Phil Mickelson's close calls at the U.S. Open
By Doug Ferguson, Associated Press
PINEHURST, N.C. - A capsule look at the six runner-up finishes by Phil Mickelson in the U.S. Open:
COURSE: Pinehurst No. 2.
RESULT: Runner-up, one shot behind Payne Stewart.
KEY MOMENT: Mickelson had a one-shot lead with three to play. Stewart made a 25-foot par putt on the 16th, a 4-foot birdie putt on the 17th and a 15-foot par putt on the 18th. Mickelson missed a 6-foot par putt on the 16th, an 8-foot birdie putt on the 17th and a 25-foot birdie putt on the 18th.
PAIRING: Payne Stewart.
NOTEWORTHY: Mickelson played the entire tournament with a pager in his golf bag and said he would withdraw if his wife went into labor with their first child. Amy Mickelson gave birth to a daughter the next day.
QUOTEWORTHY: "I think it will be interesting to see if I'm able to break through when I get in this situation again." -- Mickelson.
COURSE: Bethpage Black.
RESULT: Runner-up, three shots behind Tiger Woods.
KEY MOMENT: Mickelson, five shots behind at the start of the final round, birdied the par-5 13th to get within two shots. Woods answered with a 2-iron onto the 13th green for a two-putt birdie. Moments later, Mickelson's tee shot on the 16th found the rough and he couldn't reach the green, making bogey.
PAIRING: Jeff Maggert.
NOTEWORTHY: Woods and Mickelson were the only players at par or better.
QUOTEWORTHY: "At that time, I don't think Phil had won a major. So the feeling from the crowd was like, `Maybe this is the year.' But it wasn't that big of a deal like it is now." -- Maggert.
COURSE: Shinnecock Hills.
RESULT: Runner-up, two shots behind Retief Goosen.
KEY MOMENT: Tied for the lead on the par-3 17th, Mickelson hit into a bunker. He blasted out to 5 feet above the hole and three-putted for double bogey.
PAIRING: Fred Funk.
NOTEWORTHY: Goosen one-putted the last six greens.
QUOTEWORTHY: "It was like being in a morgue walking up the 18th." -- Funk.
COURSE: Winged Foot.
RESULT: Tied for second, one shot behind Geoff Ogilvy.
KEY MOMENT: With a one-shot lead playing the 18th hole, Mickelson hit a wild slice toward the corporate tent and tried to hit 3-iron around a tree toward the green. It hit the tree and came straight down in the rough. His third shot plugged into a bunker, and his sand shot went through the green. He made double bogey.
PAIRING: Kenneth Ferrie.
NOTEWORTHY: Mickelson was trying to join Tiger Woods as the only players in the last 50 years to win three straight majors.
QUOTEWORTHY: "At that time he had won the last two majors and I got the feeling that the crowd were desperate for Phil not only to win the U.S. Open but to get the third leg of the Grand Slam. After we finished on 18, you could definitely feel the disappointment from the crowd, compared with the excitement during the round." -- Ferrie.
COURSE: Bethpage Black
RESULT: Tied for second, two shots behind Lucas Glover.
KEY MOMENT: After a sensational charge to tie for the lead, Mickelson hit hybrid out of the rough to the collar of the green on the 15th. He left his putt 3 feet short and missed that one for par. On the 17th, he came up short and chipped to 8 feet, missing the par putt.
PAIRING: Hunter Mahan.
NOTEWORTHY: Mickelson learned only a month earlier that his wife, Amy, had breast cancer.
QUOTEWORTHY: "You get behind in a U.S. Open and it's hard to catch up, especially on the last few holes because it's so tough." -- Mahan.
COURSE: Merion Golf Club
RESULT: Tied for second, two shots behind Justin Rose.
KEY MOMENT: Mickelson was one shot behind when he hit wedge over the green on the par-3 13th hole and made bogey. Still one shot behind in the 15th fairway, his wedge was so short that he used a wedge to chip from the putting green and made another bogey.
PAIRING: Hunter Mahan.
NOTEWORTHY: It was the first time Mickelson had the outright lead (one shot) going into the final round of a U.S. Open.
QUOTEWORTHY: "He tried to chip in on the last hole, and I looked at him and said, `Good try, Phil.' You can only do what you can do. At some point, he's got to get a bounce or two and make a putt. I think he wants to win that tournament more than anything." -- Mahan.