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Los Angeles Open Golf Tournament

SPORTS
February 19, 2007 | Thomas Bonk, Times Staff Writer
How do you measure a victory? Is it by yards, or by years, with stacks of money, or is it something deep inside? Four years, four months and 12 days without a win isn't a drought, it's a career for some players, but that's how long Charles Howell III was kept waiting. On Sunday at Riviera Country Club, Howell outlasted Phil Mickelson, steered a three-foot par putt into the bottom of the third playoff hole and won the Nissan Open. And then broke down in tears.
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SPORTS
February 19, 2007 | Peter Yoon, Times Staff Writer
J.J. Henry was walking up the 17th fairway Sunday at Riviera Country Club when he heard the good news: Charl Schwartzel had withdrawn from this week's WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship. Then Henry, No. 65 in the World Golf rankings, realized that meant a first-round date with No. 1 Tiger Woods in the tournament for the top 64 players. Still Henry, who shot 68 on Sunday and tied for 22nd at the Nissan Open, said he was happy to get into the $8-million tournament, which pays $1.
SPORTS
February 18, 2007 | Peter Yoon, Times Staff Writer
When George McNeill arrived Saturday at Riviera Country Club, a lot more people knew who he was than when he left Friday night. "Everybody's asking me, saying, 'So you're the one,' " McNeill said. "I'm like, 'Yeah, I'm the reason you couldn't find out your tee times until 7:03 this morning.' " McNeill, 31, a tour rookie, was facing a 40-foot putt on his final hole of the second round Friday and determined that it was too dark to putt, so he opted to return early Saturday.
SPORTS
February 18, 2007 | Thomas Bonk, Times Staff Writer
Just when you thought there was no way Phil Mickelson could top himself, unless he suddenly decided to parachute from his jet and float down to the first tee, he managed to come up with the unexpected. Mickelson stuck it in reverse. He bogeyed back-to-back holes with a three-shot lead, let almost everyone carrying a golf club back into the Nissan Open, and still packed a one-shot advantage into his carry-on baggage for his Saturday afternoon commuter flight back home to Rancho Santa Fe.
SPORTS
February 18, 2007 | Helene Elliott
His shot was high and true, launching the ball into the azure sky above the Riviera Country Club golf course. When it came to earth, bouncing once before plopping into the cup, Rich Beem's life continued its decided turn for the better. Beem had been something of a party-hearty guy until marriage, fatherhood and advancing years reined him in.
SPORTS
February 17, 2007 | Thomas Bonk, Times Staff Writer
It's not easy to spot all the trends at the Nissan Open, where Padraig Harrington, who had never played the course before this week, is tied for the lead with Phil Mickelson, the unchallenged leader in creative commuting. Following closely is Charles Howell III, otherwise known as Mr. Second Place, in the unfamiliar position of third. Of course that's not even close to the entire updated cast. It's hard to miss Sergio Garcia, especially the way he looked Friday at Riviera Country Club.
SPORTS
February 16, 2007 | Thomas Bonk, Times Staff Writer
Rory Sabbatini likes to play fast, which is like saying that John Daly enjoys games of chance, so when the defending champion drew a 7:40 a.m. first-round Nissan Open tee time Thursday, he was off quickly -- in the fourth group of the day. That pleased Sabbatini, but probably not as much as his two-under-par 69. Sabbatini, the defending champion, had two bogeys on the front but said he found the firm greens more to his liking on the back.
SPORTS
February 16, 2007 | Thomas Bonk, Times Staff Writer
As the crow flies, it's 99 miles, and probably a week, from McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad to Santa Monica Airport. Crows aren't very fast. As Phil flies, it's an entirely different flight plan. Still 99 miles, but try 30 minutes. The Mickelson Method of commuting to golf tournaments got off to a flying start Thursday. He left his house in Rancho Santa Fe at 5:15 a.m.
SPORTS
February 15, 2007 | Thomas Bonk, Times Staff Writer
Is this global golf thing spinning on its axis, or what? That's probably as good an explanation that while three of the top four players in the world rankings are from the United States -- Tiger Woods, Jim Furyk and Phil Mickelson -- only 13 other U.S. players are in the top 50. So there is a question how to mark the occasion this week.
SPORTS
February 15, 2007 | J.A. Adande
What's good for the Goose (and the Big Easy and Lefty) isn't good for the grander scheme of things at the Nissan Open. Tiger Woods isn't here, which means this weekend's golf tournament is free of the grip he has held on the last seven PGA Tour events he has entered and it's wide open for Retief Goosen, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson and everyone else. It also means they're shedding tears in the CBS production truck. When Woods played on Sunday in 2006 the television ratings averaged 3.
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