FBR Open, 2005 - Continuing the Big Win Trend

Text and Captions By Jeffrey A. Rendall; Photos By Jeff Janas 

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – PGA Tour favorite Phil Mickelson won by five shots at last weekend’s FBR Open, his largest margin of victory in a career that now includes twenty-four Tour victories. 

He was clearly the best of the Scottsdale field in his third start of the season, and Mickelson’s win continues a victory trend for the world’s highest ranked players – his success follows two weeks after Tiger Woods (#2 in the world) earned his first victory at San Diego’s Buick Invitational, and three weeks after world number one ranked Vijay Singh raised the trophy at the Sony Open in Hawaii. 

Phil’s FBR trip included a second round, course record-tying 60, which was thirteen strokes better than he’d shot the day before. 

It was also Mickelson’s first triumph while using Callaway clubs and golf balls.  It was a bit strange seeing Phil without his Titleist logos, but his switching companies is indicative of the highly competitive golf equipment manufacturing industry – and helps silence some of the critics who questioned his club switch prior to last year’s Ryder Cup.  These guys can play, and the advanced stuff in the bag only makes them better. 

With the three big names already earning a spot in next year’s champions-only Mercedes Championship, it leaves South Africans Ernie Els and Retief Goosen as the only top five players without a win thus far in the year -- but Els was close in his two starts in Hawaii, finishing second in both.  And besides, it’s only early February. 

This is great news for golf fans, because it’s clear all the headlining players are on their games – potentially setting up one of the most competitive and entertaining PGA Tour seasons in recent memory.  The fact that Woods is ‘back’ after re-tooling his swing the past year and change can only mean good things for the sport – and its TV ratings. 

As always, this year’s FBR tournament provided a welcome alternative choice to the annual Super Bowl pre-game show, and the fact that Mickelson was leading didn’t hurt the drama.  Phil’s never-a-dull-moment style certainly carried true to form on the back nine, including several thrilling saves and a couple spectacular misses. 

With golf’s ‘stars’ leading the way, we’re sure to enjoy a plethora of exciting moments in 2005. 

GolfTheMidAtlantic.com Photographer Jeff Janas made the trip out to the Arizona desert to attend the FBR Open, and here are some of the sights he captured for our viewing pleasure:

Phil Mickelson was all smiles -- and if you had a big lead with the prospect of a $936,000 winner's check waiting for you, you'd grin, too.

Saturday's scoreboard tells it all -- Mickelson leads, and over 165,000 fans were in attendance. The FBR Open dwarfs all others in ticket sales, every year.

Big hitter Hank Kuehne played well the first two rounds -- but a 3rd round 80 took him out of the running. Despite the score, he's still looking fashionable, for sure.

David Toms watches as his partner putts on the 17th green.

2004 European Ryder Cup Team Captain Berhnhard Langer played well at the FBR Open. If he keeps it up, he could be playing in the next competition, in 2006.

World top-ranked Vijay Singh won this tournament a few years back -- but was not a factor in '05. His win at the Sony Open in Hawaii shows he'll continue to push Tiger Woods for the number one spot, however.

Len Mattiace looks distressed as he surveys his situation in the rough -- and his frustration is understandable... he missed the cut by eight strokes.

PGA Tournaments aren't all stress and pressure -- here, Kenny Perry takes a moment to quietly reflect. Alone.

Stewart Cink stands out with his bright red Nike cap. His steady play also separates him from most other golfers, as well.

The large crowd waits anxiously for Mickelson to launch another tee shot.


The FBR Open

TPC Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Purse:  $5.2 million

Purse:  $5.2 million

Winner’s share:  $936,000

2005 Winner:  Phil Mickelson

Score:  267

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