Tour and News

Y.E. Yang describes how he took down Tiger in '09, life as a major winner and more

How is your life different now compared to one year ago?
On my first visit back to Korea after Hazeltine, there were a lot of welcomings from the people and the fans. That first morning at the airport there were so many reporters waiting. That was a big deal. Since the Presidents Cup last year I've been home twice, and it's all been a great experience. I'm very fond of the PGA Championship; winning at Hazelitine kind of changed my life around. It's a great memory.

What's the best thing about being a major champion?
I think it's the special trophy.

What's it like to hoist the Wanamaker?
At first I tried to lift it with my arms, and then I had to bend and use my legs. The trophy is about half my size. It's probably 30 pounds. But it feels good. Like a dream.

You used to be a competitive bodybuilder, so that had to prepare you for heavy trophies, right?
(smiles) Maybe.

Before Hazeltine, Tiger Woods had never lost a major when taking a lead into the final round. He was 14-for-14. How were you able to beat him?
This may sound weird, but I didn't really think about trying to win. So maybe that's what brought me the win.

What did you think about?
Only my swing. And green speeds. Just golf things.

What about on the final green? Did you start to think about winning then?
On the last green I was thinking, "Just two-putt." (laughs) I had maybe 10 feet, breaking a little to the [left]. I didn't think about a one-putt. Just two-putt.

What was your biggest purchase from your PGA Championship check?
I got a pretty nice watch.

You and Tiger squared off again one month later at the Presidents Cup. Have you spoken to each other since then?
Once in a while in the locker room, dining room, or clubhouse we say hello.

Do the two of you ever talk about that round?
No. (laughs) Yesterday he did talk about it a little bit at [at the Champions dinner]. He talked a little about losing to me at [the 2007 HSBC Championship] and at the PGA.

Has the memory of beating Tiger to win that title helped you in tournaments since then?
I try to get into that mindset of that last Sunday at Hazeltine when I'm playing now. Sometimes my mind gets ahead of myself and things do not work out as much. But I still try to remember that moment and try to get into that zone, that mindset that let me win the event.

The approach you hit from the rough on the 72nd hole stands as one of the most famous shots in the history of the event. That actual hybrid is still in your bag? Shouldn't it be hanging over your fireplace?
I don't know if I should tell you this, but that actual club is at home, in the study. I got another one made exactly the same and brought it out here.

See, that's what I would do. Put that club away. How often do you think about that shot?
I think about that shot sometimes. That day I was really confident about my shot and I had a really good swing rhythm.

Are you satisfied with your performance this year?
I did pretty well at the Masters, and also in Phoenix. Then I went on to Europe and China, and eventually scored my personal worst at the U.S. Open. So my overall feelings about the season took a turn. But I'm trying to do better and hope things improve.

You've spent a lot of time at the range this week with your coach, [Golf Magazine Top 100 Teacher] Brian Mogg. What are you working on?
Brian was mentioning that in my swing, sometimes my right shoulder will come out too much, and that would cause the swing to become inefficient. So we've been working on that, and also making sure the follow-through was high enough.

You planning to hit a lot of hybrids this week?
Yes. (laughs) I have a three, four and five. A couple months ago, I changed the five iron to a five rescue.

Hybrids seem to work well for you, so I don't blame you for putting more in the bag. What's your goal for this week?
Just top 10.

What about goals for your career? Does winning one big trophy change your mindset for the rest of your playing days?
Now that I have more opportunities to compete on the PGA Tour, I'm hoping to play well on tour for a long time.

PGA Championship Confidential: Are Tiger Woods and Sean Foley a good match?

Tiger Woods, Wednesday, 2010 PGA
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images
For the second straight day, Sean Foley, left, followed Tiger Woods during his practice round.

Every day this week, writers and editors from Sports Illustrated and Golf Magazine will address one pressing question about the PGA Championship in a daily version of PGA Tour Confidential, our weekly roundtable discussion.

Jim Gorant, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: Are Tiger Woods and Sean Foley a good match? Is it too late to help for this week, or does the fact that Tiger sought outside help raise expectations for him at Whistling Straits and beyond?

Farrell Evans, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: I've known Sean for close to 20 years, and he can certainly get Tiger back on track with his interdisciplinary approach to the golf swing — biomechanics, physics, psychology, etc. But Sean is his own man, much like Butch, so he's not going to be hen-pecked or worship daily at Tiger's feet. Having said that, he's a businessman who could keep his current top clients happy and work Tiger into his schedule.

Tiger has never really been without a teacher, and he's never, to my knowledge, brought a camera onto a tour driving range. He needs an extra set of eyes to look at him critically. Who knows, Sean might have told Tiger something that triggers a feeling in his swing and gets him going this week. When you see Tiger poking with his swing positions, I think he's searching for the right sensations, and Sean is a master at helping players make connections between the body and mind. But the putting is in Tiger's head and in the grave with Earl, who was his son's greatest putting coach.

