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How Phil Mickelson gave aspiring PGA Tour pro the ‘coolest experience of my golf life’

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Phil Mickelson has taken a lot of heat over the past few years. Whether it be his unpopular move to LIV Golf after calling the Saudi’s “scary mother fu*****” to author Alan Shipnuck, or the story from the famous gambler Billy Walters that Phil bet close to a billion dollars over the course of a decade, it’s been an endless sea of negative headlines.

However, over the weekend, Mickelson went above and beyond to help an aspiring PGA Tour player, as shared by “Monday Q Info” on X.

“After the first stage of Q-school I sent @PhilMickelson a DM, asking him to help @markbaldwin1 get ready for 2nd stage. I didn’t tell Mark because I never thought phil would respond. Instead, 3 hours later Phil said yes. And this weekend Mark has had “the coolest experience.”

“I cannot explain how hard this was to not tweet about over the last two weeks. I wanted to respect Phil’s privacy and although obv great content the goal was for Mark to get ready for Q-School so I didn’t want to cause any distractions, and that is Phil’s backyard.”

He also shared the text that Mickelson sent Baldwin.

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Love or hate Mickelson, there’s no denying that this was an incredible act of kindness from the six-time major champion.

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Vincenzi: 2024 Mexico Open First Round Leader picks

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The Mexico Open begins on Thursday at beautiful Vidanta Vallarta. The tournament will have a full field this week with most of the big names on the PGA Tour taking the week off.

In the past two editions of the tournament, there have been seven first-round leaders or co-leaders. Of the seven, six have come from the morning wave. At first glance, there certainly looks to be an advantage to having an early tee time this week in Mexico but with such a small sample size I won’t put too much stock in that and take a balanced approach.

As of Tuesday, the wind doesn’t look as if it will play a factor at all during round one. It will be about hot and sunny for most of the day with wind gusts never exceeding 7 MPH.

This week, I used the Betsperts Rabbit Hole to see each players floor/ceiling. You can sign up using promo code: MATTVIN for 25% off any subscription package (yearly is best value).

Mexico Open First-Round-Leader Selections

Jhonnatan Vegas +6000 (DraftKings)

First-Round Tee Time: 12:15 p.m. Local Time

After a long injury layoff, it certainly seems as if Jhonnatan Vegas is “back”. In his most recent start at the Waste Management Phoenix Open, the Venezuelan gained 7.2 strokes ball striking, which was his best performance in the category since June of 2022.

Vegas loves playing on Paspalum, and while he struggles with the putter often, he’s been consistent putting on these slow and spongey surfaces. I expect the big man to have a great week in Mexico.

Harry Hall +9000 (BetMGM)

First-Round Tee Time: 8:14 a.m. Local Time

While you wouldn’t expect an Englishman in a flat cap to play his best golf in tropical paradises, that’s certainly been the case for the 24-year-old throughout his career thus far. The 6’4″ UNLV product with a soft touch around the greens has shined in places such as Puerto Rico and Puntacana as well as at Vidanta Vallarta last year.

Hall is a fantastic putter, which never will hurt you in the first-round leader market.

Adrien Dumont de Chassart 100-1 (FanDuel)

First-Round Tee Time: 1:54 p.m. Local Time

Those who have been following me this season know that I’m high on this 23-year-old bomber from Belgium. With off the tee prowess being a major point of emphasis at Vidanta Vallarta, it makes sense to give him another crack at the first-round lead once again this week.

In his most recent start at TPC Scottsdale, ADDC gained 4.0 strokes off the tee.

Fred Biondi 130-1 (DraftKings)

First-Round Tee Time: 8:47 a.m. Local Time

Fred Biondi recently won a National Championship as a Florida Gator and has loved playing on coastal courses throughout the early part of his career. In the fall, the Brazilian finished 13th at the Butterfield Bermuda and 23rd at the RSM Classic, with both events having fields either stronger or comparable to this one.

Biondi is a good iron player and putter and should be comfortable playing in Mexico.

Scott Piercy 150-1 (BetMGM)

First-Round Tee Time: 8:25 a.m. Local Time

Scott Piercy got in the field this week after Will Zalatoris withdrew following a strong performance at the Genesis Invitational. Piercy may be well past his prime, but this is the type of event where the 47-year-old has thrived over the years.

Piercy has been prone to fast starts and has finished in the top-5 after the first round 32 times in his career and has been within two of the lead in the first round 45 times. He’s also been great on Paspalum, boasting finishes of 6th at the 2018 OHL, 7th at the 2015 CIMB Classic and 4th at the 2016 OHL.

Sebastian Vazquez 300-1 (DraftKings)

First-Round Tee Time: 1:21 p.m. Local Time

Sebastian Vasquez is a name that many golf fans won’t be familiar with but has played some good golf in South America over the course of his career. At last year’s Mexico Open, Vazquez shot an opening round 67. At last year’s World Wide Technology Championship at El Cardonal at Diamante in Cabo San Lucas, Vazquez closed his tournament with a Sunday 64, which was just two shots off the round of the day.

The Mexican has been playing this season on the Gira de Golf Profesional Mexicana and doing so relatively well. He also finished 38th at El Cardonal in a pretty strong PGA Tour field. Vazquez could come out and fire a low one while feeling extremely at ease playing in his home country.

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PGA Tour pro pleads for Tiger Woods to help change ‘terrible’ hole at Genesis Invitational

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On Sunday night, after the conclusion of the Genesis Invitational, PGA Tour player Adam Schenk took to X to complain about Riviera Country Club’s difficult par 3 fourth hole.

Schenk isn’t alone in thinking that the fourth hole at Riv is too demanding, but there are also plenty of players and fans who love the hole.

Ben Hogan called the hole “The greatest par-3 hole in America.”

Smylie Kaufman also said that he believes the hole is more about luck than skill.

Ultimately, there is a fine line between challenging and unfair, and the 4th at Riviera will continue to generate mixed opinions on which category it falls under.

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Brandel Chamblee offers solution to Scottie Scheffler’s putting woes

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On Monday, Golf Channel’s Brandel Chamblee took to social media to discuss Scottie Scheffler’s putting stroke, referencing the banning of “anchoring” in the process.

“The USGA and R&A made anchoring illegal beginning in 2016 because the fulcrum established when one anchors simplifies the putting stroke such that one can merely let gravity return the putter to the ball. BUT one can legally simulate an anchored putting stroke by letting the putter head move substantially more than the handle and most of the best putters throughout history have done this.”

“So when I look at Scottie Scheffler continue to struggle with his putting (he was dead last in SG Putting amongst those that made the cut at Genesis) I wonder why he simply doesn’t try to get more flow and take the wooden look of dragging the handle out of his stroke. Compare the degree to which Scheffler drags the handle as opposed to some of the best putters of all time in the pictures below.”

Brandel then posted by side-by-side pictures comparing Scottie’s strokes to some of the game’s great putters of the past.

Chamblee then posted a video of why he believes Scheffler is more prone to having “heel strikes” in his putting stroke.

Scheffler finished 10th at the Genesis Invitational where he lost 4.4 strokes putting.

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