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8:36AM

Global Golf Post: Grooves Stay on Cutting Edge

By Art Spander
For GlobalGolfPost.com


LA JOLLA, CALIF. -- One thing about the PGA Tour, it doesn't like a lot of bad news about the PGA Tour, self-imposed or not.

Read the full story here.

Copyright 2010 Global Golf Post
8:11PM

PGATOUR.com: Mickelson's use of old wedges stirs groove rule debate

By Art Spander
Special to PGATOUR.com


SAN DIEGO -- This is what Phil Mickelson said. That all the clubs in his bag are approved for play. Including the ones some other players say he should not be using, wedges from Ping which if not older than dirt are old enough to create a controversy.

Read the full story here.

© 2010 PGA TOUR, Inc.
9:47PM

PGATOUR.com: With Woods gone, Mickelson brings shot in the arm to event

By Art Spander
Special to PGATOUR.com


SAN DIEGO -- This is his town, San Diego, where the waves sweep in and world seems nothing but blue skies and Mexican food. This is the place Phil Mickelson was always The Man, even when he was a boy.

And now, with the absence of the other guy, and is there any reason to mention names, there's a new responsibility for Mickelson as he plays for the first time in 2010.

Read the full story here.

© 2010 PGA TOUR, Inc.
9:36PM

Newsday: Mickelson just can't find a groove

By Art Spander
Special to Newsday


CHASKA, Minn. -- Phil Mickelson is caught between the sublime and the ridiculous, real life and real golf, dealing with missed putts and dealing with a wife and mother both battling breast cancer.

The good news is both women -- Amy, Phil's wife, and Mary, his mom -- appear to have made enough progress where Mickelson can say, "We're past the toughest part now, so I feel better.''

But he points out that flaws in his game cannot be easily dismissed and that though perspective is important, so is the golf he plays.

Mickelson's traumatic summer is not yet done. He shot 4-over-par 76 Saturday in the PGA Championship at Hazeltine National, his third straight over-par round, and is far back of the leaders with a 54-hole score of 8-over 224. He has one more round to play before a week off.

He did so well at Bethpage in the U.S. Open two months ago, better than anyone might have guessed while Amy was preparing for treatment back in California. Mickelson tied for second, two shots behind Lucas Glover. His courage was deemed the equal of his play, and his appearance at Bethpage was hugely popular.

He skipped the British Open, then believing his wife and mother were in good enough condition, returned to his golf. Mickelson played the Bridgestone last week and came to the PGA with hopes, if not direction.

"My expectations,'' Mickelson insisted, "are high. I'm disappointed with my performance this week. Regardless of what's going on, or off, the course, I still have high expectations.''

Surely the agony of the past couple of months has affected him. In a sport that requires the utmost concentration, at times his thoughts must wander.

Even Tiger Woods missed the U.S. Open cut in 2006 when he took a nine-week break because of the illness and subsequent death of his father.

"I think I practiced and prepared,'' Mickelson said when asked if it was difficult to compete. "But I just haven't performed well.''

It was putting that bedeviled Mickelson the first two days of the PGA. Saturday, his ball striking became a problem. He said he'll have a week to work on both phases of his game before the Barclays at Liberty National in New Jersey. "It's frustrating for me not to be in contention on the weekends of a major,'' Mickelson said. "That's the toughest thing. But also good motivation for me to work harder.''

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http://www.newsday.com/sports/golf/mickelson-just-can-t-find-a-groove-1.1372230
Copyright © 2009 Newsday. All rights reserved.
9:13PM

RealClearSports: Phil and His Not-So-Private Struggle

FARMINGDALE, N.Y. -- We are taking part in Phil Mickelson’s private life made public. We are listening to his words, feeling his pain, understanding his fears, wishing him and Amy only the best.

It is never easy for any family when cancer strikes. It must be worse for someone famous, a movie star, an athletic hero, a face we know, a golfer we respect.

Always there is another good wish, always another tear, always another request for an interview.

