Devil Ball Golf
Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 21 hrs ago
On Monday, Phil Mickelson wasn’t sure if he was even going to be able to play in the CareerBuilder Challenge. After Friday’s second round in the California desert, Mickelson is in position to win this thing.
Following up an opening 4-under 68 at La Quinta Country Club that left the five-time major winner giddy, Mickelson shot 6-under 66 on Friday at PGA West’s Nicklaus Tournament course to get to a 10-under total through 36 holes. He trails leader Hudson Swafford by four shots enter the third and final round of the rotation around the tournament’s three host courses.
“It’s been a fun two days,” Mickelson said. “I hit a lot more good shots today than I did yesterday, but I’m still hitting some really bad ones. And that’s fine, it’s to be expected. I knew that was going to happen. But I’ve been able to kind of manage those and get away with some pars and make just a very few number of bogeys.”
Mickelson has showed his trademark touch with wedges in hand, making an eagle on the 11th hole, his second of the day, before making three consecutive birdies on his back nine.
Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 1 day ago
We open up the 2017 season with a look at Justin Thomas’ dominating performances in Hawaii, as well a look at how Donald Trump probably won’t impact golf at all as President. We also set the table for the year on the podcast and Golf News Net.
Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 2 days ago
All play and no work paid dividends for Henrik Stenson in the first round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
The Swede, coming off an off-season break where he rarely touched a club, shot an 8-under 64 at Abu Dhabi Golf Club to take a two-shot lead over four players, including past winner Martin Kaymer and Kiradech Aphibarnrat.
Asked to explain the round, Stenson, in his typical deadpan fashion, said, “It must be the lack of practice that does it. Lack of sleep, lack of practice.”
— The European Tour (@EuropeanTour) January 19, 2017
The bogey-free round was the first for Stenson since finishing runner-up to Hideki Matsuyama at the Hero World Challenge in December. Stenson admitted to putting in little work into his game — some into his short game — before arriving in the United Arab Emirates. He said he hit some buckets of range balls, too. Vigorous.
Ryan Ballengee at Devil Ball Golf 2 days ago
Tiger Woods will make his season debut next week at the Farmers Insurance Open, kicking off a stretch of four planned starts in a five-week span. He’ll play a few more times as a tune-up for the Masters, where he hopes to put on the green jacket for a fifth time and win his first major since 2008.
Some would see there’s not a snowball’s chance on the sun of Woods winning another major. But four-time major winner Ernie Els says not so fast to those critics.
“I am in my late 40s, and he is just getting into them,” Els said of the 41-year-old Woods ahead of this week’s Singapore Open, according to Reuters. “There have been a few cases where we have won majors in our 40s. It doesn’t happen that often but it does happen. If players like myself, Darren Clarke and Mark O’Meara won (majors) in our 40s, surely Tiger thinks he can do it, too. I am sure it’s on his agenda.”
Mind you, Els and Clarke won their majors in their 40s in the British Open, while O’Meara won both the Masters and Claret Jug in an incredible 1998. Of all the majors, the Open lends itself to older champions.
Rory McIlroy withdrew from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship on Monday, citing a rib injury that could have him out for weeks. McIlroy attributed the injury, in part, to vigorous off-season practice to find new equipment to play in 2017. It’s also known McIlroy, like many modern players, is a gym rat and works out pretty hard.
Of course, McIlroy’s critics chastised the Ulsterman in the wake of his withdrawal, suggesting the four-time major winner should take it easy and not do things that could injure his body. Then again, many of those same critics said the same thing when McIlroy injured himself while playing a friendly soccer game in 2015, forcing him to miss his title defense at the British Open.
Defending Abu Dhabi champion Rickie Fowler doesn’t see it that way. Fowler believes, like any sane person, that pro golfers can’t seclude themselves and only hit golf balls all day and night.
Fowler did say that he has walked away from dirt-bike riding and racing in recent years, but that’s really the only activity he’s shied away from since becoming a top-15 player in the world.
