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Tour Rundown: Michelle Wie, Phil Mickelson end victory droughts



It had been four long years since her last victory for Michelle Wie. In 2014, she won the US Open and could understandably have expected more victories and major titles in the coming years. It wasn’t to be. That streak ended this week.

Phil Mickelson, unfathomably, had gone five years since his 2013 win at the British Open. Despite many close calls, Lefty was unable to pull the string. Fortunately for his adoring public, he is back atop the podium. A big week for ending dry spells. Let’s run it all down in this week’s Tour Rundown.

WGC Mexico Championship ends Mickelson’s five-year slump

Part of the hilarity of golf is that accuracy matters little when putting is on fire. Phil Mickelson came to Mexico in 2017, visited every acre of the golf course, and still finished tied for seventh,  four shots removed from the lead. With little fanfare, Mickelson bided his time at Chapultepec golf club in 2018, then pounced near the end. He birdied the 7oth hole to tie Justin Thomas atop the leaderboard, then dispatched the wunderkind with a par at the 17th hole for tour win number 43.

How Mickelson snuck in for the win

Lefty averaged one bogey per round. Thomas had six eagles, but he also had six bogeys. No one else in the field was able to minimize bogeys like the eventual winner. Mickelson’s late heroics included birdies at 15 and 16 to tie at the top, a par at the last (not so easy a feat, as we shall soon read) and then what should have been a birdie on the playoff hole, but somehow stayed out. All in all, Phil the Thrill was somehow destined to win this week in Mexico.

How the rest were bested

In a tweet, Justin Thomas showered props on the champion, while confessing that he was fortunate to even have a shot. His bogey on the playoff hole took the shine off the week, but maintained his ranking as current best in the world. To begin, the star of the week finally crashed to Earth on Sunday. After playing 13-under par golf through three rounds, and leading for two of them, unheralded Shubhankar Sharma bogeyed four of his final six holes to tie for ninth. Next in the gutted department was Tyrrell Hatton. Tied with Mickelson and Thomas on the 18th tee, Hatton bogeyed to drop to a tie for 3rd with Spain’s Rafael Cabrera Bello. The Spaniard had birdied the last to get to this point, and oh, what Hatton would have given for that magic. Note to Thomas Bjorn: pair Hatton and Cabrera in Ryder Cup in France.

HSBC Women’s World Championship to Wie in 11th hour

A 35-foot putt for the win, from just off the 72nd green, is a PR dream scenario. Michelle Wie had it and made it, and that’s how the East was won.

How Wiesy made it look easy, kinda sorta

First came Danielle Kang, looking invincible through 36 holes. Next were the Korda sisters, with Nelly in the lead and Jessica in the hunt, after 54 holes were complete. In the end, Michelle Wie stood tallest and hoisted the winner’s trophy. A Sunday 65 is never refused, and the 2014 US Open titleist turned in a clean card of seven birdies and 11 pars to outdistance a quartet of runners-up by that one, slim stroke. The HSBC was Wie’s fifth LPGA tour title and first since that Pinehurst Open, four years ago.

How close the others came

Jenny Shin had a 65 of her own on Sunday, but it included a bogey at the worst time: hole 72. The miscue cost her the lead, then a playoff after Wie’s heroics. Nelly Korda also had a chance to tie on the last green, but her wee putt for birdie was never on line, and never threatened the hole. Brooke Henderson started fierce, with four birds in eight holes, but made no more until the last, to reach -16 after a 67. Danielle Kang, along with Korda, had to feel the greatest frustration. Kang had birdies at two and four… and 16 pars for 70. Korda had two birdies and one bogey for 71. Alas, it wasn’t their day.

Stricker claims Cologard Classic for 1st Champions Tour triumph

OK, we thought that 4 years was a long time…then we winced at a five-year dry spell. What about Steve Stricker, who hadn’t won since the 2012 Tournament of Champions. Well, he finally did, and it was his 1st trophy on the Champions Tour. Stricker finished two shots clear of a trio of runners-up at Tucson.

