"Honestly 'Phil' sounds really similar to 'Bill,' so you just kind of pretend that maybe they're for you."
Helen Ross with the best line from Bill Haas' post-round presser and other insights into the winner's Sunday at Riviera.
But Haas was unfazed by the partisan crowd that at times included his Presidents Cup captain Fred Couples, as well as a pair of NFL quarterbacks in Denver's Tim Tebow and Phillip Rivers of San Diego and a potential No. 1 draft pick in Stanford's Andrew Luck.
"Honestly 'Phil' sounds really similar to 'Bill,' so you just kind of pretend that maybe they're for you," the grinning Haas joked with a shrug of his shoulders. He even went so far as to admit, "If I'm at home, I'm cheering for Phil," too.
This was Mickelson's tournament to lose and fittingly he lost it in a manner that represented his career in microcosm. Seeking a second straight victory, Mickelson opened a three-stroke lead early, bogeyed the last two holes on the front, three-putted 14 and 15 for bogeys, left a tying 21-foot birdie putt on 17 a turn short, then holed an improbable 24-foot birdie putt on the difficult par-4 18th to take Haas to a playoff.
Farrell Evans says Riviera's setup should give Phil an added boost heading into the majors:
"[Riviera] was very defensive because the greens were so firm, the pins were tough, and although there was no rough, it had a kind of a U.S. Open feel," Mickelson said.
For a guy focused on winning majors, playing well on a U.S. Open-caliber setup must do wonders for his confidence. Sure, he'll see different conditions at Augusta, where the bentgrass greens are as true as any putting surfaces in championship golf. But the pressure brought on by the conditions at Riviera made Phil bear down in a way that he will draw on in the next two months as he tries to win his fourth green jacket.'