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Singh, Mickelson involved in spike flap

| Saturday, April 9, 2005

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Phil Mickelson and Vijay Singh didn't start their second rounds Friday at Augusta National, but they did do a bit of battle after the completion of their first rounds.

Will Nicholson, chairman of the Masters competition committee, said rules officials received a call about Mickelson spiking up the greens, and they checked it out.

"How it got labeled onto Phil, I have no idea," Nicholson said. "There was a spike that apparently tore up some grass, and Phil was the one who was blamed. One of our officials talked to Phil to see if there was a burr on the side of one of his spikes. He very generously, as you know he would, said he would change them when he got in if there was a problem."

The spike marks that caused the complaint came on the 12th green, and two officials checked Mickelson's shoes two different times.

"They were sent by Vijay to check my spikes, because he felt they were unduly damaging the greens," Mickelson said in a statement. "If that was the case, I am very apologetic and will make every effort to tap down what spike marks I may make in the future.

"However, I was extremely distracted and would have appreciated if it would have been handled differently or after the round. After sitting in the locker room for a while, I heard Vijay talking to other players about it, and I confronted him. He expressed his concerns. I expressed my disappointment in the way it was handled. I believe everything is fine now."

Singh left the course without comment, and Mickelson ended his statement by saying, "Given the wet and slippery conditions, more than a third of the field is using steel spikes. And again, I will make every effort to tap down whatever spike marks I may leave."

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