Mike Walker, senior editor, Golf Magazine: It's good news for Woods to admit that his self-analysis hasn't been working, and that he's seeking some help from a coach as talented and knowledgeable as Foley. Raises expectations for Whistling Straits a little, although they couldn't have been lower. Woods won't take on Foley full-time though. He just wants someone to talk to whom he can trust. He's done with the "guru coach" for good.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: Too late. This has got to be the world's worst golf course to suddenly and miraculously find your game.

Jim Herre, managing editor, SI Golf Group: I think Woods-Foley is a good match, but nothing is likely to change this week. Foley is younger than Haney, Harmon and the rest, and already has a stable of good young pros. However, it's not like he can sprinkle pixie dust over Tiger and get immediate results.

Alan Shipnuck, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: If Foley is a businessman, as Farrell says, he'll drop everything for Tiger. Is it a good fit? It can't hurt. Going solo was never going to last. Tiger is a tinkerer and needs someone to challenge him and keep him engaged. If not Foley, he'll find someone else.

David Dusek, deputy editor, Golf.com: Foley has proven that he can work with good players like Hunter Mahan and Sean O'Hair and help them win, so he could probably help Tiger too. But the word that I've heard around the range is that he is really interested in building the Sean Foley brand, and that's not something that would sit well with Tiger. His ideal coach would be someone full of knowledge that wants nothing more than to stand in the shadows and be anonymous.

John Garrity, contributing writer, Sports Illustrated: Foley should be able to help Tiger, but I think Percy Boomer would be a better fit. Boomer would tell Tiger to forget about backswing positions and swing plane and get back to feeling the clubhead again. ("I try to teach by the pupil's sense of feeling," Boomer says, "rather than his understanding of mechanics.") Boomer is dead and no longer taking on clients, but Tiger can probably find an old copy of On Learning Golf, published in 1942. If none are available, I'll lend him mine.

Damon Hack, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: There are a number of positives to Tiger teaming up with Foley, chief being Foley's belief in himself and swagger. Foley walks and talks like a jock. Reminds me of Pete Rose — all neck and arms and attitude. Tiger could use a little mojo like that in his camp after weeks of slumped shoulders. I also like that Tiger has a similar, if more muscular, body type to Justin Rose, Sean O'Hair and Hunter Mahan, who are all around that 6-foot to 6-foot-3 range, and who all swing the club so beautifully. Not sure how much Tiger can learn in 48 hours with Foley, but I think the union could pay dividends down the road.

Rick Lipsey, writer-reporter, Sports Illustrated: Only time will tell if it's a good match. But Tiger's never, since age 4, been without an instructor at his side, so he's going to find somebody, and soon.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: It's up to Tiger and Foley to figure out if it's a good fit. I think Tiger should already have figured out that going it alone isn't working for him. Whether it's Foley or someone else, I think it's a good idea to get someone to watch and oversee the rebuilding process. You can't burn down Rome in a day, to misquote the old cliche. His connection to Foley shouldn't change anyone's expectations for Tiger at the PGA. A few sessions together probably aren't going to make a difference. If anyone can do it, Tiger can, but that's still a big ask.

Michael Bamberger, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: To way overstate the severity of the problem, Tiger is like an alcoholic who cannot help himself until he admits he has a problem. If he's asking Foley for help, that's a good first step.

Pavin and Golf Channel reporter in heated exchange after Pavin denies Tiger report

Corey Pavin
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Corey Pavin at Wednesday's Ryder Cup press conference.

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin had a heated exchange with Golf Channel reporter Jim Gray after a press conference at the PGA Championship on Wednesday afternoon.

In a report that aired on Tuesday night, Gray said Pavin would use a captain's pick on Woods if he failed to make the U.S. team on points. Gray quoted Pavin as saying, "Of course I'm going to [pick him]. He's the best player in the world."

On Wednesday morning, Pavin said on Twitter that he was misquoted, and he said in the press conference that Gray's report was "incorrect." After Pavin finished taking questions Wednesday afternoon, he and Gray confronted each other in the Whistling Straits media center.

Standing nose-to-nose with Pavin, Gray called him a liar and said, "You're going down." Pavin responded, "You're full of it." The confrontation took place in front of media members assembled for Pavin's press conference with his counterpart from the European team, Colin Montgomerie.

At one point in the exchange, Gray started to walk away, prompting Pavin to say, "You're just going to walk off?" Gray then returned to face Pavin and the men continued jawing at each other in raised voices. Pavin's wife, Lisa, also joined the fray.

At his news conference, Pavin denied Gray's report but said that Woods was under "considerable consideration" to make the team. Gray said he stands by his story.

"Let's straighten this out right now," Pavin said. "I had a conversation with Jim Gray yesterday just outside the locker room near where we registered, and he asked me a few questions, and his interpretation of what I said is incorrect.

"There's nobody promised any picks. It would be disrespectful to everybody who is trying to make the team," Pavin said.

