For the first time in 20 years, Andrew Magee will not be competing in the FBR Open — and it hurts!
"I've been here for 19 straight tournaments, and I'm already missing it,'' said Magee, who withdrew Sunday because his surgically repaired right Achilles tendon has yet to heal.
"I can hit the ball, but I can't walk 18 holes. When I walk on it, I can feel it get warm and hot. I suppose I could start, but I'd never finish.''
Magee said the surgery, performed in November, went well. But because his doctor had to cut the tendon to repair a nagging bone spur, the healing process is taking longer than expected.
"I'd say I'm about a month away, but I thought I was a month away a month ago,'' said the Paradise Valley pro, who was the runner-up in the Open in 1993. "It's getting better, it's just slow.''
Despite his "WD,'' which allowed Sweden's Niclas Fasth to get into the tournament as the first alternate, the easygoing Magee said he plans to be at the TPC of Scottsdale almost every day this week.
"The Thunderbirds offered me a blue tunic and beads (the garb worn by the group), but I'm too young to be a Thunderbird,'' said the 41-year-old Magee. "But I will probably hang out in the Corporate Village and enjoy a few beverages.. . . No, I won't be at the Bird's Nest.''
Also withdrawing on Monday because of an undisclosed injury was Australian Peter Lonard. He was replaced by Dudley Hart.
YRENE RARIN' TO GO
Don Yrene hopes his third appearance in the tournament will be charmed, as he earned an exemption for the Open by winning last fall's Southwest Section of the PGA Championship.
"I haven't made the cut (in two previous attempts), and I haven't played competitively in three or four months,'' said Yrene, who is an assistant pro at the new Golf Club of Scottsdale. "But I'm ready to rumble.''
Yrene said playing with Tour players rather than club pros is always a great experience, "but it's also very nerve-wracking. "It's like football. After the first hit, you settle down and get into your game. That's the big thing, really, the mental part.
"You see these guys on TV every week, and all of a sudden you're teeing it up with them. So you try and stay poised and calm, and keep everything together upstairs.''
Yrene will have plenty of help, as his caddie is none other than his boss, Bob Romero, the head pro at the Golf Club of Scottsdale.
"That's where I come in,'' Romero said of helping Yrene stay cool. "Donnie's going to make (the cut) this time. He's playing great.''
Phil Mickelson, who edged Skip Kendall in sudden death Sunday to win the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, has jumped from 16th to 12th in the world rankings following the win.
Mickelson, who had been ranked No. 2 in the world for 99 straight weeks until early in the 2003 season, had fallen all the way to 16th by the end of last year.
His victory, which came in his 2004 debut, ended an 18-month drought.
Three players earned spots in the 132-man field during Monday qualifying at Gainey Ranch and McCormick Ranch.
Bob Tate, an amateur from Burbank, Calif., got the nod at Gainey, where his 6-under 66 was good enough. Tate narrowly beat out another amateur, as 15-year-old Phillip Francis from Scottsdale fell a stroke shy with a 67.
Two pros from Virginia led the qualifying at McCormick Ranch, as Nationwide Tour veteran Bo Van Pelt and G.W. Cable also posted 6-under 66s.
In all, 168 players attempted to qualify.
The newest PING putter might not have a name, but it certainly has a huge presence on the practice putting green at the TPC of Scottsdale.
Introduced last week at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic, PING's new putter has a 6-inch blade and is shaped like a half-moon. It dwarfs the metallic Titleist Futura — previously the weirdest looking putter on Tour — which Phil Mickelson used to win the Hope last week.
John Souza, director of PingWRX, says the new putter has the highest moment of inertia, or resistance to twisting, of any putter on the market and that it will have a name in the next couple of weeks.
Mark Calcavecchia and Kevin Sutherland used the new putter in the Hope and both made the cut.
- Correspondent Joanna Whitley contributed to this report.