After a little bit of will-he-won’t-he, Phil Mickelson is going to play in the CareerBuilder Challenge this week, the first year Mickelson is considered the ambassador (read: sort-of host) of the event.
There had been some doubt if Mickelson would play after the five-time major winner had a pair of off-season surgeries to repair a sports hernia he dealt with throughout 2016. Following an October procedure that had him on pace to start the year in the California desert, a second surgery in December led to some speculation Mickelson would be unable to compete. Then last Friday, Mickelson’s name remained on the list of tournament entries when the official deadline to commit was reached. Mickelson had said earlier in the week that it would be a last-minute decision.
Mickelson will play with two-time tournament winner and all-time event money leader Bill Haas for the first three rounds of the event as the professionals and amateurs in the event cycle through the three-course rotation of La Quinta Country Club, as well the Nicklaus Tournament and TPC Stadium courses at PGA West for the first three rounds. Mickelson and Haas will play with two amateurs on Thursday at 8:40 a.m. local time.
After suffering a resounding defeat to the Americans — for just the first time since 2008 — in the Ryder Cup last fall, the European side and the European Tour have jointly announced changes to the qualifying process which they hope will give new captain Thomas Bjorn more opportunity to field a team of 12 players in peak form when the biennial matches resume in Paris next year.
“The change to our minimum tournament requirement will help many of our members who play around the world but who, at the same time, wish to remain loyal to the European Tour,” said European Tour chief executive Keith Pelley.
As for the Americans and new captain Jim Furyk, there has been no announcement of changes to the qualifying process for their side.
Your browser does not support iframes.
A day after finishing runner-up at the BMW SA Open in South Africa, world No. 2 Rory McIlroy withdrew from this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship in the United Arab Emirates, citing a rib injury.
“It’s bitterly disappointing to have to withdraw from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship,” McIlroy said in a statement released by the European Tour. “I think everyone knows how much I love playing this tournament, which is one of the best on the European Tour.
“To be forced to miss this week through injury is really quite annoying to be perfectly honest, but I am sure the tournament will be a huge success and I hope everyone involved has a great week. In situations like this you simply have to listen to the experts, and the team I have consulted have all advised me to rest until my rib has fully recovered.”
Phil Mickelson is in his first year at the ambassador — basically, the host — of the CareerBuilder Challenge, scheduled to start on Thursday. However, a pair of off-season sports hernia surgeries have his place in the field in doubt.
At the Friday deadline to commit to the event, Mickelson’s name remained on the field list, suggesting the five-time major winner isn’t ready to abandon plans to play.
Then on Saturday, a Mickelson spokesman told Golf Channel that the left-hander is “hopeful” to compete in the event in the California desert.
Mickelson last played on the PGA Tour in October at the season-opening Safeway Open in Napa, Calif. Then he underwent the first of his two sports hernia surgeries, followed by another in December.
If Mickelson is unable to play at the CareerBuilder, he’s committed to play in the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines, just outside of San Diego, the following week.
Rory McIlroy finished the playoff runner-up on Sunday at the BMW SA Open, but he was frankly fortunate to finish the tournament at all.
McIlroy suffered a back injury before his second round on Friday in Johannesburg, South Africa, and it led to an up-and-down round that included eight consecutive one-putt greens. The world No. 2 had considered withdrawing before the round, but he played through the pain and got through 75 holes of competition before losing to winner Graeme Storm on the third playoff hole.
Ahead of his planned start at this week’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, McIlroy will have an MRI on Monday.
“I am going for a scan tomorrow,” McIlroy said. “I fly to Dubai tonight and then will go for an MRI tomorrow just to see what’s up with this joint in my back. It was manageable this week with tape and a few pills, so I am fine, but first and foremost I have to get fully fit and healthy again and hopefully I’ll be all right to play next week.
“We will see what happens, but like I said, it is manageable with the tape and a few anti-inflammatories, but it’s not 100 percent.”