Phil Mickelson impressed by Yu Darvish

IRVING, Texas -- Shortly after completing his first round at even par, four-time major winner Phil Mickelson said he was trying to get to Arlington to see his second Texas Rangers game in less than 24 hours.

Mickelson, a big sports fan, attended Wednesday's Rangers game with Japanese star Yu Darvish on the mound. And the golfer enjoyed watching Darvish pitch well, allowing one run on four hits in 7 2/3 innings in a 4-1 Rangers' win over the A's.

"I had a really good view of it and it was pretty impressive," Mickelson said. "The differences in speeds from 95 to 68 to 75 to 88. It was all over the map. He had such great control. You could tell he's a special talent."

Mickelson interacted with fans before he left the ninth-hole scoring area and told some of them that he was pulling for the Dallas Mavericks and was disappointed they had an early exit in the playoffs.

Rick George, who used to work for the PGA Tour and is now the COO of the Rangers, organized Mickelson's Rangers visit. The golfer and his caddie, Jim "Bones" Mackay, sat with Rangers co-chairman of the board Ray Davis and talked sports for nearly eight innings Wednesday.

"Darvish was awesome," Mackay said. "When Mr. Davis told us how fast Darvish can throw it left-handed (in the mid 80s), we were like, 'Wow, that is obviously some kind of athlete.' The crowd for a Wednesday night game against the A's. No disrepect to anybody, but it was 40,000-plus.

"I didn't realize how young Darvish was. We all read about him in the offseason, but at age 25 he'd already proved himself enough that they'd want to throw those kinds of dollars around. There was a lot of scouting around and the guy is the real deal. The other thing that impressed me about the Rangers is that these guys really, genuinely like each other. I bet it's a great clubhouse."