Phil Mickelson wants to be a better man.
As he prepped his game for the upcoming 147th British Open at Carnoustie Golf Links in Scotland (Wednesday PM–Sunday AM, Golf Channel, Channel 4) by knocking it around at the Scottish Open last weekend (he missed the cut), Lefty told reporters that his misgivings at last June’s U.S. Open that resulted in him swatting his ball as it was about to roll off a green has caused him to “just try to act a little better.” He took his two-stroke penalty and tried to justify it as a way to avoid a worse score on that Shinnecock Hills hole. He has been in somewhat of a damage control mode ever since. Mickelson, the 2013 Open champ when it was in Scotland, is among a few given very long 40-1 odds of winning this thing, with Dustin Johnson (12-1), 2014 winner Rory McIlroy (14-1) and defending champ Jordan Spieth (18-1) as favorites, plus three-time winner Tiger Woods at 20-1. But according to prediction model called SportsLine that has been successful at nailing the winners of recent golf majors based on simulating the event 10,000 times, 25-1 Sergio Garcia may be the one to watch and finally win his first Open. Garcia should have won the 2007 event when it was last played at Carnoustie but fumbled it away on the 18th green and then lost a four-hole playoff to Padraig Harrington. The long and narrow Carnoustie, aka “Car-nasty,” established in 1842, has hosted this event seven previous times, going back to 1931 (Tommy Armour, a plus-8 finish). It’s also the 50th anniversary of Gary Player’s triumph in 1968.
The TV schedule:
Round 1: Wednesday 10:30 p.m. to Thursday 1 p.m., Golf Channel
Round 2: Thursday 10:30 p.m. to Friday 1 p.m., Golf Channel
Round 3: Saturday 1:30 a.m. to 4 a.m., Golf Channel; Saturday 4 a.m. to noon, Channel 4 (highlights, 2-3 p.m., Channel 4)
Round 4: Sunday 1:30 a.m. to 4 a.m., Golf Channel; Sunday 4 am. to 11:30 a.m., Channel 4 (highlights, 2-3 p.m., Channel 4)
Without this having to determine who gets home field in the upcoming World Series – and we’re perfectly fine not having that on the line any longer – there isn’t any great mystery or even a little shock-and-awe left with the annual presentation of the MLB All-Star Game. Yet we readily march ahead with its 89th edition of the exhibition/celebration at Nationals Park in Washington D.C. (Tuesday, 5 p.m., Channel 11), where Dodgers manager Dave Roberts has the honor (responsibility?) of guiding the National League team that will be designated the visitors because of some strange rotation, and Monday’s Home Run Derby (Monday, 5 p.m., ESPN) may end up as the greatest take-away memory. The only high drama in the nation’s capital might be if Roberts pulls some espionage act and gets Baltimore shortstop Manny Machado play for him in this game, or wait until next week when the regular season resumes and trades start happening. Even if somehow there was an annual appearance by Clayton Kershaw – and why shouldn’t he be there anyway even if he’s having an injury-plagued, sub-par season? — Roberts should have no choice but to have Nationals two-time defending Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer make the start on the mound. Somewhere down the line, Roberts can shuffle in his two pitchers –– Ross Stripling and Kenley Jansen – as well as make sure starting outfielder Matt Kemp is pulled out for defensive purposes before the seventh-inning stretch. The Angels’ lone rep again, Mike Trout, is the ASG MVP from 2014 and ’15 and appearing in his seventh straight game, the most in franchise history, with six straight starts. Did we mention he’s 26? In Monday’s eight-player HR Derby, where the Nationals’ Bryce Harper will have most of the local support, Max Muncy gives the Dodgers representation in five straight event – but no wins. Here’s a thought: Why not let Double-A All-Star Tim Tebow enter the HR contest this year?
More hardball: The Dodgers, who just had a run from June 25 to July 15 where they had 20 games in a row in Southern California, will put their new six-man rotation into effect as they start the unofficial second half of the season on a 11-game, 11-day trip to Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Atlanta. All of them are currently playoff-bound opponents, starting with the Brewers (Friday at 5:10 p.m., Saturday at 4:10 p.m. and Sunday at 11:10 a.m., all on SportsNet LA). The Angels, conversely, get 10 in a row at home to try to generate something, starting with the World Series champion and AL West-leading Astros (Friday at7 p.m., FSW; Saturday at 4:15 p.m., Channel 11; Sunday at 1 p.m., FSW).
Because there isn’t enough summery-baseball things: As long as you can find the right library. Any excuse to make it to the downtown L.A. Public Library Central Branch (630 W. 5th Street) can start with an exhibition opening Thursday (6-to-8 p.m.) called “L.A. Baseball: From the Pacific Coast League to the Major Leagues,” featuring many of the photos from old Los Angeles Herald Examiner and the Valley Times donated archives that deserve to be recognized again. A book accompanying the exhibition, which and runs through January, 2019, is “L.A. Baseball: From the Pacific Coast League to the Major Leagues” with the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela on the cover. A compelling story-and-photo presentation about the 1976 incident at Dodger Stadium where Cubs outfielder Rick Monday saved the American flag from a burning by two fans who ran onto the field serves as the book’s centerpiece, written by exhibit curator David Davis, who reconstructs the story from the perspective of all the principles involved, particularly Her-Ex photographer James Roark. Sunday, the Pasadena Central Library’s Donald R. Wright Auditorium (283 E. Walnut Street) is host again to the 20th annual Baseball Reliquary Shrine of the Eternals induction at 2 p.m. (seating begins at 1:30 p.m.) Former Dodgers pitcher and surgery-named-after-him statesman Tommy John is the headliner honored this time, along with the late Rusty Staub and iconic ballpark organist Nancy Faust. An appearance is also slated for Ted Giannoulas, aka The San Diego Chicken and 2011 inductee, in recognition of the group’s 20th anniversary. The Reliquary also has an exhibit, “Shrine @ 20” through July 30 in in the library’s humanities and business wing of the Central Library along with all 57 inductee plaques from 1999-2017.
If only to avoid the general area around Staples Center and L.A. Live on Wednesday afternoon – there’s a Tim McGraw and Faith Hill concert at the arena, but it’s not until Saturday – be ultra aware that red carpets and black limos will be congesting the area around the Microsoft Theater for the latest edition of the ESPY Awards (2 p.m. arrivals on ESPN2; 5 p.m. start, airing delayed at 8 p.m. on Channel 7). Retired racer and sure-to-be-racy-attired Danica Patrick has agreed to be the host of the annual event and deliver a monologue that will surely point out that the city now belongs to LeBron James and we’re all just visiting. Perhaps this is where James, who didn’t make the final four cut in “Best Male Athlete,” finally makes an appearance? Already planned to be poignant moments are handing the Jimmy V Perseverance Award to former Buffalo Bills quarterback Jim Kelly, who has battled several rounds of cancer; the Arthur Ashe Courage Award bestowed upon the athletes who spoke out against Dr. Larry Nasser during his conviction of sexually assaulting members of the U.S. gymnastics national team, and the Best Coach Award delivered posthumously to three high school coaches who died shielding students during a gun attack at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High in Parkland, Fla., last Valentine’s Day.
One more for the road: Del Mar’s summer thoroughbred racing season begins Wednesday. Through Labor Day weekend on Monday Sept. 3. Gates open at 11:30 a.m., with first post at 2 p.m. The annual Pacific Classic is Aug. 18.