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Phil Mickelson to miss the U.S. Open to attend daughter’s graduation

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If you’re mulling over your U.S. Open punts, remove Phil Mickelson from your consideration. Lefty announced he doesn’t plan on teeing it up at Erin Hills. The reason? His daughter Amanda is graduating from high school—and she’s giving the commencement address.

The Pacific Ridge School’s commencement ceremony is scheduled for the morning of June 15, which is during the first round of the U.S. Open.

He’s yet to withdraw officially, but as Mickelson said, “barring something unforeseen, I won’t be there.” “Something unforeseen,” would be a situation like a washed out first round with the opening round of play beginning on Friday—a remote possibility indeed.

“I wanted to make sure they [the USGA] had enough notice to accommodate it…So that’s why I’m saying something today, but it doesn’t look good for me playing. But I’m really excited about this moment in our family’s life,” Mickelson told reporters.

Mickelson hasn’t missed a major championship since the 2009 Open Championship when his wife was battling cancer. He’ll turn 47 during the tournament at Erin Hills, his long, unfortunate history of runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open is well documented.

Still, even with Father Time starting at Mickelson through the rearview, he seems comfortable with his decision to skip the championship.

Regarding the graduation, Mickelson said: It’s one of those things you just show up. You just need to be there. It wasn’t really something that we discussed, because it really wasn’t much of a decision.”

Like his history of near-misses at the USGA’s major, Mickelson’s series of scheduling conflicts during the tournament is part of “Lefty the family man” lore. He wore a beeper at Pinehurst in 1999, as his wife was on the verge of giving birth. At the 2012 U.S. Open, Mickelson flew home for Amanda’s eighth-grade graduation, catching a flight back just in time for the opening round.

And speaking of Amy, here’s what she told Karen Crouse about her husband’s decision. “Phil desperately wants to win the U.S. Open. “I would have totally understood if he needed to play…We could have done a video or this or that.”

A “video or this or that” isn’t something Phil Mickelson, the father, is comfortable with. Even the left-handers detractors have to respect that.

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40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. Mad-Mex

    Jun 8, 2017 at 9:01 pm

    I bet those who disagree and are bagging on Phil are the same drunk morons who yell “Mash Potato” “Ba-baboey” after a player hit his drive.

  2. Sam

    Jun 6, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Phil should donate some money and have them move the graduation to Saturday so he can do both

    • Jalan

      Jun 10, 2017 at 3:23 pm

      Yeah, right. Make every other parent and child change their plans, so the celebrity golfer can have his cake and eat it too.

  3. Dave R

    Jun 6, 2017 at 9:22 am

    Family first . You only have one of them. Could not agree more. Good on him.

  4. Taylor

    Jun 5, 2017 at 8:57 pm

    She’s obviously smart enough to realize it’s the US OPEN the only major your father hasn’t won in his life long journey in golf. Remember when you looked back at high school and realized what a joke it was…

    • Juice

      Jun 6, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      So because it was a joke for you his daughter should consider it a joke? You must’ve been the joke. SMH. Good for you Phil!

  5. leo vincent

    Jun 5, 2017 at 4:55 pm

    Not something I would have done considering he only has a few more competitive U.S Opens left but the decision is his and other people’s opinions are meaningless

  6. Bishop

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:30 pm

    I completely agree with Phil’s decision, even though I’m not personally a father, yet. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for his daughter, and she has obviously worked incredibly diligently for her own accomplishments, even in high school. It seems to me that Phil is cognizant of this accomplishment, and I can’t describe how proud I’d be of being able to see my own child give a commencement speech. Maybe he feels that he could be a competitor in another year at the US Open, or maybe he doesn’t feel it’s important because he doesn’t think he can get the W. Or, maybe he doesn’t care, because family is more important to him than another year at the US Open….

    Kudos to him.

  7. Tom54

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:08 pm

    Seems to me if the High School scheduled the ceremony on a Thursday and not on the weekend then they certainly can up it to Wednesday. I agree that Phil could make a donation in his daughters honor to the school things would work out fine. If they change the date for you Phil, then you best contend

  8. Brian

    Jun 5, 2017 at 12:02 pm

    I understand him missing the Open given that his daughter is speaking. If she were just walking…I mean…you’re expected to graduate HS.

