Tour Notebook: Mickelson, Rickie and Wie's heart to heart
Lefty sets the record straight
Two weeks ago we wrote about how Phil Mickelson lost a $5k bet to teenage Aussie amateur Ryan Ruffels. It was thought that the left-hander might have been trying to help recruit Ruffels for a place at Arizona State University where Mickelson’s brother Tim is the head coach.
Supposedly Ruffels, who has since turned pro, was given odds of 2-1 and a $2,500 bet was struck. The Aussie then birdied six of his last seven holes to win.
Or maybe not. Ruffels went on social media to play down the incident and stated that there had been inaccuracies with the amount and his scoring.
The likelihood is that he won’t get a game with Mickelson in the near future after the three-time Masters champion had this to say in his press conference this week.
“He’s young,” Mickelson said, “and he’s got some things to learn.
One of them is you don’t discuss certain things. You don’t discuss specifics of what you play for. And you certainly don’t embellish and create a false amount just for your own benefit. So those things right there are – that’s high school stuff, and he’s going to have to stop doing that now that he’s out on the PGA Tour.”
Leadbetter’s heart to heart with Wie
When Michelle Wie won her first Major, the US Women’s Open in 2014, we all thought this would be the start of the fulfilment of all that potential.
Over 18 months later we are still waiting for the next win and long-time coach David Leadbetter, tired of numerous swing changes and general tinkering, has spelt out that a simpler approach is the way forward.
The pair had a heart-to-heart at the start of the year and are hoping that it will kickstart a brighter future.
Leadbetter told GolfChannel.com. “I was very candid with her. I’ve known Michelle half her life. I love her like a daughter, and we can say things to each other. I said, `You’ve been playing golf professionally for 10 years now, and the years are going to go more quickly from here on. Now is the time, young lady, when you need to start to show what you’re really capable of.’”
He added that they are working on a variation of her table-top putting stance and that further experimenting will be kept to a minimum.
“Michelle is the consummate tinkerer with her golf swing. I’ve never seen anybody in all my teaching career who is able to change her swing so drastically from almost week to week.”
Follow up.. In her first start Wie was stung on her hand by a bee on her seventh hole and hit ’a couple loose ones’ on her back nine as she opened with a 76. A 73 on Friday meant she missed the cut by one.
DeLaet unimpressed by Reed’s withdrawal
Two more players who probably won’t be playing any practice rounds together are Graham DeLaet and Patrick Reed.
Reed, who has been in some incredible form of late, shot a third-round 81 in horrible conditions and then withdrew from the Farmers Insurance Open.
The pair should have made up a threeball with the last tee time from the 10th tee but Reed then blamed an ankle injury for his pulling out, something DeLaet wasn’t buying.
As he made pretty clear on Twitter..
Garcia predicts different Ryder Cup line-up
Sergio Garcia, a veteran of seven Ryder Cups, expects to see a very different looking side this September.
Woburn winner Matt Fitzpatrick is one who has caught the Spaniard’s eye and he might be one of a handful of rookies at Hazeltine.
“He (Fitzpatrick) has a good chance of making the team. He’s been playing very well, and he’s got a lot of potential.
He looks like the kind of player that could definitely make the team, the odds are definitely looking good,” Garcia said.
“I would probably expect to see at least four or five new faces. That’s the way it looks at the moment. You never know as the year goes by. But at the moment it looks like there’s probably at least between three and five young guys that could be on that team in September.”
Fowler might miss Scottish defence
It looks unlikely that the man of the moment (and his Puma high tops) Rickie Fowler will be defending his title at the Scottish Open at Castle Stuart in July.
Fowler birdied three of the last four holes to win at Gullane but he might not be back to try and make it back-to-back victories.
Of his victory in Abu Dhabi he said “I’m going to celebrate this one first” which, a rough translation tends to mean, “No, what with the Olympics, Majors and FedEx Cup, I’ll be taking the week off.”
Hull on fire in the Bahamas
A post-round interview with Charley Hull rarely goes down the well-trodden path of ’played nicely, couldn’t quite hole the putts’.
This was taken after her third-round effort left her in a share of the lead in the Bahamas.
“So I was sitting down in the restaurant and it was my cheat meal day and I had like calamari and I had a salad as well so it wasn’t like the best of cheap meals. I finished it and put my napkin on the table and I smelt burning.
“I was like, oh, good thing we didn’t have the pizza because it smells a bit burny. I looked down and there’s this hole like growing bigger and bigger and bigger… I’m like sheez. So I patted it out and so thankfully when they took it away, I like put it in the bowl so they didn’t notice.”
Pieters has virtual haircut
Belgium’s Thomas Pieters is a possible Major champion, he is also very amusing. Last week he posted a picture on his Instagram account with a before and after on his PGA Tour profile. Before as in before the Tour had retouched his curly locks, hence the hashtag.
A statement from the Tour said: “In the standard process of prepping new headshots for broadcast TV, electronic scoreboards and other uses – which always requires a bit of retouching and colour-correction – our vendor was a bit too heavy-handed in the editing of Thomas Pieters’ photo. We regret this sequence of events and meant no disrespect to Thomas. We think he has a great head of hair.”
The new profile image does indeed show a few more curls behind his ears but he still looks like about 14.
Weekend sees a pair of albatrosses
South Korean Jang Ha Na made history with an albatross, the first in LPGA Tour history.
Jang hit a 3-wood at the par-4 218-yard 8th hole and her ball bounced before the green before rolling in.
The 23-year-old couldn’t see the end result of the historic shot but her father’s reaction by the green told her what she needed to know. There was a hint of disappointment when she realized that a car wasn’t on offer in the Bahamas.
Jason Gore also managed an albatross on the PGA Tour when he holed his second shot at Torrey Pines’ famous closing par 5. A high faded approach with his 3-wood ran perfectly and disappeared under ground.
It was his first double eagle.