Monday Scorecard: Lefty's 44th, Brooks' big week, Pro-Am pros and cons
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"Monday Scorecard" is a look back at the biggest stories from around the golf world over the past seven days.

Phil's far from done

At the age of 48, Phil Mickelson is showing no signs of slowing down. By collecting his fifth win at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am on Monday for career title No. 44, Mickelson is primed for another big year on Tour.

His 2018 campaign - in which he broke through with his first win since 2013 - ended in ugly fashion at the Ryder Cup. Mickelson admitted he was "absolutely exhausted" by a jam-packed schedule, and he'll reduce his events played in 2019.

Ben Jared / US PGA TOUR / Getty

Mickelson's driving the ball better than he ever has before. In Round 1 at the Pro-Am, he hit 13-of-13 fairways for the first time since 1998. He says his swing speed increased by 5-6 mph seemingly overnight, putting him in the top 10 in driving distance on the PGA Tour alongside a bunch of 20-year-olds.

With a well-planned schedule and newfound power, Mickelson should be able to contend at the year's biggest events. Combine that with his past success at Augusta and Pebble Beach - home of the 2019 U.S. Open - and a major victory is a strong possibility for Lefty.

Score: Birdie, but in mid-April, this could be a hole-in-one.

Koepka sounds off

Who is this Brooks Koepka and what happened to the reticent, drama-free three-time major winner?

In a complete reversal, the 2018 Player of the Year is now speaking his mind in interviews. During a recent media blitz as the reigning PGA Championship winner, he produced headline after headline, verbally attacking other players and launching a tirade against slow play.

Koepka called out PGA Tour officials for not penalizing golfers who are put on the clock.

"Guys keep being put on the clock and put on the clock, (they) keep doing it and keep doing it, and they're breaking the rule but no one ever has the balls to actually penalize them," he said.

Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty

He then revealed a brilliant strategy he uses in an attempt to purposely get put on the clock.

"Some of these guys are so slow, I'll take my sweet time getting to the ball," Koepka said. "Don't have to go to the bathroom, (but) I'll go to the restroom and just kind of chill in there for five minutes so we get on the clock and now we're playing at my pace."

Two weeks earlier, Koepka called the pace of play "embarrassing" and said "it's not that hard" to hit a ball in under 60 seconds. This was an indirect dig at Bryson DeChambeau, who was filmed taking more than a minute to hit a single shot.

And Koepka didn't stop there: He blasted Sergio Garcia for his viral temper tantrum in the bunker, calling the Masters champ a "child" and adding, "He's 40 years old, so you gotta grow up eventually."

If he continues to be this candid, Koepka won't be overlooked in media requests like he was at last year's Tour Championship.

One more thing: Let's end the Koepka-looks-like-a-linebacker discussion. He's 6 feet tall and weighs 205 pounds. NFL linebackers have 50 lbs on him, and Giannis Antetokounmpo makes him look like a runt.

Mike Stobe / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Score: Eagle. We're all-in on the new Brooks - the golf world has yearned for a star who isn't afraid to cause controversy.

Pro-Am pros and cons

The Pebble Beach Pro-Am is an unusual event on the PGA Tour schedule, and though the location is incredible, the amateurs bring an element that takes away from the real golf tournament.

Here are the pros and cons of the 2019 Pebble Beach Pro-Am:

Pros

  • Mickelson made an impressive sales pitch in hopes of pushing through the darkness Sunday night. These are some fantastic quotes from a guy who must have the best vision ever.
  • Tony Romo pulled off a wicked shot from the hospitality tent. Hat tip to the former Dallas Cowboy for representing an otherwise lackluster group of amateurs.
  • In his highly anticipated PGA Tour debut, Ho Sung Choi did exactly what he was supposed to do as a sponsor's exemption: He generated pre-tournament buzz, drew larger than normal galleries compared to his exempt peers, and even got Aaron Rodgers excited. And he did all this despite missing the cut, which no other sponsor's invite did either.

Cons

  • The TV coverage was abysmal. Friday's main broadcast showed zero shots from Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, or Jason Day because they weren't playing Pebble Beach, where cameras were stationed. Instead, Larry the Cable Guy was shown missing 2-footers and random CEOs hooked wedges into the water. Inexcusable.
  • The treatment of Choi. Instead of considering the 45-year-old South Korean as a top 200 player in the world and focusing on his remarkable story, he was made out as something of a sideshow, especially at his pre-tournament press conference.

Score: An ugly bogey. Mickelson is a great winner, but the entire event was tough to watch.

Vic Open nails it

A week after a public relations nightmare in Saudi Arabia, the European Tour partially redeemed itself by teaming up with the LPGA to create a first-of-its-kind tournament in Australia. The Vic Open at 13th Beach Golf Links hosted both men and women for a concurrent golf event where the two tours played on the same course, at the same time, for equal prize money.

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Groups of men and women alternated tee times for the four rounds, creating a unique experience for attendees and TV viewers. Add in the fact there were no ropes on the course, allowing fans - and their dogs - to roam wherever they wanted, and this event should be a model for tournaments in North America.

Aside from mixed doubles in tennis, no other sport can offer this type of cross-gender competition.

Score: LPGA - birdie. Well done making sure the women's purse was equal to the men's. European Tour - par. Still in the doghouse from last week.

No stopping Bernhard Langer

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The 61-year-old maintained his Champions Tour dominance Sunday by capturing the Oasis Championship for his 39th career win on the senior circuit.

With the victory, Langer eclipsed $27 million in Champions Tour earnings and bumped Hale Irwin out of top spot on the all-time money list. He remains six wins shy of Irwin's record.

Competing against mostly spry 50-year-olds, the German's continued success is truly exceptional.

Score: A well-earned birdie.

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Monday Scorecard: Lefty's 44th, Brooks' big week, Pro-Am pros and cons
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