Monday Scorecard: Lefty's 44th, Brooks' big week, Pro-Am pros and cons
"Monday Scorecard" is a look back at the biggest stories from around the golf world over the past seven days.
Phil's far from done
At the age of 48, Phil Mickelson is showing no signs of slowing down. By collecting his fifth win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Monday for career title No. 44, Mickelson is primed for another big year on Tour.
His 2018 campaign - in which he broke through with his first win since 2013 - ended in ugly fashion at the Ryder Cup. Mickelson admitted he was "absolutely exhausted" by a jam-packed schedule, and he'll reduce his events played in 2019.
Mickelson's driving the ball better than he ever has before. In Round 1 at the Pro-Am, he hit 13-of-13 fairways for the first time since 1998. He says his swing speed increased by 5-6 mph seemingly overnight, putting him in the top 10 in driving distance on the PGA Tour alongside a bunch of 20-year-olds.
With a well-planned schedule and newfound power, Mickelson should be able to contend at the year's biggest events. Combine that with his past success at Augusta and Pebble Beach - home of the 2019 U.S. Open - and a major victory is a strong possibility for Lefty.
Score: Birdie, but in mid-April, this could be a hole-in-one.
Koepka sounds off
Who is this Brooks Koepka and what happened to the reticent, drama-free three-time major winner?
In a complete reversal, the 2018 Player of the Year is now speaking his mind in interviews. During a recent media blitz as the reigning PGA Championship winner, he produced headline after headline, verbally attacking other players and launching a tirade against slow play.
Koepka called out PGA Tour officials for not penalizing golfers who are put on the clock.
"Guys keep being put on the clock and put on the clock, (they) keep doing it and keep doing it, and they're breaking the rule but no one ever has the balls to actually penalize them," he said.
He then revealed a brilliant strategy he uses in an attempt to purposely get put on the clock.
"Some of these guys are so slow, I'll take my sweet time getting to the ball," Koepka said. "Don't have to go to the bathroom, (but) I'll go to the restroom and just kind of chill in there for five minutes so we get on the clock and now we're playing at my pace."
Two weeks earlier, Koepka called the pace of play "embarrassing" and said "it's not that hard" to hit a ball in under 60 seconds. This was an indirect dig at Bryson DeChambeau, who was filmed taking more than a minute to hit a single shot.
And Koepka didn't stop there: He blasted Sergio Garcia for his viral temper tantrum in the bunker, calling the Masters champ a "child" and adding, "He's 40 years old, so you gotta grow up eventually."
If he continues to be this candid, Koepka won't be overlooked in media requests like he was at last year's Tour Championship.
One more thing: Let's end the Koepka-looks-like-a-linebacker discussion. He's 6 feet tall and weighs 205 pounds. NFL linebackers have 50 lbs on him, and Giannis Antetokounmpo makes him look like a runt.
Score: Eagle. We're all-in on the new Brooks - the golf world has yearned for a star who isn't afraid to cause controversy.
Pro-Am pros and cons
The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is an unusual event on the PGA Tour schedule, and though the location is incredible, the amateurs bring an element that takes away from the real golf tournament.
Here are the pros and cons of the 2019 Pebble Beach Pro-Am:
- Mickelson made an impressive sales pitch in hopes of pushing through the darkness Sunday night. These are some fantastic quotes from a guy who must have the best vision ever.
- Tony Romo pulled off a wicked shot from the hospitality tent. Hat tip to the former Dallas Cowboy for representing an otherwise lackluster group of amateurs.