Notebook: Mickelson's imagination extends to gifts
Phil Mickelson presented each attendee with a special retrospective at the past champions' dinner on Tuesday. Plus, Jay and Jerry Haas share some brotherly love, Ernie Els' knee and his game are coming around nicely, and more.
MEDINAH, Ill. (AP) -- Phil Mickelson's imagination goes beyond the golf course.
Mickelson's victory last year at Baltusrol made him the host of the Tuesday night dinner for past PGA champions, and with that comes the responsibility of giving each champion a gift.
Rich Beem gave everyone ostrich cowboy boots. Tiger Woods' gift was a personalized humidor one year, and a clock showing the time zones of all four majors in 2000. Shaun Micheel presented everyone with an electric guitar.
"It's tough to get winners of the PGA Championship a really nice gift on an $80 budget," Mickelson joked.
His gift wasn't expensive, but it took plenty of work.
"We found some cool things," he said. "We went back and found all the past newspaper clippings from the day they were born, and all the newspaper clippings from the week of tournament they won."
He and his wife, Amy, created leather-bound books to hold the clippings.
It was a similar to the book his wife made in 2004 when she collected newspaper clippings of his first Masters victory.
DEAN AND ANNIKA: Dean Wilson figured he would forever be linked with Annika Sorenstam until he won a PGA Tour event. Three years after he played with her at the Colonial, Wilson won the International.
He and Sorenstam have remained close friends and stay in touch.
Sorenstam and Tiger Woods often text message each other after winning majors as they keep score of who has the most. Woods now has 11 majors to Sorenstam's 10.
Wilson thought that was a good idea.
"I guess I should put 68-1," he said, noting that Sorenstam has won 68 times on the LPGA Tour.
Then he came up with a better idea, realizing that the Swedish star has only played one time on the PGA Tour, missing the cut.
"Maybe I'll make it 1-0," Wilson said with a laugh."
BROTHERLY LOVE: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have nothing on Jay and Jerry Haas.
One pairing in the PGA Championship excites golf fans. The other is even more exciting to the Haas family.
The two brothers tee off together Thursday in the final major of the season, the first time brothers have competed in the PGA Championship since Lanny and Bobby Wadkins in 1995 at Riviera.
"For me it's a thrill playing with my best friend and brother," Jay Haas said.
Jay Haas is the better known of the two, playing in his 27th PGA Championship and coming in as the reigning Senior PGA champion. Jerry Haas is nearly 10 years younger and bounced among various tours for years before becoming the golf coach at Wake Forest and earning a spot by finishing in the top 25 at the PGA Professional National Championship in June.
Jerry Haas said playing with his brother should help calm some nerves for him in the first two rounds at Medinah Country Club.
"I don't get to play very much. I'm a little bit out of my element maybe," he said. "I told somebody, now he can't tell me what to do for four and a half hours. That's against the rules."
Jay Haas won nine times on the PGA Tour and has five wins on the Champions Tour, and at the age of 52 will be a long shot for his first major championship. Jerry Haas, whose biggest year included three wins on the Nationwide Tour in 1994, will face even longer odds.
That doesn't make it any less fun for the two, who also played together in the 1989 Hawaiian Open.
"He's my biggest fan," Jay Haas said. "And I'm his biggest fan."
UPBEAT ELS: Ernie Els is back in the PGA Championship after missing last year because of a knee injury. The knee seems healed, and Els' golf game is beginning to heal nicely, too.
Els is coming off a strong finish in the British Open, where he finished third, five strokes behind Tiger Woods. The South African said the finish gave him some confidence heading into the final major championship of the year.
"It was a good week," Els said. "You know, I took a lot of positives out of that one. Being in contention over the weekend was wonderful."
Els has won two U.S. Opens and a British Open. Missing from his resume are both a green jacket, and the Wanamaker Cup that goes to this week's winner. He likes the way Medinah Country Club suits his game, however, and he likes the way his swing looks, too.
The only thing holding Els back may be his putter.
"I would say early in my career I probably made more putts than I do right now," he said. "I may be a more streaky putter. So yeah, that's that."
GATOR BAIT: Chris DiMarco has played the final round of a major with Tiger Woods (2005 Masters) and Phil Mickelson (2004 Masters). Asked the difference, he used an analogy for his beloved Florida Gators.
"Tiger has become like my Florida Gators. I think people either love them or they don't want them to win," DiMarco said. "I don't say that in a bad way, not because of him. It's just that he's so good that I think people are tired of seeing him win."
That made partial sense, because Woods has won 11 majors.
The Gators have only one national title.
IN THE BAG: After his final practice round Tuesday, defending champion Phil Mickelson still wasn't sure whether he would use two drivers -- one built for a draw, the other for a fade -- like he did in winning the Masters.
"The difference is the temperature," he said. "If it's warm enough where I can hit 3-wood on some of the other par 4s, where I just want to get the ball in the fairway, then I will most likely just use one driver."
Mickelson didn't have a 3-wood at Winged Foot, taking it out of the bag in favor of a 64-degree sand wedge to chip out of the rough.
The two-driver system was brought up on the first tee Tuesday morning as Mickelson waited to tee off.
He saw Brad Faxon and Brett Quigley both playing a Titleist driver that still had a green sticker at the base of the shaft.
"Do you have to return this to the pro shop after the round?" Mickelson asked, a reference to clubs used as demos.
Faxon shook his head.
"This one is for the draw," he said, tapping his driver. Then pointing at Quigley's driver, "And this one is for the fade."
The tee erupted in laughter as Faxon and Quigley hit their drives.
DIVOTS: Tiger Woods and Ernie Els will compete on the Asian Tour in separate events in the next few months. Woods confirmed that he will play in the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai, where last year he was runner-up to David Howell. Els will be playing in the Singapore Open. ... Woods can make some more history at Medinah this week. No one has ever won the PGA Championship twice on the same golf course. Woods won by one shot over Sergio Garcia in 1999.
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