How Stricker stayed the course

Let’s remember who we’re talking about here. Stricker was most improved golfer on the PGA Tour two years in succession. The guy knows how to deal with periods of fallow. He probably doesn’t like them, but if Vegas were to give odds on golfers tenacious enough to come back, Stricker would be an easy bet. The Wisconsonian began Sunday 1 shot back of Tommy Tolles. When Tolles backed up, the door opened for all comers. Stricker combined position with poise and edged past the field to claim the cup.

How the pretenders lined up behind Stricker

Fellow cheesehead Jerry Kelly was Stricker’s biggest threat, but he had too much turf to make up in round three. Kelly’s opening salvo of 70-72 was kinda weak, but his 8-birdie 65 on Sunday tied the low round of the week. He jumped up 21 spots into the week’s 2nd spot. Tied with JK were 1st-round leader Scott Dunlap and 2016 US Senior Open champion Gene Sauers. Dunlap opened with one of those 65s, but could not return to the 60s the final 2 days. 69 on either day would have meant a playoff for the Floridian nee Pennsylvanian. As for Sauers, he needed birdie at the last to tie Stricker, but closed instead with bogey to drop out of 2nd alone.

Coetzee claims 2nd Tshwane Open by 2 strokes

George Coetzee will welcome the European Tour to South Africa every week, thank you very much. The Pretoria native, who played the Pretoria country club course with great frequency as a youth, won his 2nd co-sanctioned event there in four years. Coetzee took the lead on Friday and refused to offer it up to anyone else.

How Coetzee turned home cooking into another title

It wasn’t easy. The 54-hole leader bogeyed two consecutive holes, early on Sunday, to offer hope to his closest pursuer, Sam Horsfield. Coetzee found his focus two holes later, making his first birdie of the day at the sixth hole. He followed it with six more birdies, against a bogey at the 16th, for 67 on the day. The victory was his ninth on the South African tour, and his fourth on Europe’s premier golf tour.

How Horsfield mounted his comeback

After Friday, it was Coetzee’s event to lose, and he never gave real hope to the field. Although Horsfield drew within a shot on Sunday, he had too much real estate to overcome. Despite opening 68-69, the Englishman found himself far behind Coetzee’s 67-64 start. Horsfield had Saturday’s low round of 64, and he would have needed another 64 to put pressure on the eventual winner. Still, Horsfield had to be satisfied with an early-season, solo 2nd place, one ahead of Finland’s Miko Korhonen. The Fin took the lead over the round’s first seven holes, as he stood -15 while Coetzee was edging backward. Korhonen could not keep up the torrid pace, and ended the day on -15.

New Zealand Open to Nisbet by 2

It was going to take a monumental comeback by anyone in the field, to erase Terry Pilkadaris’ 54-hole lead at the New Zealand Open. The Aussie stood at 190 strokes through three rounds, a massive 23-strokes under par. Incredibly, after summoning 25 birdies over the 1st three rounds, Pilkadaris was able to uncover one solitary bird on day four. This treachery opened the door to the field, and Daniel Nisbet stepped through.

How Nisbet caught the rabbit

After Pilkadaris’ sublime 62 on Saturday, the tournament appeared over. However, the leader’s 70 was overtaken by another 62, this time from countryman Daniel Nisbet. The Queenslander started well, at three under through 9 holes, to take the lead in the chase for runner-up spot. A back nine of one eagle and four consecutive birdies (holes 14-17) brought Nisbet home in 30 strokes. What had become a two-horse race was decided when neither golfer birdied the final green.

How Pilkadaris lost the magic wand

A golfer who marks down 17 pars and one birdie, is usually the toast of the town. In Pilkadaris’ case, the day could not have been more frustrating. Putt after putt stayed out of the hole, as his closest competitor drained one effort after another. All that was left to do was shrug and move on to the next event, consoled somehow by a runner-up finish.

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Ronald Montesano writes for from western New York. He dabbles in coaching golf and teaching Spanish, in addition to scribbling columns on all aspects of golf, from apparel to architecture, from equipment to travel. Follow Ronald on Twitter at @buffalogolfer.