  9. DaveT

    Jun 5, 2017 at 11:30 am

    I’m not a Phil fan at all, but I have huge respect for this decision. I can’t understand the people who put it down. His daughter is class president and valedictorian! That’s big! It’s not something you get in a box of cereal. I wonder how many of the haters came close to a shot at valedictorian themselves.

  10. Jeff

    Jun 5, 2017 at 9:23 am

    He should just make a sizable donation to the HS to have them move the whole graduation ceremony. Win-win, the HS gets some extra funds and Phil gets to play in the open.

    • Jalan

      Jun 10, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      How does every other family “Win”? What if they have plans they can’t change for some wealthy privileged golfer?

  11. Ronald Montesano

    Jun 5, 2017 at 9:02 am

    If Phil never wins a US Open, he’ll be in pretty solid company with 3-Major Champions. Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, Nancy Lopez, Lee Trevino, Walter Hagen, Byron Nelson, to list six. Can’t fault the guy, can’t fault the school, bravo for the daughter, onward and upward. Lavaplatos.

  12. High Cut

    Jun 5, 2017 at 1:20 am

    Is there a tonne of dogleg-rights?

  13. setter02

    Jun 4, 2017 at 7:35 pm

    Lol, the haters are strong with this one! And, pathetic…

  14. Mad-Mex

    Jun 4, 2017 at 6:28 pm

    I think those who are against his decision are not or have not been fathers.

    • Jalan

      Jun 10, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      I’m not convinced they’re even adults.

  15. Tyler

    Jun 4, 2017 at 5:20 pm

    Guys come on. His daughter is speaking at her high school graduation. You’re telling me you’d miss that if you were him? That’s a bad life mistake. This should be common sense.

    • Rwj

      Jun 4, 2017 at 6:26 pm

      Then why didn’t he actually withdraw? Bc he hopes all the PR will cause the school to change? An actual good person wouldn’t have needed to tell everyone about it

      • Mad-Mex

        Jun 4, 2017 at 6:40 pm

        Serious?!?! Are YOU out of high school? “Why didn’t he withdraw? Because he hopes the school will change the date with all this media attention. A good person would not have the need to tell everyone about it,,,, notice the difference? Just one of the many examples the sentence structure can be changed.

        Actually, a good person would respect another person’s decision.

  16. Jasian Day

    Jun 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    It’s kinda sad when you think about it….
    Phil and Amy have such spoiled bratty kids.
    The “diva” of the family has to have daddy watch her achieve what millions of other people do every single year.
    I pity the future husband. Whole new level of selfishness

    • K Unt

      Jun 5, 2017 at 2:35 am

      Why you so jealous?

    • BB

      Jun 5, 2017 at 5:48 am

      What a sad, pathetic post.

    • Big Richard Cox

      Jun 5, 2017 at 7:18 am

      I liked the post! Hit the nail on the head.

    • birdie

      Jun 5, 2017 at 9:25 am

      his daughter is giving the speech. She is the class president and the valedictorian. so many people with their opinions yet completely ignorant of the facts surrounding the situation.

  17. ooffa

    Jun 4, 2017 at 1:25 pm

    Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, did I read that right. High School? I could understand if it was graduation from the doctorate program at Harvard or M.I.T. But high school! Go play tournament. Do your job!

    • birdie

      Jun 5, 2017 at 9:26 am

      yeah…class president and the valedictorian. giving a speech. i’d want to watch my kid graduate

      • ooffa

        Jun 5, 2017 at 10:12 am

        Sounds like she’s a real smart kid. She more than anyone should therefore understand why her Dad should play in the US Open.

  18. SH

    Jun 4, 2017 at 10:28 am

    He da best

  19. Progolfer

    Jun 4, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Nice gesture by Phil, but an even nicer gesture would be if his daughter forced her father to chase his dream– something I’m sure Phil encourages her and her siblings to do– of winning the US Open. Imagine the spark that would give Phil. He unexpectedly won the Masters when his wife was batting breast cancer. His daughter has a tremendous opportunity to give her father the greatest gift she ever could. If only she did and he went on to win the Grand Slam because of it!! That would complete his career in style.

  20. stephen Harasti

    Jun 4, 2017 at 10:01 am

    The course must not setup well for him

  21. Golferguy

    Jun 4, 2017 at 9:42 am

    He’s a good Dad.

