Notes: All eyes on Mickelson's wedge game
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
LA JOLLA, Calif. – It’s been a decade since Phil Mickelson won his hometown event at Torrey Pines. He finished second with flair, as he so often does, last year when Mickelson’s caddie, Jim Mackay, tended the flag on the final hole as Mickelson tried to hole a wedge shot for eagle.
He came close, but had to settle for birdie, finishing a shot behind Bubba Watson. It was an illustration of Mickelson’s confidence in his wedge game. He estimates he hits the pin a dozen times per year with a wedge in his hand.
“I work at that,” Mickelson said. “That’s what I practice. It’s not an accident that my wedge game is what it is.”
So, how does one get Mickelson’s wedge game? Practice, practice, practice. He said he spends three days per week on his wedge game, hitting 1,500 balls to specific spots. “For the most part, I’m able to fly it within a yard 90 percent of the time,” he said.
His short-game instructor, Dave Pelz, said Mickelson should remove the flag on every wedge shot. “I won’t do (that) because it looks bad,” Mickelson joked.
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The Q-School and Nationwide Tour changes were a hot topic because of Tuesday’s player meeting on the topic. Mickelson said the focus shouldn’t be the changes to the qualifying format, but the changes to the schedule that would accompany the new Q-School.
“What I see being the issue is trying to start the new season in October,” Mickelson said. “I think the only way to do that is to have Q-School not be part of the Tour.”
Starting the season would allow the Asian events – namely the CIMB Asia Pacific Malaysia Championship and WGC–HSBC Champions – count toward the FedEx Cup season. He said the Tour may be looking to add a couple events to make an Asian Swing of four or five events.
Geoff Ogilvy deferred to the Tour. He was originally against the FedEx Cup, but has grown to favor it.
“I quite like the way the Tour is now,” Ogilvy said. “But I quite liked the way the Tour was before the FedEx Cup was, and I actually like the Tour better now with the FedEx Cup. I thought it was ridiculous having the FedEx Cup. ... Every year it’s gotten better, and I really like it.”
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David Duval, UCLA freshman Jay Hwang, Ryo Ishikawa, Neal Lancaster, Scott McCarron, Chris Riley, Peter Tomasulo and Boo Weekley are playing this week on spsonor exemptions. Hwang, a San Diego resident who went to Torrey Pines High School, won an amateur qualifier for the event. Duval and McCarron also played last week on exemptions. Duval finished last at 12-over 228. McCarron tied for second-to-last. ... Scott Stallings withdrew with a rib injury. He also withdrew after the first round of last week’s Humana Challenge.