  1. Scooter

    Mar 6, 2018 at 1:37 pm

    Thomas is also not ranked best in the world. That’s currently DJ

  2. Kyle

    Mar 5, 2018 at 2:51 pm

    Thomas did not have 6 eagles.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Mickelson’s mea culpa | Pros slay USGA | RIP to a pair of HOFers



Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below.

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

By Ben Alberstadt (


June 21, 2018

Good Thurday morning, golf fans. Four days after the end of the U.S. Open, the items dominating the news wire all pertain to negative elements of the national championship. Injecting this for balance: Brooks Koepka played really well!
1. Mickelson’s mea culpa
Four days after his inglorious performance on Shinnecock’s 13th green, Phil Mickelson sent a text message to a group of reporters that included the words, “I’m sorry.”
  • “I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”
  • Critics will say the apology is too late in coming and doesn’t go far enough. Supporters, those amused by Mickelson’s antics, will see it as a PR gesture in the face of pressure to atone.
2. “Mike Davis is Dean Wormer”
PGA Tour players are slaying the USGA and its chief Mike Davis

Just look at these quotes from Brian Wacker’s bit for Golf Digest.

  • “It’s a private fraternity and you abide by their rules,” one multiple major winner said. “[USGA CEO] Mike Davis is Dean Wormer, except the ending is not as good as Animal House.”
  • James Hahn: “To me, that’s amateur hour...They don’t know how to run a professional event because they don’t run professional events.”
  • “Not only have we lost trust in the USGA as players, but I’ve lost trust in our national open to be in the hands of an organization like that. For how well other tournaments are run, the U.S. Open has fallen to the worst major that we have.”
  • “A lot of players are disenchanted with the organization, the tournament and the setup,” said a former winner of the event. “No, I don’t trust them.”
3. McIlroy laughed too                                                                   
The image of 48-year-old Phil Mickelson jogging after his golf ball on the 13th green at Shinnecock, Saturday, was bizarrely comedic. Even if you condemn Mickelson in the strongest of terms, taken on its face, the scene is a silly one.
  • That said, it’s interesting that two of the biggest names in the game–Rory McIlroy and Jordan Spieth– had the same response: laughter. Speaking before the Travelers Championship, Rory McIlroy said
  • “I saw what happened…and honestly, I laughed. I felt there was a massive overreaction to it. Knowing Phil, he knew what he was doing, and as a player who has been in that head space before in a tournament, I can see it happening.”
4. RIP to a pair of greats of the game
News of the passings of Hubert Green and Peter Thomson hit the wires yesterday. Thomson, 88, had been battling Alzheimers, and throat cancer felled Green, 71. (No disrespect intended by not leading with this story; death is, I know, a helluva lot more significant than the USGA or the ramifications of its course setups.)
  • Hubert Green’s obituary, here.
5. Spieth’s blackout
No, nothing alcohol induced, but rather, Jordan Spieth reflected on his Travelers Championship-winning bunker hole-out and the jubilant celebration (and botched chest bump) that followed.
  • “Just that celebration in general, I blacked out,” Spieth said. “It drops and you just react. For me, I’ve had a few instances where I’ve been able to celebrate or react on a 72nd, 73rd hole, 74th hole, whatever it may be, and it just shows how much it means to us.”
  • “There’s been a lot of pretty bad celebrations on the PGA Tour. There’s been a lot of missed high-fives…I’ve been part of plenty of them. Pretty hard to miss when I’m going into Michael for a chest bump.”
6. What is “feel” in putting, really?
PGA Master Professional Rod Lidenberg offers a thorough introduction to the stimpmeter and how determining green speeds is the basis for “feel.”
  • He writes: “The key to the entire process is allowing yourself to make a subconscious connection between what your eyes have observed and the associated outcome. You must then trust what you have learned at a sub-conscious level. A conscious attempt to produce a given outcome will short-circuit the system. When it comes to judging speed, you must be prepared to surrender your conscious mind to your sub-conscious mind, which is infinitely wiser and more capable of calculating speed.”
7. Cool! Coul plans passed
The Coore & Crenshaw project near Royal Dornoch, Coul Links, has gotten the go-ahead.
Here’s something of a pull-back-the-curtain portion on the road to approval from the press release (h/t Geoff Shackelford)
  • “First, a world class links course near Dornoch would prove economically transformational, perhaps creating the Highlands as the third major golf destination in Scotland.”
  • “Second, Coul Links is an extraordinary site ecologically and our plans will improve it. We will disturb 13.4 hectares of dune habitat, but we will improve 20 hectares and provide a site management plan in perpetuity.
  • “The people in the community of Embo have spoken confidently with their outstanding support. We are humbled and thankful to be their neighbours and partners.
  • “Third, after three exhaustive years, virtually everyone in the Highlands wants this project completed. Yes, there are objectors with legitimate concerns, and we respect them but make no doubt the voice of the people has been heard.
8. Phil’s robo froyo
Not an Onion story; real thing that is actually happening here. Phil Mickelson and his manager/business partner, Steve Loy have signed a deal with Generation NEXT Franchise Brands, Inc. and its flagship subsidiary, Reis & Irvy’s, to open 30 yogurt locations in San Diego.
  • We’ll just quote directly from the press release, because, who can paraphrase language like this?
  • “Reis & Irvy’s-branded signature robot characters of the same name can dispense servings of frozen yogurt, ice cream, gelatos and sorbet topped with a selection of six delicious toppings in under 60 seconds. With self-checkout touch screen ordering and payment options, video animation, music and delicious frozen dessert provided exclusively by Dannon, robot vendors meet consumer demand for convenience, entertainment and a superior quality product.”
9. Place your bets 
A quick look at the favorites for the Travelers Championship (via Bovada)
  • Justin Thomas +1200
  • Rory McIlroy +1200
  • Jordan Spieth +1400
  • Brooks Koepka +1600
  • Patrick Reed +1600
  • Jason Day +1600
  • Paul Casey +2000
  • Webb Simpson +2000
  • Marc Leishman +2500
  • Bryson DeChambeau +2500
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Phil Mickelson apologizes for U.S. Open display