    • Jasian Day

      Jun 4, 2017 at 1:46 pm

      Not to that one kid in Ohio or wherever

  22. Jasian Day

    Jun 4, 2017 at 9:24 am

    It ain’t like he was gonna win or anything

  23. Mad-Mex

    Jun 4, 2017 at 5:10 am

    This should be getting more news coverage than Tiger Woods

    Wonder who is the low life who shanked this?

    Wonder if he will have the backbone to admit it?

  24. Family Guy

    Jun 4, 2017 at 5:07 am

    Incredibly unselfish act!

  25. E

    Jun 4, 2017 at 1:54 am

    Awwwwww…. isn’t that special.

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Tour News

Keegan Bradley Puts Srixon Z-Forged Blades in the bag

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This week at the BMW Championship, Srixon staff member Keegan Bradley switched irons from the cult classic Z745 to the company’s current Z-Forged blade irons.

For most players, an iron change is not something you would do during the playoffs, but when talking to the team at Srixon, Keegan had been trying to replace his set for a little while. The Z745s were getting on in years and with recent swing changes, he was also looking for more consistent numbers and distance control. That’s an impressive request from one of the top-50 ballstrikers on tour

Let’s take a quick look at his stats

  • 12th in Proximity to Hole with an average distance of 34.2″
  • 16th in Strokes Gained Approach with .642
  • 38th in Greens in Regulation at 68.45%

His new Z-Forged Iron setup is 4-PW with Nippon Tour 120 X shafts.

Although Keegan started the BMW Championship in 66th place in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, he still has a chance of making it to the Tour Championship with a solid weekend in Chicago.

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Senior golf: Practical suggestions for lowering your scores

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This is the second article is our senior series. I was away for a while, so let’s get back to helping you seniors! If you missed the first article, take a look.

I live just a few yards from the green of a par 3, and it never ceases to amaze me the number of times I see two shots turned into three. Or more. All golfers, (particularly seniors) looking to cut their scores need to pay attention, not just to putts, but to the simple up and down opportunities that they missed. The par three by my house plays anywhere from 160 to 200 years, has a pond bordering the green on the left, and out of bounds (MY HOUSE) on the right. So it’s not an easy hole, and golfers miss that green all day; but even the poorer shots will come within 15, maybe 20 yards of the green. I see no reason a player should leave that hole with anything more than a bogey. Yet I see fives and sixes more than you can imagine…a chip shot is a very simple shot to learn.

MOST of your senior golf years should be spent chipping, pitching and putting.  Here’s why:

After a certain age. or perhaps when one has played a certain number of years, your golf swing can be changed slightly at the most! By slightly I mean this: Let’s say you are a 15 handicap player, you are hitting around five greens a round in regulation. If you make huge improvement in your swing, you may get to seven greens a round in regulation (the average of a 10-handicap player). That still leaves you 11-12 times per round OFF THE GREEN. Now, it’s true of course that swing improvements can also lead to missing closer to the green, but even here we are talking perhaps a pitch instead of a chip from the edge. BOTH these shots are within the skill set of most any golfer if they think and play differently around the greens. Hitting more greens is not always in that player’s capability, but getting the golf ball in the hole in fewer strokes IS!

I’ll use the green by my house as an example: the green is over 25 paces (75 feet) long. Like most courses, carts are kept on the cart path on all par 3s. I can’t begin to tell you how many players leave the cart with ONE, maybe TWO clubs regardless of the length of the shot. Those clubs are very often a wedge (of some loft) and/or a sand/lob wedge. Again most golfers are short with their tee shots (on all holes not just par 3s). So now they are standing in front of chip possibly 70-80 feet long with a 55-degree club. They either stub it or skull it, leaving themselves in double-bogey (or worse) position. That club selection is like taking a hit on 16 in blackjack when the dealer is showing 6!

Again, I know studies show that ballstriking is primary. Of course, you have to get your swing to the point where you can get the ball in play off the tee, but let me ask this question: when ballstriking is as good as it is going to get, you will still miss plenty of greens. What then? Are you doomed to shoot 94 because your swing cannot change greatly? The answer is NO, if you think better, and learn to hit short shots better. A big change in a golf swing requires time and athleticism. Short shots need technique and feel, but MUCH less strength, flexibility or general athleticism.

