Saturday, February 14, 2009

It has become a strange rite of the 2009 season, but I will be watching to see if Phil Mickelson will miss his second cut in three events. (At Pebble, the cut falls on Saturday). After two rounds, Mickelson stands at one-under 143, tied for 61st and 11 shots behind the midway leader Retief Goosen. The projected cut is at two-under 142 going into Saturday. After finishing Friday's round at Poppy Hills, Mickelson joked that other than his driving, iron play and putting, his game is spot on. On the par-5 12th hole Friday -- his third of the round -- I watched him pump a drive into the trees and out of bounds on the right. Forced to re-tee, Mickelson split the fairway and salvaged a bogey, but he was well on his way to another uneven round. Mickelson's bunker play was superb -- he counted four saves in four attempts -- but that's almost the point: right now he's in too many bunkers and too few spots on the fairways and greens. I'll also be watching to see if Vijay Singh (at three-over) can salvage the cut in his first event after knee surgery, but I don't think he'll make it. And finally, there is Goosen. This guy was once the member of the so-called "Big Five" with Tiger Woods, Ernie Els, Mickelson and Singh. He's 40 years old now, but he recently dropped 16 pounds and can putt with anybody. With a two-shot lead over rookie Dustin Johnson, it'll be fun to see if the Goose can hang on.

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