Pavin would not recount the details of that discussion with Gray.

"I don't want to get into the specifics of the conversation really," Pavin said. "But it certainly was something I did not say. Let's just keep it as simple as that. It was incorrect."

On the eve of the PGA Championship, Woods is ranked 10th in Ryder Cup points and is coming off the worst 72-hole finish of his career last week at the Bridgestone Invitational. Only the top eight in Ryder Cup points automatically qualify for the team. On Tuesday, Woods said he would accept a captain's pick if necessary to make the team.

Pavin has four captain's picks, which he will announce on Sept. 7. In addition to Woods, top American players like Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Zach Johnson, Stewart Cink and Sean O'Hair are currently outside the top eight.

"There's maybe 20 players that I would be looking at for those four spots," Pavin said. "It's going to be very important to me to have everybody mesh and come together as a team."

However, Pavin declined to describe any circumstance under which Woods wouldn't receive a captain's pick, even if he misses the cut at the PGA Championship and doesn't play again until Pavin's Sept. 7 announcement.

"I think Tiger would be an exceptional addition to the team, and he's certainly under considerable consideration, as well," Pavin said. "There's a lot of guys that I'm looking at, like I said. He's definitely high on the list."

Woods and Pavin did talk Wednesday, but Pavin said he would not share details of the conversation.

"The conversations of that I have with all of my players or potentential players are between us," Pavin said. "It's very serious stuff sometimes that we talk about. ... Out of respect for privacy and how I go about doing things, it won't be discussed."

Pavin said that he was not concerned about how Woods would be received by the wives and girlfriends of his teammates after Woods's high-profile sex scandals. (At the Ryder Cup, the wives of the players attend team functions and are much more involved in the event than at normal golf tournaments, even majors.)

"I think it's a non-issue, really, I think it has nothing to do with the Ryder Cup at all," Pavin said. "I think whoever is on the team is going to be welcomed and we are going to be a team unit when we are there, which includes players, wives, caddies, assistant captains — everybody is going to be one unit, period."

One guy who wants Pavin to pick Woods for the team is his counterpart Montgomerie. Not because Montgomerie thinks Woods will play poorly but because of the excitement Woods adds to the event.

"I hope that he is playing," Montgomerie said. "There's a huge aura regarding Tiger Woods, still, and it's the one name that all our team will be looking for if they are going to play against him in any form of the Ryder Cup: Friday, Saturday or Sunday."

Additional reporting by Golf Magazine contributing editor Paul Mahoney.

Whistling Straits is no walk on the beach

Hole 2 at Whislting Straits
David Dusek
To get close to the action, fans at Whistling Straits needs to walk carefully over wet, grassy mounds like these on the second hole.

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Inside this year's PGA Championship media kit was a pedometer, a clip-on device that measures your steps. It's part of the PGA of America's efforts to show how healthy golf can be.

In order to do my fair share, and to find out just how grueling the 7,500-yard Whistling Straits can be, I decided to wear the pedometer and walk all 18 holes Wednesday morning.

I started as Nick Watney and Adam Scott teed off on the first hole, and right away I knew this was going to be a long slog. The knee-high fescue and mounds make walking anywhere off the fairways tricky, even on the best days. But early morning thunderstorms added water to the mix, making everything slicker than a used car salesman.

I'd already worked up a lather, and clocked 2,300 steps on the pedometer, when I saw Sergio Garcia, Bo Van Pelt and Charles Howell on the sixth green.

After signing a big PGA Championship commemorative ball, Garcia carried it down the path toward the seventh hole. "Oh no, Sergio, you're not gonna steal it, are you?" called out a woman from behind the ropes.

Garcia flashed the smile that made potential sponsors swoon back in 1999. As he reached the tee box below the fans, he turned and unleashed a left-footed kick that would have made Spanish World Cup coach Vicente del Bosque proud. It went straight into the legs of a fan and rolled back down the hill. His second kick, more of a punt, sailed high through the air. It dropped right into the waiting arms of the father whose son was the owner of the ball.

I reached the 12th tee box, which is shared with the 16th, in 4,977 steps. Rain started to fall again as Rickie Fowler walked off the 16th tee beside Ryder Cup captain Corey Pavin.

Meanwhile, 30 yards away on the same tee, Vijay Singh, winner of the 2004 PGA Championship here, stood under an umbrella next to Davis Love, the 1997 PGA Championship winner, and Justin Leonard. After they hit their shots to the 12th fairway, they stood and looked skyward, hoping the solid gray clouds were going to miraculously part. They didn't, and the rain started to fall harder.

After five minutes, putting on a wry southern account, Singh said, "Well gentlemen, it has been an absolute pleasure ..." The temptation of a dry seat inside one of the nearby Mercedes SUVs, waiting to shuttle players off the course in the event of lightning, was too much for him to resist.