Phil Mickelson has apologized for his actions at Shinnecock Hills, Saturday.

In a text sent to a select group of reporters, Mickelson said Wednesday

“I know this should’ve come sooner, but it’s taken me a few days to calm down. My anger and frustration got the best of me last weekend. I’m embarrassed and disappointed by my actions. It was clearly not my finest moment and I’m sorry.”

Mickelson spoke briefly with reporters after exiting the scoring tent, Saturday. To refresh, it was then that he said

“It’s certainly not meant (to show disrespect). It’s meant to take advantage of the rules as best you can. In that situation I was just, I was just going back and forth. I’ll gladly take the two shots over continuing that display,” and “I’ve had multiple times when I’ve wanted to do that, and I finally did.”

The left-hander didn’t speak with the media Sunday, and he hadn’t issued any statements prior to the text.

He was penalized two shots for hitting a ball in motion, but the USGA stopped short of disqualifying Mickelson, believing that his actions didn’t constitute a “serious breach” of the rules. Mickelson spoke with USGA chief Mike Davis at length about the incident, and the governing body remained steadfast in its conclusion.

Responses from the media and his peers ranged from amusement, to support, to outright condemnation. Additionally, just how calculated Mickelson’s actions were was a subject for debate, with some believing Mickelson merely lost his head and the calculated “taking advantage of the rules” explanation was merely a post hoc invention.

The apology, and the timing and method of the apology, will do little to satisfy Mickelson’s critics on the matter. For those, like Jordan Spieth, who believe Mickelson was merely using the rules in his favor, the mea culpa was likely unnecessary.

Surely, the text message will not put the incident to bed.

Mickelson is next expected in the field in two weeks at The Greenbrier.

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GolfWRX Morning 9: Mickelson still on pros’ minds | Scotty Cameron speaks



Good morning, GolfWRX members. As most of you are signed up for our newsletters, you likely already know that I’ve been sending this little Morning 9 roundup of nine items of note.

In case you’ve missed it, or you prefer to read on site rather than in your email, we’re including it here. Check out today’s Morning 9 below.

