?

PHIL: It basically went, "Did you win, Daddy?" "No." "I'm sorry. Do you want pizza?" Something like that.

Amy, am I close?

AMY MICKELSON: A little bit of "Second is so good, Daddy."

Q. When you won it at Augusta, it started a whole sort of fever about "Tiger and Phil." Do you let yourself daydream about what that would be like if the two of you were in the last group here or at a major?

PHIL: Not really. I mean, I would love to -- I love playing against him head-to-head. My record against him, again, is less than stellar. But I love having the chance to compete against the best players in the world, and he certainly is the best. There are a number of other guys, too, that are up there that I love playing against that are fun. Whether you win or lose, it makes for a fun day, a fun experience.

Nix the USGA's 18-hole play-off format

I'm with the AP's Doug Ferguson on the issue of the the USGA's 18-hole Monday play-off format being antiquated and punishing on the players, fans, tournament volunteers and everybody else.

For further proof, all you had to do was watch -- or endure -- Monday's dragged-out finish to the U.S. Women's Open, won by Annika Sorenstam.

For Fergy's Fringe column, click here.

No tears, no fears: Mickelson is back in action

Three weeks after he blew the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson is back in action at this week's Western Open in Chicago. As Melanie Hauser notes in her story for, that Sunday night after the Open there were no tears, no fetal position for Mickelson. There was no time to wallow in self-pity, swapped as he was by his wife and three young kids.

For more on Lefty's chat with the media, click here.
And here's the AP's version of Mickelson's return.

Like fathers, like sons in Philly Boys' Junior

The final match of GAP's Philadelphia Boys' Junior Championship has come down to the sons from two prominent golf families: Matt Raudenbush of Pine Valley, son of Pine Valley head pro Charley Raudenbush and Michael Kania of Overbrook GC, son of top amateur Jim Kania.

For the details of the Junior and how Raudenbush and Kania reached the finals, click here to read the GAP coverage.