Sloshing in the rain to the 14th tee box, I was waved under a gazebo by Paul Casey, who was waiting out the rain with Stewart Cink, Lucas Glover and Frederick Andersson Hed, who was passing the time by playing a video game Casey had shown him on his iPhone.

Cink told a story about leaving the sunroof of his truck open during a rainstorm, only to find his iPod Nano nearly completely submerged in a cup holder. He was able to save the device after taking the advice of one his Twitter followers and putting it in a bowl of rice.

Once the rain stopped and I made it to the 18th green, I popped open the pedometer to see my result: 7,359 steps.

My advice to you if you plan to come to this year's PGA Championship? Bring crampons. Now pass me a Leinenkugel and a pretzel.

How the top 10 and other notables will fare at Whistling Straits

Phil Mickelson, Tuesday at Whistling Straits
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Phil Mickelson, Tuesday at Whistling Straits

Rick Lipsey and Farrell Evans, writer-reporters for Sports Illustrated, pick a winner and make their predictions for the world's top 10 players, wild-card contenders and the top club pro at Whistling Straits.

THE TOP 10
1. Tiger Woods
RL: Woods hasn't had a winless season since he turned pro in 1996. But everything about him on and off the course is a shambles, so this year could be Woods's first bagel in the victory column.
FE: Last time Tiger was at Whistling Straits he almost shot himself out of the tournament with a first round 75 and never really was in contention, finishing T-24.
Best PGA Finish: 1st, 1999, 2000, 2006, 2007
Prognosis: Making the cut is no guarantee. 100-1

2. Phil Mickelson
RL: Firestone was no more than a tune-up for this week, so his blow-up last Sunday isn't worrisome. Phil lives for majors, and the monster-long Whistling Straits is perfect for Phil.
FE: You're right. Phil had stunk it up coming into the Masters, but he played there like he was coming off a hot streak.
Best PGA Finish: 1st, 2005
Prognosis: At the very least, he'll surpass Woods and become No. 1 in the World Ranking. Taking another PGA is a good possibility. 6-1

3. Lee Westwood
Westwood withdrew because of an injury in his right calf.

4. Steve Stricker
RL: He's accrued loads of money and victories, but he's never won a major. Playing in his home state gives him the perfect setting to finally win a big one.
FE: Stricker is an average-length driver on tour (282.6) but one of the top putters (6th ranked). So he makes a ton of birdies (about four per round). So it's hard to discount his odds, especially playing on his home turf.
Best PGA Finish: 2nd, 1998
Prognosis: How he handles the nerves of playing in his native and beloved Wisconsin will determine his fate. We hope he wins it for the cheesheads. 12-1

5. Jim Furyk
RL: He's been missing (for him) lots of greens this year (ranked 79th), and the Straits punish even the slightest miss. Furyk's relative shortness will also hurt him at the monster-long layout.
FE: This one is easy. He's played pretty sloppy in the majors this year: missed cut at the Masters and British and a very middling U.S. Open for him (16th place). I don't think so.
Best PGA Finish: T-6, 1997
Prognosis: Mr. Consistency is always a threat, especially in nerve-wracking majors. 20-1

6. Ernie Els
RL: Despite having two wins this year, I don't see the fire in Els's eyes or body language. A disappointing U.S. Open finish and MC at the British Open leave me wondering about the Big Easy.
FE: Ernie is playing well but his putting has let him down. Every time I look he's missed a 7 to 10 footer. He's only ranked 84th in putting. That's amazing for a guy who tops the tour money list and scoring average (69.63).
Best PGA Finish: 3rd, 1995 and 2007
Prognosis: With four top fives in his last six PGAs, he's got to be a favorite. But he's not on our list of top contenders. 40-1

7. Luke Donald
RL: I love his game — laser-accurate irons, bullseye putter — but wonder if his short-poking driver (172nd, 276.9 yards) will keep him out of contention.
FE: Donald used to be the best young English player in the world. Now he's a distant fourth to Ian Poulter, Paul Casey and Justin Rose.
Best PGA Finish: T-3, 2006
Prognosis: Mr. Nice Guy could well become the second European to bag a major this year. 23-1

8. Rory McIlroy
RL: I love how he bounced back from a second-round 80 at St. Andrews to tie for third at the British Open. Clearly, McIlroy's mind is as strong as his game.
FE: Rory's got the swing and the self-regard to be great, but Whistling Straits has too many little quirks for his air assault to hold up four days.
Best PGA Finish: T-3, 2009
Prognosis: Putting is his bugaboo (he's ranked 171st), so unless he has a career week on the greens, we don't see him hoisting the Wanamaker trophy.

