A solid start from Mickelson at Muirfield, and then some advice for the R&A

  • Article by: DOUG FERGUSON , AP Golf Writer
  • Updated: July 18, 2013 - 11:20 AM

GULLANE, Scotland — Along with trying to win more majors, Phil Mickelson is giving some advice how to run them.

For the second straight round in a major, Mickelson had a few choice words for the way the golf course was set up. In the final round of the U.S. Open at Merion, he was caught on camera turning to USGA executive director Mike Davis and questioning why the par-3 third hole was 274 yards into the wind.

He was a little more coy with the R&A on Thursday for some hole locations on greens that even at midday were brown and brutally quick.

"We've got (to) let go of our ego sometimes and just set the course up the way the best players can win," Mickelson said after a solid start of 2-under 69. When a reporter started a question by saying, "You said you have to let go of your ego," Mickelson interrupted him.

"I wasn't referring to me," he said.

Muirfield has been firm and fast since the weekend, with dry conditions in the forecast for the rest of the week. The R&A was turning on sprinklers for a brief time in the evening to keep the speed of the course from getting out of control.

R&A chief executive Peter Dawson saw no problem with the course.

"We have the conditions here we really like to have — hard, fast, running conditions — and we've set up the course to test the players' course management strategy as much as anything," Dawson said on the BBC. "It is part of the links courses defenses in this type of weather."

The hole location getting most of the attention was on the 441-yard eighth hole, in which Mickelson said it was tough to get chips or some putts within 6 feet of the hole. He also mentioned the 18th being on the edge of a slope.

Ian Poulter weighed in on Twitter after he opened with a 72.

"Unfortunately the guys this afternoon will struggle with a few pin positions. 8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face," Poulter tweeted.

Mickelson was a little more reserved in his comment.

"I got very lucky to play early today because as the day wore on and we got to the back nine, about a third of every green started to die and become brown," he said. "And the pins were very edgy, on the slopes. The guys that played early had a huge, huge break. Because even without any wind, it's beyond difficult."

Dawson said the R&A was "very conscious" of the players' comments.

"And we will take it into account tonight when we decide our green keeping strategy overnight, just how we are going to set the course up tomorrow," he said. "I do understand that some players get very frustrated. Ian Poulter I know bogeyed three of the last four holes — hardly likely to be in the best of moods. But Ian's comments will be noted, and we'll have a look at it. We are still very satisfied that the course is playable, but very testing."

Mickelson said he was trying to lag his putt on the par-5 17th and it still went 6 feet past the hole.

"No. 8 is probably the worst one that you'll see if you watch it on TV," Mickelson said.

The four-time major champion had no complains how he played. He made an 18-foot putt for par on the opening hole, and then made an 8-foot birdie putt on No. 2 and a birdie putt from just inside 20 feet on the next hole.

The best part of his round was a series of pars when Mickelson said his game went through some "technical difficulties."

Once he got that sorted out, he made birdies on the 14th and 15th holes, and even a bogey on the 18th didn't spoil his day too much. It was his lowest start at the British Open since a 69 at Hoylake in 2006.

"I love the fact that I shot under par because it's a very challenging course out there," Mickelson said.

Mickelson had his record sixth runner-up finish at the U.S. Open at Merion, where he started the final round with the lead. He made two bogeys with wedge in his hand on the back nine, but he was particularly bothered by the par-3 third hole.

Walking off the fourth tee, he looked back at Davis and said, "That's terrible - 274 yards? You can't even reach it," Mickelson said.

As for the R&A and the pin placements on some of the holes at Muirfield?

"Well, hopefully they'll ... let go of their ego and set it up reasonable, but you just never know," he said. "I think both the players and the tournament committee were excited about the conditions because of how firm the golf course is playing. And I think they wanted a little bit more wind, but there's enough wind that it's challenging to maneuver shots. You have to hit shots to accommodate the wind, to get the ball coming into the greens at the right angles and stuff."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 12:00 PM
Chicago
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 12:00 PM
Georgia Tech
Virginia 12:00 PM
Virginia Tech
Indiana 12:30 PM
Ohio State
Stony Brook 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Cincinnati 1:00 PM
UCF
Maine 1:00 PM
Hartford
Monmouth 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Marist
Rowan 1:00 PM
Princeton
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Rhode Island
Duke 1:00 PM
St Johns
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Siena
Drake 1:00 PM
Wichita State
Vermont 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Seton Hall 2:00 PM
Butler
NJIT 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 11:00 AM
Georgetown
St Johns 11:00 AM
Villanova
Arkansas 11:00 AM
Florida
Maine 12:00 PM
UMBC
Vanderbilt 12:00 PM
Alabama
Lafayette 12:00 PM
Lehigh
UCF 1:00 PM
SMU
Utah 1:00 PM
Washington
James Madison 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Delaware 1:00 PM
Drexel
Hofstra 1:00 PM
William & Mary
Hartford 1:00 PM
Albany
Binghamton 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Towson 1:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wake Forest 1:00 PM
(17) Florida State
Georgia Tech 1:00 PM
Virginia
(22) Georgia 1:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Drake 1:00 PM
Evansville
Iona 1:00 PM
Canisius
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Northwestern 1:00 PM
Penn State
Wisconsin 1:00 PM
Michigan State
Ohio State 1:00 PM
Purdue
Northern Iowa 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Butler 1:30 PM
Xavier
Creighton 2:00 PM
Marquette
Providence 2:00 PM
DePaul
Northeastern 2:00 PM
Elon
(2) Connecticut 2:00 PM
Cincinnati
Oregon 2:00 PM
Arizona
Bradley 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
NC State 2:00 PM
(23) Syracuse
(7) Maryland 2:00 PM
Indiana
Illinois State 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close