Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 15th 2014 Contents A65
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
HOYLAKE---Phil Mickelson rolled long
putts across the practice green in front of
the Royal Liverpool clubhouse, some of
them going in, most of them the right dis-
tance. He chirped to the caddie of Brandt
Snedeker about their money game, a Mick-
elson tradition at the majors.
Lefty was in good spirits yesterday at the
British Open, except for having to return
the claret jug.
Even that allowed him to reflect on a year
of keeping golf's oldest trophy, and the con-
fidence he finally has when he plays links
"It's a different feeling for me coming
over here now having won this tournament,"
Mickelson said. "The way I felt was, Am
I ever going to break through and play well
on links golf and win an Open Champi-
onship?' Now I know that I can. I know
that I've done it, and it takes a lot of pressure
Confidence in links golf? Yes.
In his game? That takes a little more
Not even Mickelson would have imagined
when he left Muirfield last summer with
the claret jug that he would not have another
tournament anywhere in the world. This is
the longest he has gone without winning
in five years.
And except for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf
Championship in January, where he was
runner-up, Mickelson hasn't been partic-
He has missed three cuts. He withdrew
twice after narrowly making the cut because
of injuries in San Diego and San Antonio.
At the Masters, where he is a three-time
champion, Mickelson missed the cut for
the first time in 17 years. His lone top 10
on the PGA Tour was last August at The
Mickelson confident about links golf at last
Barclays, a tie for sixth when he closed with a 65.
So why the smile?
"Normally, I would be discourage or frustrated,
but I'm just not," Mickelson said. "I feel like I've had
some good breakthroughs in some areas. I haven't
had the results. I know I haven't played well. But
the parts feel a lot better than the whole right now.
And I don't know when it will all click together. I
don't know if it will be this week. I don't know if
it will be in three weeks or a month or what, but
it should be soon."
He's running out of time.
Mickelson is No 12 in the Ryder Cup standings.
He has qualified for every team since 1995---two years
after Jordan Spieth was born. He has reached the
FedEx Cup finale for the top 30 at the Tour Cham-
pionship every year since it began in 2007. With only
three starts before the playoffs begin, Mickelson is
at No 97.
Then again, it's easy for Mickelson not to be overly
He is 44 and has been on tour for half of his life,
compiling 42 victories on the PGA Tour and five
majors, including that claret jug.
It's at least been a good year for the jug.
He has taken it to golf clubs and corporate outings,
shared it with friends and people he had never met.
He has let his caddie, Jim Mackay, take it to pose for
Mickelson had only one rule.
"One of the things I stressed is that we have to
treat the claret jug with reverence and respect that
it deserves, and only put good stuff in it," he said.
"No bad stuff was allowed. And each person that I
brought it to had a different definition of what the
good stuff was."
One definition was a bottle of 1990 Romanee
Conti, which can range in price from $16,000 to
about $35,000. (AP)
HOYLAKE---US captain Tom Watson had been
looking forward to seeing Tiger Woods at the
British Open to "tell him my feelings about him
direct" about the Ryder Cup.
On second thought, there's not much to say.
"Not a whole lot, probably," Watson said yes-
terday. "Again, it's performance. I could ask Tiger,
How are you feeling? How are you feeling like
you're hitting the ball? Are you hitting it well?'And
that doesn't mean anything, really. The perform-
ance means something. I'll be watching Tiger and
I want him on the team---I do. He's a tough com-
petitor and he's great in the team room. Wouldn't
you want him on your team?"
Woods has three tournaments to give Watson
an indication of his game.
The 14-time major champion was out for three
months because of back surgery, and he wasn't
playing well in the months leading to the March
31 operation as his back pain became more evident.
Woods is No 72 in the Ryder Cup standings with
only five weeks remaining to earn one of nine
He is a long shot to make the team, though a
victory at Royal Liverpool---or the PGA Champi-
onship---would do the trick.
Watson repeated the two factors that matter to
him---the game and the health of Woods. And he
was careful not to speculate what would happen
if Woods failed to get into the FedEx Cup playoffs
for the top 125. Woods is at No 212 with three
tournaments remaining. (AP)
Woods closely for
Ryder Cup team
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