9. Paul Casey
RL: My pick to win the British almost took the jug and tied for third. I'm taking this long-hitting Peter Kostis disciple again this week.
FE: He's hit or miss.
Best PGA Finish: T-15, 2008
Prognosis: Except for his British Open run last month, he usually seems to flail in majors. 40-1

10. Ian Poulter
RL: He has been largely AWOL since winning the Match Play in February. But this Ryder Cup die-hard will have his game on form with the matches just two months away.
FE: He's got that Payne Stewart swagger with some of Payne's great tempo. But he's been in a ball-striking funk for most of the year with very mediocre results.
Best PGA Finish: T-9, 2006
Prognosis: He might be ready for his big breakthrough. 18-1

WILDCARDS
Louis Oosthuizen
RL: Great game, sweet smile, smooth putting stroke. But I don't see lightning striking twice, at least not in this decade for the young South African.
FE: I love everything about this South African, who's kept up his great play since the British with two top 10s in his last two events. But two majors in one year? Never.
Best PGA Finish: 73rd, 2008
Prognosis: We'll bet all of our Time Warner stock options (OK, so we're not going out on a limb) that he won't win a second major. 175-1

Graeme McDowell
RL: Great game, sweet smile, smooth putting stroke. But I don't see lightning striking twice, at least not in this decade for the young Irishman.
FE:Graeme hung on at Pebble Beach but he didn't absolutely run away with it. The folks at the PGA like birdies too much to let another survivor slip through the cracks.
Best PGA Finish: T-10, 2009
Prognosis: We'll bet all of our Time Warner stock options (OK, so we're not going out on a limb) that he won't win a second major. 175-1

Hunter Mahan
RL: The envy of the locker room after getting engaged to a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader, Mahan also commands respect for his elite-level game. The only void on his resume is a major, but his Firestone high might lead to a letdown this week.
FE: His coach, Sean Foley, has called him the best driver of the golf ball in the world. I'll believe it when I see him do it in the majors.
Prognosis: He'll win multiple majors, but the first won't come this week. 75-1

CLUB PRO MOST LIKELY TO MAKE THE CUT
Sonny Skinner
RL: Yes, Skinner used to play on Tour, but every club pro in the PGA either played on Tour or tried to make it, so none of these give lessons because they want to. Skinner turns 50 next week, so his game will be peaking because the Champions Tour beckons.
FE: Sonny is a legend in my home state of Georgia. I would love to see him make the cut.

AND THE WINNER IS...
Bo Van Pelt
RL: After getting his first victory last season, this father of three adorable kids is having a career year with five top-five finishes in top-shelf events (Heritage, Quail Hollow, Players, Memorial, WGC-Bridgestone). His mojo is peaking.
FE: Ten-footers seem like 100-footers to him, but no one hits it closer to the hole than he does. He'll convert enough of those short ones to win this thing.
Best PGA Finish: T-17, 2005
Prognosis: Bo might be a darkhorse to casual fans, but on Tour his air-tight game, as well as his cheerful smile, are well known to everybody. This will be a hugely popular victory in the locker room.

Montgomerie won injunction against former girlfriend to keep details out of British press

Tiger Woods
Robert Beck/SI

Europe's Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie won an injunction in the British courts to prevent his ex-girlfriend from revealing details about their relationship, Golf.com can exclusively confirm.

Montgomerie sought the court order to stop the publication of stories about his relationship with former model Paula Tagg, whom he dated in 2006. Rumors about the legal action have circulated for several weeks, but Golf.com has obtained exclusive details of the injunction.

The injunction, dated July 8, bars Tagg from revealing "the private details of a personal, intimate and sexual relationship" between the two. Specifically, the order prevents the publication of information "concerning acts of a sexual nature" or "any such information recorded in the form of a photograph or still image or moving images." The injunction also bans Tagg from revealing whether such photographs or images even exist. Information about the relationship contained in e-mails, letters, text messages or voice mails is also covered in the order.

Asked about the existence of an injunction in a press conference at the PGA Championship on Wednesday, Montgomerie denied that there was an injunction against the News of the World, a British tabloid. Asked in a follow-up question if there was an injunction against Tagg, he declined to comment.

"Excuse me, I'm here to talk about The Ryder Cup, okay," Montgomerie said. "So please, no further questions on that or any other subject regarding anything — or anything regarding my private life. By definition that is private."

The order does not prevent Tagg from talking about any part of their relationship that was in the public domain before the order was obtained, which was very little.

Last month the 47-year-old Scot admitted to an extramarital affair with his former girlfriend, Joanne Baldwin, and said he was fighting to save his marriage to his wife, Gaynor Knowles. "I have put my marriage under considerable strain but we are working through these problems," he said at the time. "I am very sorry for the hurt I have caused to the ones I love so much." The Scot's first marriage ended in divorce in 2004 after 14 years. He married Knowles, the widow of a furniture tycoon, in 2008.

There have been reports in the British press that Tagg met with Britain's leading publicist, Max Clifford, who has a lengthy track record of facilitating newspaper interviews in which secret lovers expose the sex lives of celebrities. Clifford's past clients include Rebecca Loos, who famously revealed salacious details of her affair with married soccer star David Beckham.