If you’re not signed up for our newsletters, you can subscribe here.

By Ben Alberstadt (


June 20 2018

Good Wednesday morning, golf fans. What a golf world we live in. I’ve been getting a few emails from readers saying someone from the USGA mispronounced low amateur Matt Parziale’s last name during the U.S. Open trophy ceremony. I didn’t see it; but if so, good grief.
1. Mickelson on their minds


Perhaps you’re tired of hearing about Phil Mickelson’s actions Saturday at Shinnecock, but players on the PGA Tour aren’t tired of talking about the subject. Additionally, several gentlemen’s early U.S. Open exits means this week at the Travelers is the media’s first chance to catch up with them (Spieth, McIlroy, Day).
  • …and of course, anonymous takes! (via Brian Wacker) “He should’ve been disqualified,” insisted one former major champion. “Why don’t these governing bodies just enforce the friggin’ rules? It was like Tiger [at the Masters] in 2013. That was a hard one, but this one Phil knew what he did and told everyone what he did, which was worse. It’s like robbing a place, walking out and saying to the cops ‘I did it,’ and the cops go, ‘It’s OK, it’s just you.'”
  • Brandt Snedeker: “He hit a moving ball and tried to use the rules to his advantage,” said Brandt Snedeker, who was among those who thought Mickelson should not have been DQed. “The USGA had a chance to disqualify him for being egregious and they didn’t, so no. The rules screw us over so many times, so more power to him for using them.”
  • Jordan Spieth: “I laughed, I thought it was really funny…”Phil knows the rules,” he said. “There was a chance it was going to go back behind the bunker and he’s got to chip back, or he was going to play off the green anyways, so he was potentially saving himself a shot. So if that was the intent, then what’s the harm in that?”
2. Jason Day pulls no punches


Taking one particularly hot take off the plate of responses, Jason Day (who won’t face awkwardness with Mickelson in any Ryder or Presidents Cup locker rooms) was pretty clear in stating Mickelson ought to have been disqualified.
  • “It’s just unfortunate that it happened at the USGA’s tournament, where they enforce the rules, like the R&A. And I think they may have, they probably should have enforced a different outcome for Phil….But it is what it is. It’s done. It’s just disappointing that that is overshadowing the winner of the whole week. I think if they had it back again, they may have chosen a different outcome.”
The Australian also had some choice words for golf’s governing body regarding course setup.
  • “…Saturday was a total, it was like two different golf courses, practically, on the greens Saturday versus Sunday,” Day said. “I just wish they would leave it alone and just let it go. Not saying to let the greens go and let them dry out and make it unfair, I’m just saying plan accordingly and hopefully whatever the score finishes, it finishes, whether it’s under par or over par.”
3. The Phil Rule


All of this brings us here:’s Dylan Dethier says it’s time for “the Phil Rule” in the wake of Lefty’s creative use of Rule 14-5.
  • “…giving Mickelson just the two-shot penalty essentially endorsed this hockey-style alley-oop as legitimate strategy. As a result, the USGA (which has not yet responded to’s request for comment) is left with one option: It’s time for the Phil Rule.”
  • “But the USGA ultimately cited rule 14-5, which covers strokes made at a moving ball and also calls for a two-stroke penalty, but has no clause covering additional punishment. Because of the precedent now set, a new rule should address the simple fact that hitting a moving ball just isn’t a part of golf. The so-called Phil Rule will be simple: anyone who intentionally strikes a moving ball will be disqualified.”


4. Johnson on Shinnecock


Andy Johnson at the Fried Egg is a Voice (capital V) in golf, and we’re lucky he’s emerged in recent years. His U.S. Open post-mortem is a must read.
  • A taste…”Many of today’s prototypical Tour pros appeared clueless at Shinnecock thanks to changing winds, uneven lies and vexing green complexes. The idea of flighting a 4-iron into a modest wind from 180 to control the spin as opposed to bashing a 7-iron is a foreign concept. Rather than use the ground around the greens, many immediately grabbed their 60 degree and watched helplessly as chip shots rolled back to their feet. Shinnecock Hills asked a slew of questions to the world’s best players that they had never seen.”
  • “The technology effect has been two-fold. It’s made it nearly impossible for the USGA to properly set up a golf course, and it has also robbed the game of skill. Combine the two together, and the line of a good setup and bad setup is razor thin. The vast majority of players lacked the ability to hit the shots that were needed at Shinnecock, and their first reaction was to complain.”
5. PGA’s double standard?


