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Mickelson will play the FedEx Cup

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Phil Mickelson has committed to play in The Barclays, set for Aug. 23-26 at Westchester Country Club in Harrison, N.Y.

That's noteworthy because Mickelson rarely plays much after the final major, the PGA Championship, in mid-August.

It's also important because many have questioned whether the top players — Mickelson is No. 3 in the world ranking — would play in the series of playoff tournaments linked to the FedExCup.

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PADRAIG'S LETDOWN: Padraig Harrington has spent the days since winning the British Open looking forward to being introduced before teeing off in the first round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

Harrington shot a 2-over 70 in his first appearance since his victory at Carnoustie two weeks ago, but was disappointed before the round even got under way.

"I was really, really looking forward to the guy on the first tee announcing, 'The Open Champion' and he didn't do it!"' Harrington said in mock disgust. "They used to have a guy here who went into a lot of theatrics announcing the names, and they sacked him because he did too much. I wish he was here today. (The announcer) just said, 'Padraig Harrington, Ireland.' I was gutted! I was looking forward to it for the last 24 hours!"

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A DAY WITH TIGER: Andres Romero didn't wilt. In fact, he more than held his own with the No. 1 golfer in the world.

Romero was worried he might be too nervous when paired with Tiger Woods for the first time Thursday in the opening round of the Bridgestone Invitational.

"I never shook hands with him before," Romero said through an interpreter after shooting a 1-over 71, three shots behind Woods. "In Dubai this year I stayed, like, one hour and a half watching him on the driving range. Then the other day I saw him in the hotel, and we said hi."

Romero grinned at the thought — a 26-year-old from Argentina who learned the game from an uncle, meeting the best player on the planet and then playing a round with him.

The past few weeks have been a blur for Romero. In the final round of the British Open three weeks ago, he torched Carnoustie for 10 birdies in 16 holes to take the lead with two holes left. Finishing with a double bogey and a bogey, he missed the playoff by a stroke.

A week later, Romero won the Deutsche Bank Players Championship of Europe, climbing to No. 29 in the world rankings and earning a spot in the elite field for the Bridgestone.

"I was impressed," Woods said of Romero. "He hit the ball awfully long. He's longer with irons than I am and probably slightly longer with the driver. I can see how he made 10 birdies on Sunday at the Open Championship. You can see just by his aggressive nature that if he gets it going and plays well, he can really shoot some low numbers."

Despite not being fluent in English, Romero attempted to chat with Woods.

"I congratulated Tiger because of his daughter," Romero said, referring to Sam Alexis Woods, born to Tiger and wife, Elin, on June 18. "Tiger told me that he was very happy with his daughter. Then Tiger asked me if I had a daughter or if I was married or something and I said, no, I'm single."

Again paired in the second round, they'll have more time to get to know each other.

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SHOT OF THE DAY: Tiger Woods hit his drive far to the right of the fairway on the par-5 second hole and was faced with two trees that narrowed his target area, then a green that was surrounded by deep bunkers.

Woods hit a low, screaming 5-wood that slithered between the thick tree trunks, bounded past the big bunker and rolled 238 yards, coming to rest 19 feet from the pin. He then chipped to 2 feet and rolled in one of four birdie putts in his round of 2-under 68.

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