Asked recently if he would step down as captain in the wake of his admission of infidelity and the struggle to save his marriage, Montgomerie said, "There is no way that I have ever thought of doing anything like that." Montgomerie leads the European team at the Ryder Cup in Wales in October. He is competing this week in the season's final major, the PGA Championship, at Whistling Straits in Wisconsin.

Mickelson treated for form of arthritis but looks ready for PGA Championship

Tiger Woods
Robert Beck/SI

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — Phil Mickelson said Tuesday that he is being treated for psoriatic arthritis, a condition in which the body's immune system attacks healthy cells and tissue, causing inflammation and pain in the joints and tendons, according to mayoclinic.com.

Mickelson said he is taking medication for the disease and expects a full recovery. He said he feels about "90 percent" this week at Whistling Straits, where he is competing for the season's final major at the PGA Championship.

"Things have been looking great, and long term there shouldn't be any issues," Mickelson said. "It's very treatable, and the medicine I've been taking is very helpful."

The first symptoms of the disease appeared five days before the U.S. Open., he said.

"I woke up with intense pain in areas of my body — some joints and tendons — so much so that I couldn't walk," Mickelson said. "And it progressively got worse, and ultimately I had to figure something was wrong and had to go get it checked."

Mickelson said the arthritis did not affect his play at the U.S. Open, where he finished fourth. However, the condition worsened when he took his family to Hawaii the week after the U.S. Open.

"Every joint in my body started to hurt to where I couldn't move; I would just lay down and I couldn't roll over," Mickelson said. "And I was concerned about being able to swing a golf club."

After an initial diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis, Mickelson competed in the Scottish Open and the British Open in July, missing the cut at the Scottish Open and finishing 48th at the British Open. He said he treated his condition with anti-inflammatory medication while in Europe. After the British Open, Mickelson visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he spent two days and started his current treatment, which is a shot of Enbrel once a week to prevent his immune system from affecting his joints.

"This has put it in remission," Mickelson said of the treatment. "I'll probably take this drug for a year and feel 100 percent. [Then] I'll stop it and see if it goes into remission, and it may never come back."

His other treatment is unusual for the In-N-Out and Five Guys burger-loving Mickelson. He's become a vegetarian.

"This will be the shocker," Mickelson said of his new diet. "I read a book and just thought maybe it would help. And if it helps my situation, I'm all for it."

Mickelson has been dealing with medical issues since his wife, Amy, and his mother were diagnosed with breast cancer last year. He noted ruefully that the psoriatic arthritis started just days before his 40th birthday.

"I was commenting to [his wife] Amy the week before the Open, I said, 'I've never felt this good. I have no aches and pains, my back feels great. I feel stronger and more flexible than ever before,'" Mickelson said. "Four days later, you know, it's just crazy."

Mickelson did not blame the arthritis for his recent uneven play — he shot 78 Sunday at Firestone when he had a chance to wrest the No. 1 ranking from a slumping Tiger Woods — but he did say that the condition has affected his preparation for events.

"Heading into the PGA, heading into last week, I'm probably not as sharp as I would like to be," Mickelson said. "I didn't play well at the British obviously. I didn't play well last week on the weekend, but I'm able to work on it. I had a good session with [his coach] Butch [Harmon], and I believe the game's coming around.

"I'm not sure where I'll be on Thursday, but hopefully I'll be ready," Mickelson said.

Harmon was on hand for some of Mickelson's nine-hole practice round Tuesday, which he played with Jeff Overton, Steve Marino and frequent practice-round buddy Dustin Johnson. Like most of Mickelson's practice rounds, it was as much about having fun as practice. On the tee of the par-3 17th hole, the group all took a shot at hitting a rock the size of a UPS truck about 150 yards off-shore. Only Johnson and Marino's caddie got it close.

Mickelson did sink an 8-footer on 18 that clinched the match for him and Overton, punctuated by a Mickelson fist-pump and high-five for Overton from Mickelson's caddie Jim "Bones" Mackay.

"It was for a lot of confidence," Mickelson joked when asked how much money he and Overton took from Johnson and Marino. "It's not as much about the money, but to be able to talk smack with your friends."

After his round, a smiling Mickelson signed autographs behind the 18th hole for almost 30 minutes. He signed caps, tickets, flags, magazine covers and even foam cheesehead hats, until virtually everyone who wanted an autograph got one. When he finally stopped signing to head into the locker room, the fans in the grandstand cheered in appreciation.

Mickelson's still not No. 1, and he's got a lot more than golf on his mind, but it's safe to say he left the course Tuesday feeling pretty good.

Questions for ... Derek Lamely

Tiger Woods
Robert Beck/SI

Derek Lamely is playing in just his second major this week at the PGA Championship in Whistling Straits. In March, the 29-year-old former Florida Gulf Coast University star won the Puerto Rico Open for his first PGA Tour title. I caught up with the PGA Tour rookie by phone last Friday as he was playing 18 holes at Whistling Straits.