As a general rule, I teach most of my students the following priority list when near the green

  • PUTT whenever you can
  • CHIP if you can’t putt
  • PITCH only when you must.

Putting and straightforward chipping or bumping-and-running is a MUCH higher percentage shot. Do yourself a favor and play the shot that you are most capable of NOT the one you’ve seen on TV. Look, you’re probably not gonna hole a chip or pitch, so where do you want to be on your next shot?

Many of you have heard of the “rule of 12.” I’m going to try to explain this as simple as possible and suggest quick math for the course.

  • Pace off the distance you want the golf ball to fly and land two paces (5-6 yards) on the green. NO FURTHER THAN THAT!
  • Let’s say that distance is 4 paces (two yards off the green, two yards to land on the green).
  • Now pace from that point to the hole. Let’s say for the sake of simplicity the hole is 8 yards (25 feet or so) from the landing spot.
  • You have a 2 to 1 relationship of carry to roll.
  • Here’s how to do quick course math in your head: 12-2=10 iron, PW
  • If you have 3X roll vs carry, 12-3=9, iron.
  • If you have 4X roll vs carry, 12-4=8 iron. and so on…
  • This is NOT CAST IN STONE, it is merely a guide.
  • NOTE:  This applies to chipping only; next time I’ll deal with pitching. And course, just like putting uphill, downhill, into grain, down grain etc. have to be taken into consideration.

 Simple drill:  Put a headcover two paces on the green. Chip to it, no further! See what club it takes to reach various hole positions.

No one knows better than a golf instructor of nearly 40 years how difficult it is to get someone to change their habits. I can’t tell you how many times I have suggested people try another approach around the green, and invariably they go right back to their “favorite club.” It’s your choice, but PLEASE practice your short game most of the time!

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Morning 9: U.S. Am, BMW report | Tiger’s start | ROY race

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com; @benalberstadt on Instagram)

August 16, 2019

Good Friday morning, golf fans.
1. Round 1 report
AP report on Justin Thomas’ opening-round 65…”On the range, Justin Thomas had no idea where the ball was going. Some five hours later, he had a share of the course record at Medinah.”
  • “Ultimately, all that mattered Thursday in the BMW Championship was taking a good step toward an important goal. Thomas already is set for the TOUR Championship next week and the chase for FedExCup and its $15 million prize. That’s not what interests him.”
  • “It’s about winning tournaments,” he said.
  • “He made his first birdie after hitting a tree on the fourth hole, leaving him a 5-iron he hit to 2 feet. His last birdie was a putt from about 60 feet on the fringe from the back of the 16th green. He did enough right in between for a 7-under 65 and a share of the lead with Jason Kokrak.”

Full piece.

2. U.S. Am
Golfweek’s Adam Woodard on the action from the Round of 16…
  • “The afternoon session on Pinehurst No. 2 began with a handful of lopsided matches, highlighted by Parker Coody’s 6 and 5 loss to Spencer Ralston. Before his Round of 16 loss, Coody had been cruising through match play with victories of 7 and 6 on Wednesday and 5 and 4 in Thursday’s morning Round of 32.”
  • “Georgia Tech’s Andy Ogletree followed suit shortly after with a 5 and 4 victory over Blake Hathcoat, with 17-year-old junior golfer Cohen Trolio defeating Alex Fitzpatrick by the same margin. Fellow teenager Palmer Jackson, 18, earned a 2 up victory over Isaiah Salinda, who earlier this Spring went 3-0 in match play to help lead his Stanford Cardinal to the NCAA national championship.”

Full piece.

Other matches: Austin Squires topped John Pak…William Holcomb V beat Pierceson Coody…Karl Vilips eliminated Brad Dalke…
3. Green in front
EuropeanTour.com report…”Gavin Green picked up where he left off 12 months ago with an opening 64 to take the first round lead at the D+D Real Czech Masters.”
  • “The Malaysian made his debut at Albatross Golf Resort last season and was one of four players to match the course record with an opening 64 before he went on to post the lowest 36 hole total in tournament history.”
  • “Another eight under par effort handed him the solo lead after 18 holes this time around, as he led the way from England’s Lee Slattery and South African Erik van Rooyen.”

Full piece.

