Mickelson to return to The Greenbrier Classic

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Phil Mickelson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday night, says he plans to compete in The Greenbrier Classic.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Phil Mickelson, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Monday night, says he plans to compete in The Greenbrier Classic.

Phil Mickelson is returning to The Greenbrier Classic for the second consecutive year.

Mickelson also announced Tuesday at The Players Championship at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., that he is joining Greenbrier Resort owner Jim Justice and their wives in playing host to a two-day fundraiser later this year to
benefit military personnel.

The Birdies for the Brave event will take place Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 at TPC Sawgrass. It will include a pro-am, dinner and country music concert.

The Greenbrier Classic will be held July 5-8 in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va.

LOST AND FOUND: Tiger Woods never found his golf ball and received a free drop when it was pointed out a fan picked up the ball. He went on to miss the cut at Quail Hollow by one shot. The rules official decided the evidence did not merit a penalty.

But imagine the outcry if Woods made the cut. Or what if that happened to a player who went on to win the U.S. Open by two shots?

The details don’t make this a clean comparison, but it gave Meg Mallon occasion to recall the bizarre circumstances in the first round of the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open.

She was playing the 421-yard fourth hole at The Orchards in the opening round when she pulled her tee shot toward a food compound. When she arrived to where her ball should have been, it wasn’t there. Marshals didn’t know what happened.

“I said, ‘What you do mean you don’t know where the ball is?’ ” Mallon said.

Her first thought was to go back to the tee, but she called for a rules official when someone in the gallery said someone picked up the ball. The official arrived, talked to people in the gallery and concluded that must have been the case.

Three days later, Mallon closed with 65 for a two-shot win over Annika Sorenstam.

But this is where the comparisons differ. No one found Woods’ golf ball at the Wells Fargo Championship. The evidence official Mark Russell had when making the ruling pointed toward a stolen ball, and the wide-open area of trampled pine straw (along with the nature of the trees) supported that.

In Mallon’s case, there was chatter after her drop about the missing ball, and someone confessed.

LOPEZ HONOR: Nancy Lopez will receive the Byron Nelson Prize next week at the Byron Nelson Championship outside Dallas. The award recognizes people in golf who show the same philanthropic spirit for which Nelson was known.

Lopez sparked popularity in the LPGA Tour as a rookie in the late 1970s. She won 48 LPGA Tour events, including three majors, and was a four-time player of the year.

DUSTIN OUT: Dustin John­son has gone two months without playing on the PGA Tour, though he plans to gradually get back to practice.

Johnson had surgery to repair cartilage damage in his knee during the off-season,
but he withdrew from his first tournament because of back pain that never quite went away. He withdrew from Bay Hill with hopes of being ready for the Masters Tournament, and then hurt his back again the Friday before the Masters lifting a jet ski from the water near his home in South Florida.

“I can promise you, I won’t be doing any more heavy lifting, other than in the gym,” he said. “I’ve learned a valuable and expensive lesson the hard way.”


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