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Woods-Mickelson practice round: Tiger eagles No. 13, 15, duo thump Couples-Pieters team

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How did Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, once bitter rivals, wind up teaming up for a practice round at Augusta National?

“Phil asked Joey [LaCava, Woods’ caddie] if we were free for a game,’ Woods said in his Tuesday press conference. “Phil and I talked about it and decided to play. We partnered up against Thomas [Pieters] and poor Freddie.”

“Thomas and I, we got shalayleed,” Couples said after the round. “We were 2 up after 2 and then it didn’t go so well after that. It was fun. It was very loud, it was very fun, and they hit some really good shots. Wow.”

Shalayleed! Mickelson made a string of birdies and Woods eagled both par-5s on the back nine. After the pair played the par-5 15th, Mickelson put on a flop shot exhibition while Woods looked on. Per Fred Couples, Woods was driving the ball well.

And of course, the duo engaged (along with Pieters and Couples) in the obligatory ball skipping at the 16th hole.

AUGUSTA, GA – APRIL 03: Fred Couples,Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson of the United States and Thomas Pieters of Belgium skip balls on the 16th hole during a practice round prior to the start of the 2018 Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club on April 3, 2018 in Augusta, Georgia. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

Asked about his relationship with Mickelson, Woods said,

“Phil and I’ve been through it for so long…when I got hurt, I had to take a different role on the teams…Phil was great. He tried to help me out when I was planning a comeback. Our friendship has gotten stronger over the years…we’ve gone through it for a long time…We understand where we are in the game versus where we were in our early 20s.”

The 14-time major champion was full of praise for the left-hander, calling him competitive, feisty, determined, and full of self-belief, adding, “That’s why he’s won so many tournaments.”

Woods tees off with Marc Leishman and Tommy Fleetwood at 10:42 a.m. Thursday. Mickelson is off at 1:27 with Rickie Fowler and Matt Kuchar.

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  1. Big Dog

    Apr 5, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Tiger tiger tiger… so sick of it. He’s in 30th place and I’m forced to watch every shot he plays in replays. How in the world is he favored to win , pathetic . He is finished why don’t they admit it. He’s on the way to a Waffle House right now to find a companion for the night

  2. joro

    Apr 4, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    Tiger, Tiger, Tiger, the Tiger Woods show is about to begin.

  3. Miles Bruce

    Apr 4, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Is it just me or does it look like Phil is holding a right handed driver in this pic?

    • Tom

      Apr 4, 2018 at 9:15 am

      At first glance I can see it, but the driver shaft is on the far side of the head (which is pointing up), so it’s a lefty.

  4. MT

    Apr 3, 2018 at 11:05 pm

    Phil and Tiger can become the modern day Jack and Arnold. With their combined popularity they can make great progress promoting the game of golf, charities…etc.

    The possibilities could be endless If they can keep their egos and personal lives in check.

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Brooks Koepka with Mizuno JPX 919 irons, TaylorMade M5 driver in the bag at Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

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Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX919

Brooks Koepka is in action this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship equipped with a new driver and set of irons.

Golf.com’s Jonathan Wall broke the news, via Twitter, that Kopeka has TaylorMade’s new M5 Driver in his bag this week, as well as Mizuno’s JPX 919 Tour Irons.

The three-time major champ used TaylorMade’s M3 460 Driver and Mizuno’s JPX 900 Tour irons throughout 2018, and it appears as if Koepka is happy to make the transition to both manufacturers latest additions of those series of clubs right from the get-go in 2019.

Brooks-Koepka-Mizuno-JPX-919

Koepka is currently T13 after two rounds of play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship and sits five shots off the lead.

 

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European Tour members have heated exchange over cheating incident…from 2013

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Social media appears to have become the new playground for golfers to air their issues with each other, and this week it was the turn of two European Tour members.

The two men involved were Spain’s Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and England’s Simon Dyson, and the subject of the feud revolves around a new change in the rulebook of golf. As of 2019, players are allowed to repair spike marks on the greens, an act which Dyson was found guilty of doing when it was prohibited back in 2013, and subsequently found himself slapped with a fine and a suspension.

