TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Having failed to win a major for the first time since 2003, Phil Mickelson said his win at The Players Championship — the so-called fifth major — was “what salvaged the year for me.”
After tying for 24th at the Masters, Mickelson injured his left wrist while practicing for the U.S. Open, then missed the cut at Oakmont and at the British Open. He shot a 1-under 69 Sunday to end the PGA Championship at 6-over 286 in a tie for 32nd place.
“My other four performances in the majors were not what I wanted obviously, but I don’t want to be too hard on myself because for a couple, I wasn’t able to make the swings and hit the shots I needed to try to hit,” Mickelson said.
The injury has changed Mickelson’s outlook for the fall.
“Usually this time of the year after the PGA, I’m ready to pack it in,” Mickelson said. “But because I haven’t played or because I feel like I haven’t been able to play and practice three months even though I’ve tried, my excitement level to get back out and compete is still very high right now.”
Mickelson said the wrist injury “should be in the past now” and he wishes the PGA Championship had been a couple weeks later so he’d have had a better chance to prepare.
Simon Dyson had been so worn down playing golf that he decided to take three weeks off before the PGA Championship. He came back thinking “a top 30 would have been a dream.”
The Englishman easily surpassed that goal, shooting a 6-under-par 64 Sunday for the low round of the day to finish in a tie for sixth place.
“One of the best days I’ve had for a long time,” said Dyson, who has won twice on the European Tour and four times on the Asian Tour.
Dyson carded the best front nine total of the week with a 4-under 31, then added three more birdies on the back nine. All that kept him from matching the major championship record of 63 was a three-putt for bogey on No. 10.
“Everything just seemed to click today,” Dyson said.
Dyson had played eight tournaments in a nine-week span, missing the cut in the final two, before deciding to take the break. While he continued to work out, he put his clubs away for two full weeks before resuming practice last week. In the meantime, he went out a few nights with friends and took his girlfriend on vacation for a few days.
“Nothing felt good. My head was somewhere it shouldn’t be,” Dyson said. “And I just thought I needed to recharge the batteries and get my appetite back.”
Dyson said he may work more down time into his schedule, particularly if the result is such a strong finish in a major. Dyson’s best finish at a major had been a tie for 34th at the 2005 British Open. He’d missed the cut at his only trip to the U.S. Open and his other three British Opens.
“It’s something I’ll savor for a long time,” Dyson said. “Unless I do something better the next couple of years.”
With his win, Tiger Woods became only the third player to win at least four PGA Championships. He’s one behind Walter Hagen and Jack Nicklaus.
He’s the only player to repeat at the PGA Championship since Denny Shute won consecutive titles in 1936-37. Woods also repeated in 1999-2000. Hagen, who won four straight titles from 1924 to 1927, is the only player to win more than two in a row.
Only Woods and Nicklaus have won at least one major in three consecutive years on two separate occasions.
Corey Pavin’s caddie moved a rake out of the way during an errant bunker shot at the par-3 sixth hole, allowing the ball to roll down a hill and into the water. Even though his action allowed Pavin’s shot to enter the hazard instead of avoiding it, the 1995 U.S. Open champion was still assessed a two-stroke penalty.
Pavin played another shot out of the bunker, then two-putted for an 8.
Tim Herron also ran into trouble with the rake. After hitting his tee shot into the water, his shot from the drop zone hit the rake. When the rake was moved, the ball rolled into the water. He was able to drop again in a spot where the ball wouldn’t roll off, and carded a 7.
John Senden carded a 71 to earn his first top five finish at a major. His previous best finish was a tie for 35th at last year’s British Open. “It’s been a great week. I’m really, really excited.” … Mike Small, the University of Illinois golf coach, edged Ryan Benzel of Seattle by one stroke to finish as the top club professional in the field. … John Daly’s second shot on the par-5 fifth hole got stuck in a tree. After a drop, He ended up making bogey. Daly, who shot a 67 in the first round, shot his third straight 73 on Sunday and finished the tournament at 6 over. … Graeme Storm, who opened with a 65 to take the first-round lead, shot 78 Sunday and ended up at 13-over 293 for the tournament. … Anyone looking to buy a camouflage cap like the one worn by Boo Weekley will have to wait. “They can’t get one like this right now,” said Weekley, an avid hunter and fisherman. “It ain’t on the market.”