Where are you?
I'm in the 12th fairway. There is nobody out here. At the turn I stopped for lunch for about an hour. The course is absolutely beautiful. It's definitely not like being on a lake. It feels more like you're playing golf next to an ocean. Right now the rough isn't too bad and the wind is only blowing about 5 to 6 mph. But I'm sure that will change by next Thursday. There is a 50-percent chance of rain in the forecast for all next week. I forgot my umbrella so I'll have to get one on Monday.

What are you working on?
I'm trying to figure out the right lines to take off the tees and how far you want to hit it. I pulled up on the Internet all the pin positions that were used here in 2004.

Did you watch the tournament back in 2004?
Not really, but now I wish I had.

Will you make any equipment changes for the week?
I'm putting new shafts into my irons and 3-wood. A buddy of mine has a new shaft company called Pure Stix. Today I've got some of the new and old shafts in my set to learn the difference between the two. The new ones are definitely better. I'm really excited.

You were mostly on the mini tours for five years before breaking through last year with your first win on the Nationwide Tour at the Nationwide Children's Hospital Invitational, helping you earn your PGA Tour card for 2010.
I don't miss those years. Pick a mini tour and I played it. I played the Dakotas Tour, the Tar Heel Tour, The Hooters, The Moonlight Tour and wherever I could find a tournament.

Have you gotten better every year?
I think I've made some big strides the last three years. It's about constantly learning and evolving.

At Pebble Beach in June, you played in your first major championship. What did you take from that experience?
At that point my game hadn't quite come together. I probably hit three or four bad shots each round, and it killed me. That's all it takes in the majors. I shot 78-81 and missed the cut.

Dr. Jim Suttie, a Golf Magazine Top 100 teacher and your instructor and coach at Florida Gulf Coast, says that you are a serious, if not obsessive student of the golf swing.
Growing up I always hit hooks and they drove me crazy. So my whole thing was I wanted to be able to go ahead and hit one hard and not have the fear of it going left. I'm trying to make my swing functional, not necessarily perfect.

But didn't you wear out a video camera using it on the range?
Dr. Suttie had one and he showed the team how to use it. Sony was trying to get rid of some of its old cameras and I bought one when I graduated in '03. I took it everywhere with me for five years until it broke. Even now I use a camera a lot.

In the February 18, 2010, issue of Men's Journal you made your modeling debut along with six other PGA Tour rookies. You looked really snazzy showcasing some of the spring staples for men.
Men's Journal wanted to do a deal on PGA Tour rookies. So out of the top 25 off the Nationwide that were pure rookies, who had never had regular tour status, there were 10 of us. The Tour sent the magazine headshots of all 10 guys and they picked me as one of the seven. Whatever they were looking for, I guess I had it.

What was the most interesting thing about the photo shoot?
The clothes were skintight. All my friends were giving me a hard time about it, but it turned out fine.

Did you keep the clothes?
No, I gave them back.

Tennis was your first love.
It was the first sport I played and the first dislike that I had. When I was 12, I figured out how much I didn't like running back and forth across a court. That's when I starting playing golf. I was about 13 or 14. I got a late start in the game.

At Puerto Rico, you had a 19-under finish that included a third-round 63. But you haven't played very consistently since then. You've missed 11 cuts out of 22 events. What's been the problem with your game?
I got hurt toward the end of last year and I didn't get to practice much at all during the winter. I pulled a muscle in my back. Consequently, I formed some bad habits just trying to play golf. I've had to make some changes to just get back to where things used to be in my swing. It's made my year a lot more up and down than it should have been.

When you first played in a PGA Tour event at the Western Open in 2004, you were star struck by seeing Tiger Woods in the dining room. You said you felt out of place. With the win, do you feel like you belong out there?
I've always felt like I could hit all the shots. It's just a matter of finding the consistency and the belief that you can compete out here.

What are your goals now and for this week? You have a two-year exemption on tour with the win at Puerto Rico.
I want what everybody wants, which is to give myself a chance to win more consistently. I just want to give myself a chance this week.

Woods is upbeat at PGA Championship, putting Bridgestone woes behind him

Tiger Woods, Tuesday, 2010 PGA
Stuart Franklin/Getty Images
Tiger Woods finished second last year at the PGA.

SHEBOYGAN, Wis. — The great thing about tournament golf is that every week, it begins all over again. It's like the reset button on a video game. The aliens killed you again? Click. Reset. New game.

Tiger Woods played his worst pro tournament ever at Firestone last week? Click. Reset. New game.

Woods looked reset Tuesday when he met with the media. He wore a goatee last week during the Bridgestone Invitational and on Monday during his practice round. On Tuesday, he was clean shaven and shining like a new dime. He exuded energy. He smiled. He cracked a few small jokes. Last week's debacle was last week's news. The best players are good at forgetting bad shots, bad weeks, bad things.

No one has more baggage to forget than Tiger, and he dutifully trotted out all the right clichés as he tried to answer questions without giving away anything truly personal or insightful.

