Different Strokes: Mickelson makes senior statement as Langer continues to coin it in

Royal County Down’s star rises . . . Word of Mouth . . . Twitter Twaddle . . . By the numbers . . . On this Day . . . In the Bag . . . Know the Rules

Jim Furyk gives knuckles to winner Phil Mickelson on the 18th green after the final round of the PGA Tour Champions Constellation Furyk & Friends  at Timuquana Country Club  in Jacksonville, Florida. Photograph: Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

Jim Furyk gives knuckles to winner Phil Mickelson on the 18th green after the final round of the PGA Tour Champions Constellation Furyk & Friends at Timuquana Country Club in Jacksonville, Florida. Photograph: Ben Jared/PGA TOUR via Getty Images

 

Bernard Langer – at the ripe old age of 64 – continues to be a walking ATM on the Champions Tour stateside, where he (again) leads that money order of merit with earnings of $2.7 million (€2.33 million).

But while the ageless German continues to be the pacesetter in terms of earning greenbacks, the strike rate of Phil Mickelson’s is out on his own.

Mickelson – the current US PGA champion – still mainly plays on the main PGA Tour but the 51-year-old’s breakouts on the seniors circuit have been hugely impressive and his win at the Furyk & Friends – hosted by his old pal Jim – gave him a third win from just four appearances among the elders.

“I like how you don’t have to be perfect and I can get away with a shot or two,” remarked Mickelson of how he managed to overcome a double-bogey in his final round and still go on for a two-stroke winning margin over Spain’s Miguel Angel Jimenez.

Mickelson’s main focus, though, will continue to be on the PGA Tour and he plans only two further appearances this season on the silver-haired circuit, including the Tour Championship which is confined to the leading 72 players.

Pádraig Harrington’s debut on the Champions Tour was a disappointing one, finishing in tied-55th in the 81-man field. The Dubliner, however, stays stateside for another crack this week, playing in the SAS Championship in North Carolina where Darren Clarke – currently ninth on the season’s order of merit – is also playing.

Royal County Down has been named as the top international classic course by Golfweek magazine. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho
Royal County Down has been named as the top international classic course by Golfweek magazine. Photograph: Russell Pritchard/Inpho

It’s a classic . . . . Royal County Down tops the list

As kudos go, Royal County Down won’t turn up their noses at being named by Golfweek magazine as the number one classic international golf course (outside the United States) . . . putting it ahead of the Old Course at St Andrews on the list!

Confined to “classic” courses built prior to 1960, the ranking list includes no fewer than five Irish courses – all links – in the top-50.

Royal County Down – with the imposing Slieve Donard as a backdrop – got the top vote from the 800 panel members who used 10 criteria to decide on the rankings: Royal County Down came out top, with the Old Course at St Andrews in second and Royal Dornoch in third.

In all, five Irish links made the list: Royal County Down (1st), Royal Portrush (6th), Ballybunion (Old Course) (8th); Lahinch (Old Course) (16th) and Portmarnock (39th).

Word of Mouth

“I went to the Titleist shop when I was staying in Korea and I found the putter and I tried it and said, ‘Can I get this?’ I’ve used the putter from four weeks ago” – Yin Young Ko on getting her hands on the Titleist Phantom X 5.5 which she has used to remarkable effect on the LPGA Tour in recent weeks, a run which has seen her finish 1st-6th-2nd-1st. Her most recent success came in a successful defence of the Founders Cup. Ko’s next outing will be on home turf, in the BMW Ladies in Busan, South Korea, next week where Leona Maguire will also be playing.

Twitter Twaddle

Very enjoyable week in Spain on the @EuropeanTour. Nice to put together 4 rounds in the 60s. Had a blast competing with some of the best in the world the last few weeks! Thank you again for all the support – John Murphy after going tied-9th and tied-24th in the Alfred Dunhill Links and the Spanish Open in back to back weeks. The Corkman – who has risen from 896th in the world rankings to 565th – returns to the Challenge Tour this week for the Emporda Challenge.

Gracias Madrid y @accionaopen por una gran semana! – world number one Jon Rahm had “a great week” even if he failed to deliver the hat-trick of Spanish Open titles in Madrid.

Liam made it. HV4 #HeHere -–Harold Varner III announcing the arrival of Harold Varner IV, a.k.a Liam.

By the Numbers: 100

Séamus Power has achieved a career best ranking of 100 in the updated official world rankings, following his tied-21st finish in the Shriners Children’s Open in Las Vegas. The Waterford man was ranked 429th at the end of 2020 but, in a year in which he made his PGA Tour breakthrough with victory in the Barbasol Championship, he has moved to 100th. Power is the 16th Irish male golfer to break into the world’s top-100.

David Duval with the trophy after his breakthrough victory at the 1997 Michelob Championship. Photograph: PGA Tour archive
David Duval with the trophy after his breakthrough victory at the 1997 Michelob Championship. Photograph: PGA Tour archive

On this day: October 12th, 1997

The Michelob Championship of 1997 at Kingsmills in Virginia was notable for who emerged victorious: David Duval, a future world number one, had spent a number of seasons on the Nike Tour before progressing to the PGA Tour. But it took him two years as a card-carrying member to earn his first win, which came with a birdie in a playoff with Duffy Waldorf and Grant Waite.

Duval, then aged 25, put together rounds of 67-66-71-67 for a 13-under-par total of 271 that earned him a spot in the playoff. Having spent so many times knocking on the door, that Michelob win would provide the stimulus for an end-of-season dominance for Duval who won the Walt Disney and the Tour Championship in the following weeks.

In the Bag: Rafa Cabrera Bello (Spanish Open)

Driver: Titleist TSi3 (10 degrees)
3-wood: Titleist TS3 (15 degrees)
Utility Iron: Titleist U500 (3)
Irons: Titleist 620 MB (4-PW)
Wedges: Titleist Vokey Design SM8 (48, 54 and 60 degrees)
Putter: Scotty Cameron T7
Ball: Titleist Pro V1x

Know the Rules

Q
Although Rule 14.1a uses the terms “right behind” and “right next to” in how a player should mark a ball, is it allowed for a player to place a marker in front when marking a ball on the putting green?

A
Although “right behind” and “right next to” are used in the rule book to ensure the spot of a lifted ball is marked with sufficient accuracy for the player to replace it in the right spot, Rule 14.1a/2 – Marking Ball Correctly – allows for a ball to marked in any position around the ball so long as it is marked right next to it, and this includes placing a ball-marker in front of or to the side of the ball. However, common practice and advice is primarily for the marker to be placed behind the ball as it would be less likely to cause any breach of the rule.

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