The 109th U.S. Open starts today at Bethpage muni’s Black Course, where Mickelson, who played so well in the Open seven years ago, hopes to find success. And perhaps relief.

The country was made aware a few weeks ago. Amy Mickelson had breast cancer. Pink ribbons fluttered. Phil dropped off the Tour.

A week ago, at Memphis, the tournament named for St. Jude, ironically the patron saint of desperate causes, Phil returned. His game did not.

Mickelson closed with a 75, a tie for 59th. And now it is the most difficult tournament of any year, America’s national championship, the event with the high rough and slick greens where any mistake is magnified.

Phil says he is ready. Ready for the competition. Ready for what lies ahead. The family, Amy, the three children, normally at every tournament, is home in southern California. Where Phil’s thoughts will be is the question.

This is Mickelson country. Tiger remains the attraction, as well as the favorite, but here on Long Island, where both Bethpage and Shinnecock Hills are located, and across the Hudson River in New Jersey, Phil is idolized.

At the ’02 Open at Bethpage, the ’04 Open at Shinnecock, the ’06 PGA Championship at Baltusrol in Jersey, the support and the shouts were overwhelming.

It was a Yankees crowd. A Mets crowd. A crowd boisterous and partisan. A crowd that called Phil Mickelson “The Mick.” A crowd that may be exactly what he needs this week, along with an accurate game off the tee.

“It could be that support helps carry me through on emotionally when I’m on the course,” Mickelson said Wednesday. “I’m certainly hoping for that.”

So are many others. Phil has won two Masters and one PGA. He’s never won an Open. He lost one, as we recall, not far away from here, in 2006 at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck up the road from Manhattan, when he blew a final-round lead with a double bogey on the 72nd hole.

It was agony. “I am such an idiot,” he said that fateful Sunday. This is agony of another sort. This is trying to keep one’s mind on a game where any slip could mean failure while 2,500 miles away a wife waits with her doubts.

There are expressions of sympathy. There are comments of understanding. Darren Clarke went through this torture a few years back. For Tiger Woods it was a similar ordeal as his father was dying from cancer.

“Is it easy?” Tiger asked rhetorically when discussing Mickelson’s situation -- and his own. “No, it’s not easy.

“Everywhere you go, people are reminding you of it, and you can’t get away from it. And you think that the golf course would be your escape, but it’s not. You’re surrounded by people wishing you well . . . but then again they keep reminding you of the circumstance you’re dealing with on a daily basis, and you can’t get away from it.”

Mickelson, whose 39th birthday was Tuesday, said the timing for the Open could not have been better. Amy is awaiting treatment and probably surgery. The future is a blur. So Phil will grasp the present.

“It will be a fun week,” he said of the Open. In 2002 he finished second at Bethpage, three strokes behind Tiger.

“I'm putting everything I have into this week, because I don’t anticipate being able to play for a while.”

A vacation is planned. Then comes the treatment.

“You’d never know what she was going through,” Mickelson said of his wife. “When we get started it will be different, but she’s an amazing person . . . how she treats people, how she interacts . . . and I think it’s hard for me to see somebody who is such good person go through something so difficult.”

Mickelson insisted despite his finish at Memphis he hit the ball well, attempting to replicate shots he would need at Bethpage. He has mapped out a game plan, when to be bold, if ever on an Open layout, when to be prudent.

Amy Mickelson offered her advice. “She’s left me a number of little notes, texts, cards, hints,” said Phil, “that she would like to have a silver trophy in her hospital room. So I’m going to try and accommodate that.”

The rest of us, invading Phil’s world, can only say good luck.
As a reporter since 1960, Art Spander is a living treasure of sports history. A recipient of the Dick McCann Memorial Award -- given for his long and distinguished career covering professional football -- he has earned himself a spot in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And he has recently been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the PGA of America for 2009.

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http://www1.realclearsports.com/articles/2009/06/18/phil_and_his_not-so_private_struggle.html

© RealClearSports 2009
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