4. Tiger’s start
Steve DiMeglio for Golfweek“On a day when most players were in the Diamond Lane rising to the top of the leaderboard as venerable Medinah Country Club was vulnerable after recent rains, Woods got stuck in the slow lane and got lost in the leaders’ rearview mirrors.”
  • “Woods put his signature to a pedestrian 1-under-par 71 on a day when nearly half the field was speeding along in the 60s. While breaking par was a victory for Woods after he was forced to withdraw from last week’s Northern Trust with an oblique strain, there was little to celebrate.”
  • “Once I got on the golf course and felt how soft the greens were, it’s like, ‘Hey, we’ve got to go. We’ve got to make birdies,'” said Woods, who did make three in his first five holes but only one after that. “I didn’t feel any tightness in my oblique at all, so that was a positive, and I just need to clean up my rounds and get going. Seems like the whole field is under par. The golf course is soft. Even though it’s long, it’s just gettable.”
5. ROY race
Cameron Morfit at PGATour.com…”It was hard to miss the symbolism as Sungjae Im, 26th in the FedExCup and the current favorite for Rookie of the Year, stroked putts on the practice green after an opening-round, 2-under 70 at the BMW Championship at Medinah No. 3.”
  • “That’s because behind him, meeting the press after his 5-under 67, was Collin Morikawa.”
  • “…Five rookies have advanced to the 69-player BMW Championship: frontrunner Im (FedExCup No. 26), Morikawa (57), Cameron Champ (58), Adam Long (65) and Wyndham Clark (68).”
6. The fateful call
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”Speaking on Wednesday night as part of his induction into the Western Golf Association’s Caddie Hall of Fame, LaCava regaled attendees with this simple back and forth between him and his current boss, Tiger Woods, circa 2011.”
  • Woods to LaCava: “Are you interested [in being my caddie]?”
  • LaCava: “F*** yeah, I’m interested!”

Full piece.

7. Viktor! 
Golf Digest’s Brian Wacker…”When the PGA Tour regular season ended a couple of weeks ago, former Oklahoma State star Viktor Hovland found himself on the wrong side of getting his card straight out of college, coming up an agonizing 67 FedEx Cup points short.”
  • “Naturally, there was a swell of support that he should be granted one anyway, since in five of his starts he didn’t earn any points because he was an amateur. Among the finishes that didn’t count: A T-12 at the U.S. Open and a T-32 at the Masters. Had he been retroactively awarded those points, he would have earned enough to qualify for the Playoffs and more importantly gotten a card for next season.”
  • “I knew going in that most likely the way I had to make my PGA Tour card was through the Korn Ferry [Tour] Finals,” Hovland said from this week’s Nationwide Children’s Hospital Championship in Ohio, where he continues his quest to earn a PGA Tour card. “So I’m looking forward to getting off to a good start here at Scarlet.”

Full piece.

8. Top instructors on slow play
Digest’s Matthew Rudy chatted with some of the biggest names in instruction about pace-of-play in pro golf…
  • “Jim McLean (Jim McLean Golf School at the Biltmore, Coral Gables, Fla.): It’s a major issue. Slow play ruins golf, whether you’re talking about a tour event or a regular weekend round at a public course. How many tee times is a course losing when a round takes five and a half hours?”
  • “Mark Blackburn (Greystone Golf & Country Club, Birmingham, Ala.): Yes, it’s an issue for the Tour, but I wouldn’t call it a universal issue. So much of it has to do with course design. In the U.S., you’re usually riding, and the tee boxes are far away from the previous green. I walked 11 miles following [student] Chez Reavie in Kapalua. That takes time. A course with water and sand? It just takes longer. They’re not having the same problems in the U.K., where the classic courses have tees and greens that are closer together. You’re playing in two and a half hours over there.”

Full piece.

9. Screw the haters
Golf Channel’s Nick Menta…”During the Wednesday round he recorded a video for another user’s Snapchat account, which was subsequently recorded and made the rounds in a more public manner.”
  • “In the video DeChambeau remains unapologetic, noting that despite the viral putt he was “never on the clock last week” at Liberty National.”
  • “I’m out here, doing the right thing, having a great time with the pro-am guys, killing it,” DeChambeau said. “And honestly, we’re on these guys’ asses all the time. Last week I played under time par, this week we’ll do the same thing.”
  • …”Y’all can say whatever you want, but we’re having a f—ing awesome time,” DeChambeau said. “So screw all y’all haters, no big deal. I still love you all, even though you hate me.”
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