KIAWAH ISLAND, S.C. (AP) — Don't worry, San Diego, Phil Mickelson promises to leave the Padres' baseball decisions to the baseball people.
Mickelson is part of an ownership group that includes former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley that recently agreed to purchase the San Diego Padres. The deal must be approved by Major League Baseball.
Mickelson spoke Thursday after the opening round of the PGA Championship at The Ocean Course.
If things go through, Mickelson says he won't meddle in lineups, pitching changes, trades or managerial moves, like owners — the late George Steinbrenner ring a bell? — have done with teams in the past. Mickelson, who grew up a Padres fans in San Diego, said he'll concentrate on community relations, something he saw lacking for several years.
"There's been a bit of a disconnect the last few years and understandably so, where the community of San Diego has really been faithful and loyal to the team and put a lot of money in to give us one of the best ballparks in the baseball," he said. "The last few years I think the fan base has lost a little faith in the team and we'll see if we can turn that around."
And how about that first time Mickelson's sitting in the owner's box as an actual owner? It will be "awkward, but exciting nonetheless."
Mickelson shot a 1-over 73 and said he was close to bigger things. He's trying to turn around a majors season that started with a tie for third at the Masters, then fell apart as he tied for 65th at the U.S. Open and missed the cut last month at the British Open.
Mickelson is tied for 66th, seven shots behind first-round leader Carl Pettersson. Mickelson said he'll try and challenge the course more on Friday. "I'll see if I can get it down there and play a little bit more aggressive," he said. "If I hit some good tee shots, I feel like there's some low scores out there."
OH, RICKIE: Rickie Fowler called a penalty on himself when he saw his ball move during a short tap-in on the 18th hole.
The one-stroke penalty gave him a 2-over 74 and left him in a tie for 88th instead of tie for 66th. He was eight shots off the lead.
Fowler said he saw the ball wiggle in the middle of his putt and could not say with 100 percent certainty that it was caused by the wind.
"I'm looking straight down at the ball, and kind of in the middle of my back stroke, it moved," Fowler said.
Fowler is hoping to add to a season where he won his first PGA Tour event, at the Wells Fargo in May, with his first major title. He was 27th at the Masters, 41st at the U.S. Open and 31st last month at the British Open.
DOING JOOST FINE: Joost Luiten (YOST LAU-ton) had PGA Championship officials scrambling for the record books with four holes to go until nerves did in the 26-year-old European Tour player.
Luiten was at 8-under par through 14 holes in Thursday's first round at The Ocean Course and looked ready to challenge the low round in majors history of 63. But Luiten closed with four straight birdies to finish with a 68 — leaving him two shots behind leader Carl Pettersson.
"I mean, I played really well and then to finish the round with straight bogeys is not a good feeling," Luiten said. "But it has been a good experience and I just have to take that into the next rounds."
Luiten took up golf and ski jumping when he was 9 years old in his native Netherlands. Then a year later, Luiten fractured his elbow nose and bruised a knee in a ski-jumping accident so golf became his sport. He says he wears gloves on both hands — think Tommy "Two Gloves" Gainey — when it's hot to help with grip. And he's enjoying his first PGA Championship. Continued...