Fernandez Castano kicked off the fun and games following his opening round at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. The Spaniard said how the new rule “will take some time to get used to” before adding the punchline  “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”

The bad blood between Fernandez-Castano and Dyson appears to be fully down to Dyson’s misdemeanour in 2013, as one year later on Twitter when the Spaniard was asked for his opinion on Dyson; he bluntly replied: “Used to like him, not anymore”.

Asked why he hadn’t tagged Dyson in his tweet yesterday, the Spaniard claimed that the Englishman had blocked him, before Dyson took to the stage, with a different rationale. In a since-deleted tweet, Dyson stated that Fernandez-Castano didn’t have the cojones (or something similar) and stated that the Spaniard is a “sad little man”.

After getting that off his chest, Dyson approached the incident differently, saying that he, unlike Fernandez-Caetano supposedly, had moved on from the affair which occurred six years ago.

Nothing quite like a good old confrontation on social media with a peer to begin your professional year, eh?

 

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Morning 9: Watch out, intentional double hitters!| LPGA Tour in on betting | Heart surgery for Rose’s caddie |

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By Ben Alberstadt (ben.alberstadt@golfwrx.com)

January 17, 2019

Good Thursday morning, golf fans.

 

1. Tiger to return at Torrey
As expected, Tiger Woods will be in the field for the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines next week. Woods made the announcement today via his social media channels.
  • The 43-year-old has won at the venue eight times (seven Farmers, one U.S. Open). He most recently claimed a W at the La Jolla, California, course when he won the 2013 Farmers Insurance Open. He tied for 23rd at the event last year.
  • We last saw the 14-time major champion in action at his Thanksgiving weekend showdown with Phil Mickelson. He hasn’t played an official PGA Tour event since winning the Tour Championship at the end of September.
  • Woods is also officially committed to the Genesis Open, which is run by his foundation and begins February 14 at Riviera.
2. LPGA Tour getting on the betting bandwagon?
Golf Channel’s Randall Mell…”If legalized gambling is going to boost interest in golf, the LPGA doesn’t want to be left behind.”
  • “Commissioner Mike Whan is positioning the tour to be ready to manage and benefit from real-time betting when it takes off.”
  • “He’s preparing to invest the tour in a shot-tracking system that would give the LPGA real-time data similar to what PGA Tour ShotLink offers. The system would be specifically designed to accommodate the intense new interest gambling could bring.”
  • “Regardless what I think of legalized gambling, it’s here, and it’s only going to get more significant,” Whan told GolfChannel.com. “You can stick your head in the sand and act like it’s not going to happen, but you’re still going to have betting issues. So, wouldn’t you rather get control of it, make sure you educate your players, make sure you understand the audience and make sure the data disseminated is real, accurate and managed by people you trust?”
3. Fooch to have heart surgery
Hoping for the best for Justin Rose’s caddie…
  • Golf Channel’s Will Gray…”Mark Fulcher has been on the bag for many of Rose’s biggest achievements, including his 2013 U.S. Open win and gold medal triumph at the 2016 Rio Olympics. But while Rose is in the California desert for this week’s PGA Tour stop, Fulcher is in New York awaiting heart surgery.”
  • “According to a report from Golf Channel’s George Savaricas, Fulcher plans to undergo a heart valve replacement on Thursday. While he is on the mend, Rose will have Gareth Lord on the bag in the near future. Lord caddied for the past several years for Henrik Stenson until the pair split in November.”
  • “According to Savaricas, Fulcher hopes to return to life inside the ropes for the current world No. 1 when the PGA Tour heads to Florida in late February.”
4. Dou wins in the Bahamas
AP Report…”Zecheng Dou birdied the final three holes Wednesday for a two-stroke victory in the Web.com Tour’s season-opening Bahamas Great Exuma Classic”.
  • “Dou shot a 2-under 70, holing a 55-foot birdie putt on the par-5 18th at Sandals Emerald Bay to finish at 18-under 270. Three strokes ahead entering the round, the 21-year-old Chinese player rallied after bogeying three of the first six holes on the back nine.”
  • “Dou earned $108,000 for his second Web.com Tour title.”
5. Callaway + European Tour
Our Gianni Magliocco writes…”For the European Tour, Callaway now becomes the official driver, shoe and golf bag brand of the Tour, while Odyssey is now the official putter, OGIO the official luggage brand, and Callaway Apparel along with Travis Mathew brand, is the official on-course apparel.”
  • “Speaking on the deal, which will also see Callaway supply Chrome Soft balls to each driving range at European Tour events, Neil Howie, President & Managing Director of Callaway Golf Europe stated”
  • “Securing this important leadership position with such a forward-thinking and committed organisation as the European Tour aligns perfectly with our own business goals of making the game more enjoyable and accessible through market-leading innovation and superior product performance.
  • “Callaway continues to enjoy a very strong and loyal following among players on the European Tour, Odyssey has been the number one brand for more than ten years and Rogue Drivers were the number one model in play across 2018, and we are excited about the impact of our recently launched Epic Flash family.
  • “We also look forward to the many tournament, broadcast and content opportunities that this new partnership will bring.”
6. Speaking of European Tour golf…
AP Report...”Irish golfer Shane Lowry is looking to reignite his career after losing his card on the PGA Tour last year.”
  • “Beginning 2019 with a 10-under 62 is pretty much the ideal way to start.”
  • “Lowry rolled in 10 birdies and did not drop a shot in the first round of the Abu Dhabi Championship on Wednesday, giving him a three-stroke lead in the European Tour’s opening event of the year.”
  • “Down to 75th in the rankings and now 3½ years without a win, Lowry is adjusting to life back as a full-time European Tour player after failing to successfully juggle his commitments on both sides of the Atlantic in 2018.”
7. Lexi’s family to stay on the bag

