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Original Issue

Phil's Message From Pebble

Phil Mickelson on suicide watch after Winged Foot? A has-been after missing the cut at Phoenix? Yeah, right. Here's what Lefty might've told Tiger about that--and more--on the way home from his five-shot win at Pebble Beach

Hey, tiger. It'sPhil. You're not using caller ID, are you? Joking, joking. I'll bet you're inthe Jacuz after a long hard day on the slopes. Been there, man. Enjoy! I don'tknow if you check your messages, but I'll leave you a short one, just in case.¶ Anyway, Amy and I are really psyched for you guys and wanted to send you ourcongrats on the baby and everything. I haven't seen you since, what, championsdinner last year at Augusta? I'm not counting the Ryder Cup. That week was ablur. Hey, I'll make sure there's a nice juicy steak for you at the dinner thisyear, but there will be plenty of Italian, too. Love that tradition there.

Been watching oldMasters broadcasts on Golf Channel, Arnold and Jack trading off every year,everybody looking as if they were having a ball. How come nobody throws theirvisor anymore? Hold on a sec ... Amy sends her best to you, Elin and the baby.Hey, Amy--don't get any crazy ideas.

We're just flyinghome from Pebble. Golf course to wheels up in 23 minutes. New record for us,and that's with the three kids. Nothing like flying along the California coastin your own plane. You know about that, right?

I can see the 16that Cypress right now, waves crashing all around it. Gotta love golf in a seaspray, right? Played there the other day with Chuck Schwab, our pre-AT&Tgame. There's not a course I enjoy more. I just wish it were still in therotation. Can you imagine Arnold and Jack and Bing Crosby and Bob Hope playingin the Clambake every year? They were icons. I was looking at the pictures.Good times.

I know you don'tlike the Pebble greens for the AT&T, but they were the best they've been in15 years. Yeah, they're a little bumpy and slow, but I actually like it. Itmeans you've got to win with your ball striking and driving.

Hey, Tiger--sorryto do this. I got another call coming in, and I gotta take it. There'ssomething I want to ask you. I'll call you right back.

Sorry about that.It was my club guy at Callaway. This guy's the best. I mean, I'm sure your Nikeguy is very good, but this guy.... Don't want to go down that road again!Anyway, he asks me if I want to tweak anything for this week in L.A. I'm like,"I just had the best driving week of my life, but I love how you'rethinking." I don't know if I'm even gonna need the two drivers again thisyear at Augusta. Driving it just feels so easy right now. I've got a sort ofstinger shot with my driver now. It's low, straight and pretty darn long. Thewind doesn't move it. It's gonna be perfect for Carnoustie. Hey, are you gonnabe able to make the British Open with the baby and everything? I'm treatingRiviera this week like it's Oakmont, U.S. Open week. I thought you might playthis week, too, but I know you've got a lot going on, painting the baby's roomand all that. Kids are a blast, though.

When's the Opengoing back to Pebble, in 2010? We had so much fun at Pebble. Amy loves hangingout at the Lodge. We had the kids with us as well as my parents. I actuallylike playing in the weather. The pace is slow, but you're with great people,you know? My playing partner was the sweetest guy. Harry You. David Feherty wasdoing a bit, putting Harry You in a foursome with Michelle Wie, plus an Us anda They. They gave my man 18 shots, and he needed 'em. I never had to check thecard and say, "You're stroking here." He was always stroking. Harryhelped me by 19 shots, which is something when you consider I shot 20 under.Yeah--lift, clean and place. I know, I know.

Saw your friendJerry Chang was in the field, playing off scratch. That's tough, you gotta getthe shots. You used to play with him in it, a long while back now, right?Watson was playing with his son, Michael, and they nearly beat us, which wasvery cool. Watson still hits it so pure. He's like Fred that way. My guy fliesit about 180, but he's in play. I lost a ball on the 5th, and my man goes 3 net2, making like a 40-footer for his par! Gotta love that. That was three shotsright there, and we won by four. I gotta see what would have happened if we hadtied with the Watsons, playoff, off a match of cards. Amy, can you call up thepro-am scorecards on It was so much fun. Michael Watson'sgrandfather played in the old Crosby. My grandfather caddied at Pebble. Howdoes Elin like our country so far?

You gotta love thewriters. They had me on a suicide watch after Winged Foot, you know? And thenwhen I missed the cut at Phoenix? They're like, game over. I know you get itmuch worse every time you make a swing change. But it's all good. Good for thegame. Hey, Palmer and Nicklaus had a field day with that rivalry stuff. Ourgeneration has never really had it.