The goatee? He didn't have any clippers last week, he said, and was too lazy to shave. This week, he simply decided to get rid of it. If there was more to that story, Tiger wasn't going to admit it.

He was asked if he was hurt by his embarrassing performance at Firestone. "Hurt is the wrong word," he said. "Frustrated, yes. Certainly frustrated in the way I hit the ball, the way I putted. I didn't do a whole lot positively around the course. But I've done some good work the last two days, and hopefully I'll be ready Thursday."

That's Tiger the golfer talking, the eternal optimist, a necessary skill for a gifted player. It's definitely a necessary skill for Woods, because anything he says that's out of the ordinary, or any problem he points out, is going to be a 48-point headline the next day, and he knows it. If he admits to being in a slump, that soundbite will run non-stop and be in headlines around the world. So he knows how to soft-pedal things, how to downplay and even deny problems if that's what it takes.

The hot new rumor Tuesday was that Woods may be working with golf instructor Sean Foley, who has helped Sean O'Hair and Hunter Mahan and several other tour players. If Tiger says he's going to make Foley his new Hank Haney, it's headline news. So Tiger tried to deflate that story when asked about talking with Foley during his Tuesday morning practice round at Whistling Straits.

"I wasn't doing anything with him (Foley) today," Woods said. "He was watching Hunter and Sean. I did ask him to film a couple swings. I would like to take a look at it, which I did, so I'm heading in the right direction."

Woods wasn't able to douse the fire, however, and he poured a little fuel on it when he was told that Foley said it was possible they would work together.

"Certainly it's a possibility, no doubt," Woods said. "But there are a lot of other coaches out there that I've talked to who are possibilities as well. I just wanted him to have a look at it today on video so I could take a look, and that's what we did."

The main thing to learn from the exchange is that Tiger is, indeed, looking for help. After his performance in Akron, it was evident that he had lost his game as well as his focus and intensity. Maybe those things go hand in hand. If you're playing rubbish and you know it, maybe it's not much fun to go to work. Especially when your office has thick rough, narrow fairways and lots of trees.

Tiger says his life is starting to normalize: no more helicopters flying over the Isleworth range, no more paparazzi following his and his family's every move. His golf hasn't started to normalize yet. The phrase "rock bottom" was heard a few times last week in Akron.

"To be honest, I thought I would have been here a little bit sooner with all that's going on," Woods said. "But somehow I've been able to play a little bit better than I thought for a stretch. And then it finally caught up with me last week."

When asked to explain what he meant by "here," Woods said, "Playing this poorly. I've been able to piece together rounds and keep it in there. There were two tournaments where I really hit it well, but other than that, I haven't done that well.

"Even at the U.S. Open, I played nine good holes and you need to play a bit more consistent than that ... I've been as patient as I possibly could have been. I've fought hard and last week, I didn't have anything. I hit it terrible. I putted bad. I just didn't do anything right."

It is easy to overreact to Tiger's play last week and forget that he finished fourth in the Masters and the U.S. Open. Some players would consider that a pretty good year. For him, they were revealing rounds because even though he played his way into semi-contention, once there he didn't have his usual finishing kick.

The scene on the 14th green at Augusta sticks in the mind. After a missed putt, he carelessly missed the second short putt. He knew he wasn't going to win the Masters, and he let up. That was a rare thing for him to do until this year. You saw something similar at Quail Hollow, where his mind clearly wasn't on his game, and again last week in Akron, when he knew, as he said, that he had nothing.

Where is Tiger Woods's game right now? Only he knows. All we can do is watch him play and wait and wonder. A win this week would erase an entire year of frustration and hurt. It would be an incredible comeback story, It would give golf a jolt of excitement and breathe sudden life into the Ryder Cup. (Woods said Tuesday that he would accept a captain's pick if one were offered.) It would put Tiger's golfing legacy back in the spotlight.

It's too much to expect, too much to ask. Woods surely knows that. We can only take him at his word when he says, "The whole idea is to keep progressing, keep moving forward. And this is a new week."

Tiger tees off Thursday morning at 8:20 (9:20 ET) in the PGA Championship, the year's final major.

Click. Reset. New game.

Live Video of PGA Championship on GOLF.com

PGA Championship Live Video Player
PGA Championship Live Video Player

This week, GOLF.com will have live video coverage of the 92nd PGA Championship at Whistling Straits. Check back Thursday morning to follow Tiger Woods, Y.E. Yang and Vijay Singh, and to see all the action from the par-3 holes.

Marquee groups
• Thursday, 9:20 a.m. Eastern: Tiger Woods, Y.E. Yang, Vijay Singh
• Thursday, 2:35 p.m. Eastern: Phil Mickelson, Graeme McDowell, Louis Oosthuizen
• Friday, 9 a.m.-7 p.m. ET
• Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. ET

Par 3
• Thursday and Friday 1-8 p.m. ET
• Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. ET

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