Mike Purkey of takes issue with the PGA of America’s decision not to take action against president Paul Levy following his June 7 DUI…especially in light of the organization’s eagerness to remove Ted Bishop
  • Purkey writes: “Here are the facts, based on the police report: Levy got behind the wheel impaired and put people and property in danger. The fact that he hit only a traffic sign is a stroke of pure luck. The question must be asked: If Levy had hit a car with people inside, would the PGA leadership look at this incident in a different light?”
  • “If the answer is “yes,” then the PGA has the obligation to remove Levy from office. Because it doesn’t matter what – or whom – Levy ran his car into if, in fact, he was impaired. He could have injured or killed innocent motorists while on the road in his condition. That’s the disqualifying factor.”


6. Ted Bishop


Speaking of Ted Bishop, the former PGA of America president spoke at length with our Michael Williams on his 19th Hole podcast.


Here’s a bit of what he had to say about the U.S. Open setup
  • “You know Michael, I thought the most telling interview that I saw the entire weekend on the course set up was the one that FOX did yesterday with Patrick Reed when his round was finished. And they asked him about the Saturday setup and he said, “You know, I really didn’t have a problem with it.” He said, “There were two pins on 13 and 15 that were maybe two yards out of place and it made a completely different situation on the putting greens.” But he said, “Other than that, I didn’t have any issues with it.” And that’s his personality. He’s the guy that rolls with the flow and doesn’t make any excuses.”
  • “Now obviously, there were a lot of players that were very critical. I was just reading an article before this phone call. Some quotes from Steve Stricker, for example. And Strick’s usually a guy that doesn’t say anything bad about anything and he was very critical of about the set up. But I think the biggest controversy would be the fact that the players in the morning on Saturday were probably a different golf course than the players in the afternoon were. And that’s just sometimes in golf, the way that it goes.”


7. A raw release


Raw iron sets, at the retail level, are rare, so it’s cool to see WIlson introducing the FG Tour V6 Raw irons.
  • The new FG Tour V6 Raw irons have an unplated finish, and they’re designed to “develop a unique patina based on age, exposure and use over time,” according to Wilson. This gives each iron a unique look, and one that’s far from the clean cut original FG Tour release that had a chrome finish.
8. Scotty speaks!


Famed putter maker Scotty Cameron spoke with longtime equipment scribe E. Michael Johnson.


A morsel…What’s the coolest item you have in the Gallery right now?
  • “I made a putter for myself. I think alligator is such a gentlemanly, cool material. So I made myself a Gatorback putter. It’s kind of like an 8802, but with a wide-bodied flange. I can do the wide-body flange because I have an aluminum sole plate. But the back has something that looks like the dashboard from a Bentley. But then that long, round flange in the back is kind of a plain area of blankness.”
  • “So I milled a little pocket back there that has a rim of stainless steel, then I created a stamp the shape of the mill pocket, cut out the alligator. I used a special glue to inlay the alligator into the back of the putter, so it has a Gatorback Bentley back and bottom. It’s spectacular. And then I matched it with an alligator grip. Then I took the alligator to make headcovers to match the grip and the back. It is expensive and it’s a pain to do, but when I was done with it I went, “Oh my goodness.”


9. Shark in the buff


As he said he’d consider doing when asked by Michael Williamson our 19th Hole podcast

, Greg Norman is set to appear in the ESPN “Body Issue.”
  • The 63-year-old will follows in the footsteps of Gary Player, as well as number of other golfers, including Camilo Villegas, Belen Mozo, Carly Booth, Sandra Gal, Suzann Pettersen, and Christina Kim.
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19th Hole