|A promising U.S. Open again turned tragic for Phil Mickelson. (© USGA/Jonathan Kolbe)|
By Matthew Wurzburger
PHIL MICKELSON ENTERED THE FINAL ROUND of the 2013 U.S. Open, and quickly faltered. Lefty bookended a birdie on the 4th hole with double bogeys on holes 3 and 5, and saw his lead evaporate. Then came the par-4 10th hole where Mickelson miraculously holed his approach shot for eagle and a share of the lead.
At that moment, as Phil retrieved his ball from the cup, you had to wonder if this would finally be his year. It wasn’t.
Mickelson lost all momentum by bogeying the 13th and 15th holes, yet found himself only one shot behind leader Justin Rose. It would come down to the 511-yard, par-4 18th hole for Phil; a birdie would force a playoff and 18 more holes on Monday. It was not meant to be as Phil’s second shot from the rough fell short of the green and his potential tournament-saving chip rocketed past the cup.
Feel free to stop me when this sounds familiar.
The stars appeared to align for Phil this time. The final round would occur on his 43rd birthday and, of course, on Father’s Day. His opening-round 67 following a redeye flight from his home in California seemed to suggest that this might be his time. But fast-forward to Sunday evening and you realize the stars were instead seemingly aligned to produce more U.S. Open heartbreak for Phil.
NBC’s Johnny Miller stated that Mickelson had “a million missed chances” during Sunday’s round at Merion. If Miller was correct, it is likely Phil missed as many chances during his other five runner-up finishes. Six million chances missed by Mickelson: putts that lipped out, drives that barely missed the fairway, approach shots left short, and chip shots hit with too much pace.
They all add up to tragic missteps such as a triple bogey on the 17th hole at Shinnecock Hills in 2004, a double bogey on the 18th at Winged Foot in 2006, and yesterday’s early double bogeys and costly late bogeys, leaving a people’s champion standing on the outside looking in for a record six times at the U.S. Open.
Sometimes it is not meant to be.
Matthew Wurzburger is a University of Virginia student who covers sports for The Cavalier Daily.