Anyway, to berealistic about it, and I'm not sure why I'm telling you this--but you know meonce I start talking!--I don't consider myself out of the woods. You blow amajor, to come back you gotta win a major, not an AT&T. Palmer never wonanother major after screwing up the Open at Olympic in '66. Watson, after theRoad Hole problem that let Seve win at St. Andrews in '84? No more majors. Ofcourse, Norman's meltdown at Augusta against Faldo, the year before you won? Nomore majors for Shark. So I've got my work cut out for me. You know how much Ilove a challenge.

Hey, it's good totalk to you. Listen, give me a call: I wanted to ask you about the PresidentsCup. Why should I have so much fun playing with Harry You, an 18 handicapper,at Pebble, and.... We can get into it. We should really talk more, coordinateour skeds and whatnot. Hey, winning at Pebble was a blast, but it would've beenbetter if you were there. My kids can name, like, two golfers! Listen, gimme acall on my cell. Amy's saying something here. One sec ... she's saying don'tput a flat screen in the baby's room. Yeah, that's right, Amy. Put in two! Onefor ESPN, the other for CNBC!

You know what I'vejust realized? I've got three majors and 13 other wins with kids. You got somecatching up to do, my man. You playing the Match Play? Maybe I'll see youthere. Talk to you.

Bill Murray Plays Blades

He's now more Groundhog Day than Caddyshack, and hasless tolerance for loud rich guys and kids who don't say please, but the starof the Pebble Beach Pro-Am remains a real golfer at heart

HE LADIES were huddled up. It was a February weekday onthe Monterey Peninsula, gray and cool. Bill Murray, walking off a green, askedthem in that deadpan voice, "What's that cologne you're wearing?" Aperfectly timed pause. "Merlot?"

One of the ladies offered Murray her clear plastic cup,and he polished off its contents. When she fished for a compliment, he said,"Sort of a short shot." And he was off.

The modern AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am is ashadow of its Bing Crosby heyday. The field--pros and ams--doesn't stir theblood. The pace is glacial. Tiger skips it annually. Nobody controls theweather. What it has is Murray, drinking black coffee, wearingconversation-piece lids, making the most rhythmic and unhurried swing you'veever seen on a 14 handicapper. You know how his acting is so laconic? His golfis the same, as if nothing matters.

Murray's first shot at Poppy Hills last Friday was awicked slice, deep into the forest. His provisional was a pull hook out ofplay. And his mood was ... fine. Five hours later, and not close to done, heskulled a shot out of a bunker. For a nanosecond he looked as if he might smashsomething. Then ... nothing. On one par-3 he missed the flagstick with his teeshot by maybe three inches, took four putts, came off the green and saidflatly, "I almost had a 1, and I almost had a 4." If you have anAll-Zen golf team, Murray can captain it.

He seems to have a lot figured out. A fan told Murrayhe'd been chasing him for five years for an autograph. "Five years isnothing," Murray said, gesturing toward the venerable Bishop pines."Look at these trees. Look at the ocean." For several holes Murraydidn't sign for a wild-eyed man in an army jacket. ("You're thatscary-looking guy again," he said.) He tends to blow off females trading ontheir looks, Caddyshack fanatics stuck in the 1980s, rich-guy gasbags, kids whodon't say please, some press-tent escapees. He told one reporter following him,"You're sucking the life out of me."

He is excellent with caddies, divots, his playingpartners, regular-Joe fans, other actors and his Mizuno forged blades. You cansee he's an athlete by his clean strikes, his long drives, the way he catcheshis ball from his caddie. He knocks the dirt off his shoes ballplayer-style,giving them two good whacks with the wedge. (Tiger has that same move.) Hisschlubby attire--plaid shirt with the tails out, baggy cotton pants, thecostume of his everyday character--looks studied. He folds his rainsuit neatlybefore returning it to his bag.

On his last hole at Poppy Hills, he smashed a drive andthen a fairway metal, covering 500 yards with two beautiful swings. He had a100-foot putt, at least, for eagle and rolled it up there to maybe two feet. Hetook his time over the little one. No QUIET PLEASE lady reading the putt forhim now. This one mattered--at least to him. The ball went in, and his armswent up. Turns out he sweats, just like the rest of us.

I know you don't like the Pebble greens for theAT&T, Tiger, BUT THEY WERE THE BEST THEY'VE BEEN IN 15 YEARS.


Robert Beck

SEA BREEZE Mickelson won for the 30th time on Tour, with a tournament-record-tying score of 20 under.


Robert Beck

TEE-RIFIC A slight adjustment (BIG PLAY, page G14) helped Mickelson lead in total driving.


Robert Beck

HANG TIME Amy and daughter Sophia provided the finishing touch.


Robert Beck