Lefty's thought in right place

Masters dinner was to honor Seve, but he won't be there

February 17, 2011|By Jeff Shain, Tribune Newspapers

Phil Mickelson has planned enough Masters champions dinners around what he likes. For his third, he's bowing to others.

Mickelson said his first thought was a tribute to Seve Ballesteros, whose first Masters win came 31 years ago and inspired a 9-year-old Mickelson to dream about a green jacket. Ballesteros has been unable to travel in recent years while battling brain cancer.

"I sent him an e-mail saying if he were able to come and feeling healthy enough, I would love to have the dinner be something he would like — a Spanish dish of paella or whatever he thought would be appropriate," Mickelson said.

Alas, he said, Ballesteros is unlikely to make the trip. Mickelson instead is looking into a selection of meats that could include bison or venison.

"Many of the past champions love beef, they love meat," said Mickelson, himself a carnivore again after five months as a vegetarian.

Founders funding: Structural changes to the LPGA's play-for-charity Founders Cup have brought two early objectors into the fold.

The LPGA doubled the tournament's charitable contribution, adding $500,000 for top finishers' charities of choice in addition to its original $500,000 earmarked for LPGA-USGA Girls Golf.

Also, the "mock purse" for money-list purposes was reduced to $1 million to make the numbers match. That swayed U.S. Women's Open champion Paula Creamer and Morgan Pressel to sign up.

Playing matchmaker: With Mickelson's change of plans to enter next week's WGC Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz., the brackets are slated to include all of the top 64 in the world rankings.

No. 1 seed Lee Westwood would draw Japan's Toru Taniguchi in his opening match at Dove Mountain. That could lead to a second-round meeting with Nick Watney, who bounced Westwood in the same round last year.

For the other top seeds, Martin Kaymer would open against young Korean Seung-Yul Noh, Tiger Woods against Thomas Bjorn and Mickelson against Brendan Jones.

Tap-in: Lee Trevino, 71, announced next month's Toshiba Classic in Newport Beach, Calif., will be his only full-field Champions Tour event of 2011.

— Jeff Shain

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