Phil Mickelson has been a New Jersey favorite since his win at the 2005 PGA Championship at Baltusrol, and he got the rock-start treatment during his appearance at Ridgewood Country Club in Ridgewood, N.J., to promote the Barclays tournament -- maybe not Springsteen-level, but certainly Bon Jovi. Conor Orr from The Star Ledger said everyone on the course stopped when Mickelson made his way to the first tee.
A pack of club regulars and caddies returning from their round saw the world’s No. 2 golfer wielding his driver and came to a standstill. Mickelson wound up and uncoiled into his rapid downswing.
Their heads followed as the aspirin-sized contour of the ball plunked into the rough along the right side of the fairway. “Just need to hit a few of these,” Mickelson said, laughing, over-exaggerating a back stretch. “Get loosened up.”
But Mickelson’s lightheartedness may have been a ruse, perhaps masking some hidden anxiety. Admittedly, his swing isn’t where he wants it to be. And for the first time in more than five years, Mickelson has a legitimate shot at the top spot in the World Golf Rankings. Tiger Woods has had a firm grasp on the slot for 270 consecutive weeks. “I don’t know exactly where my game is,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t play well in Europe, I’ve had two weeks off, I haven’t really played great golf in six or seven weeks. I won’t know until I get out there and play a championship course.”
And the No. 1 ranking?
“Absolutely (No. 1) matters, absolutely it does. It would be a very important thing.”
Musician Ken Downing will be opening up the course at his home, Astbury Hall, near Bridgnorth. The first nine holes he designed have been played by small groups since they opened this year.Akron is home sweet home for Aussie Appleby Jodie Valade of The Cleveland Plain-Dealer
But in mid-September the remaining holes will be unveiled and the course covering 150 acres opened fully to the public. Mr. Downing, who is known to his fans as KK and has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide, said: “Astbury Hall has been borne from my experiences on golf courses from around the world."
He hopes it's the kind of momentum-shifting victory that can turn around a slumping game and a streak of 358 consecutive rounds without shooting better than 65.Stray Shots Whistling Straits PGA Championship logo Via The New York Times
And he hopes the home cooking of his in-laws in North Canton, while having his wife and three young children nearby, can provide the kind of comfortable return he has experienced in 12 straight Bridgestone Invitational appearances.
"I feel like a local here more than any other tournament," said the Australian-born Appleby. "I can't think of another tournament that feels so familiar." Part of that is because Firestone Country Club is where Appleby first met Ashley, then a 21-year-old senior at Mount Union. Appleby was only two years removed from the tragic death of his first wife, Renay, who was crushed between two cars at a London train station after the 1998 British Open. Appleby and Ashley had dinner after they met briefly at the golf course, visited Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens and began a romance that would result in their 2002 marriage.
Via ASAP Sports
Via The Minneapolis Star-Tribune