February 16, 2007

It has long been the custom on the PGA Tour for officials to mark the hole locations for the next round. As Phil Mickelson played his first round of the Nissan Open, he and his caddie, Jim Mackay, spied the white dots. Knowing the pin placements a day early, Mackay said, "is a big help." Otherwise, caddies may pick up copies of the day's pin sheet on the first and 10th tees. -- New York Times

Phil Mickelson has played the Nissan Open only seven times, but he knows the strategy at the 315-yard 10th. He hit his drive at the par four 307 yards, into the back bunker, but he got up and down for a birdie. Mickelson said he's always going to try to drive the green, and over the green isn't bad. -- Los Angeles Times

His dismal performance at the Ryder Cup last September hurt him deeply, Phil Mickelson said on Wednesday. In fact, he described the week in Ireland as "every bit as disappointing" as his last-hole collapse at the U.S. Open three months earlier. -- PGA.com

Since Adams Golf gambled on hybrids a few years ago, the company has doubled its business and tripled its R&D staff. The company won hybrid counts on the PGA, Champions and Nationwide Tours last season. Adams hopes to ride the momentum from last season to new frontiers. In addition to creating new lines and improving existing models, Adams is elbowing its way onto the PGA Tour and making its first foray into the LPGA. -- Dallas Morning News

Ernie Els has returned to the United States with a good knee, a good attitude and some of the same questions others have asked, including what he phrased as "the million-dollar question." What he does know is he wants to get back to where he was before that sailing accident in the summer of 2005 damaged the anterior cruciate ligament of his left knee and forced him to undergo arthroscopic surgery. He wasn't ready, Els now concedes. It was the fall of '05. He won a tournament. He believed the injury had healed. -- Oakland Tribune

Gary Player didn't plan it this way, but makes no apologies. The South African who has traveled some 14-million miles to play golf in his career figured to stop playing competitively around the age of 35 - or half a lifetime ago. Player, who won major championships in three decades and became just the third to capture the career Grand Slam, is 71 now but not slowing down. The goals are different - to break his age as often as possible - but he still does his daily dose of situps and golf. -- St. Petersburg Times

Ian Poulter, England's answer to MTV, had this opening-day outfit: purple shirt with matching purple visor and matching purple-tinted sunglasses. His pants were semi-bell-bottom, if there is such a thing. Blue and purple checked with white accent trimming, with two-inch slits at the ankles to provide better bell-bottom fit. Oh, yes. And spiked hair. -- Los Angeles Times

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