Golfweek’s Beth Ann Nichols...”Brother Curtis Thompson was on the bag for Lexi at the CME. He’ll be on the bag again this week at Tranquilo, driving down on Wednesday evening after a qualifier. Curtis plans to caddie for his sister when he’s not competing. Otherwise their father, Scott, will take his place.”

“Lexi said she isn’t currently searching for a caddie outside the family.”

  • “I think I realized that’s who cares about me the most right now,” she said. “My dad’s been my coach my whole life. If I have him on the bag, I know he can help me out tremendously. Same thing with Curtis. He knows my golf swing very well too. He can always keep me laughing out there.”
8. A vintage rules spat
Vintage, in the sense that it has fermented since 2013…
Alex Myers at Golf Digest…”The fun started when Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, following his first round of 2019 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Wednesday, commented on the new rule that allows players to repair spike marks on the green and said, “it will take some time to get used to it.” Before adding this jab out of left field: “Unless you are Simon Dyson and you have been doing it for years.”
9. Intentional double hitters, beware!
Geoff Shackelford at Golfweek…”The double strikes were inspired by Rule 11.1. In the simpler language of golf’s refreshed rules, the kinder, gentler governing bodies are no longer penalizing player for the dreaded “double-hit” made most famous by T.C. Chen in the 1985 U.S. Open but all too-often in embarrassing fashion for everyday golfers.”
  • “While some of golf’s top trickshot artists may be magnificent with a club in their hand, they missed the part about “accidental” in the title of 11.1. With so many copycats, there is a perception that a rules loophole has been exposed.”
  • “Golfweek asked the USGA for clarification and received this from a spokesperson:”
  • “The videos showing golfers deliberately hitting the ball twice (such as getting around a tree) are not allowed under the Rules. Most of these videos demonstrate a player making two strokes at the ball, with the second being made at a moving ball, which results in two penalty strokes. In total, the player has made two strokes and gets a two-stroke penalty.”

 

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