At least Phil Mickelson didn’t break his own record for the longest event in PGA Tour history.
Mickelson had to return to Pebble Beach on Monday to complete his 44th Tour victory and did so easily, finishing at 19-under par with a 65. Winning for the fifth time at Pebble, he maintained the three-stroke lead he had taken over Paul Casey and Scott Stallings when play in the Pebble Beach Pro-Am was suspended because of darkness Sunday. Casey finished alone in second place; Stallings completed play Sunday.
Although suspended play didn’t last six months, as it did for Mickelson at Pebble in 1998, he had seemed frustrated at the decision to suspend play Sunday, with Casey arguing the other point. On Monday, with his 44th title securely in his pocket, he was more mellow. “I thanked Paul this morning for letting us finish in the morning,” he told the Golf Channel, admitting that he had been in his “little bubble” and self-centered. “He really protected both of us. I was very appreciative of that. Sometimes I get in my little bubble and don’t see the bigger picture.”
On Sunday, though, he was clearly irritated. “We could finish 17, I could tee off on 18,” Mickelson told official Mark Russell after he finished play at 16, with darkness descending. “Let’s play 17 and see how it goes. I can see fine.”
Countered Casey: “It’s not over yet.” He preferred to suspend play with his ball on the 16th green, resuming the tournament on Monday when the greens, which took a beating from rain Saturday night and an impressive hailstorm Sunday, would be fresh. The rain forced the start to be delayed more than an hour Sunday and the hailstorm prompted a delay of over two hours. Officials chose to complete play Monday, a decision that CBS’s Gary McCord said had Mickelson “fuming.”
But Casey told GolfChannel.com that he “genuinely” couldn’t see. The 48-year-old Mickelson said, “I have pretty good vision. I can see fine, and I’m playing well, so I wanted to continue and that’s all there is to it. But I totally get where he’s coming from.”
As for that “longest event in PGA Tour history,” it’s a mark that seems destined to stand. Mickelson won at the course for the first time in 1998 and the tournament was suspended for six months because of a several days of poor weather on the Monterey Peninsula. Play was suspended on Feb. 2 and resumed and ended on Aug. 17. Mickelson trailed Tom Watson and Tim Herron by one shot when play resumed and won with a 5-under 67.
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