That time Phil Mickelson shot a 59 that didn't count in the record books
By Dan McDonald
The number 59 has a very special place in golf. Breaking the 60 barrier is incredibly difficult, even during a practice round on a defenseless golf course.
The 59 Club on the PGA Tour is so rare that it's quite possibly the only list in the sport that doesn’t include the names Jack, Arnie, Gary or Tiger.
One of the rounds that stands out as possibly one of the most underrated 59s in history is Phil Mickelson’s final round of the 2004 PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Poipu Bay Golf Course in Hawaii. However, today it remains a footnote in the record books because it wasn’t an official PGA Tour event.
The end-of-season event for the four major champions from that year featured Mickelson (Masters Champion), Retief Goosen (US Open Champion), Todd Hamilton (Open Champion) and Vijay Singh (PGA Champion).
Goosen got out to an early lead after Day 1 of the two-day event, but it was a record-breaking Sunday for Phil that had him taking home the $1 million first-place prize.
A look at the scorecard at Poipu Bay Golf Course
After making par on the opening hole, Phil went on an incredible birdie-birdie-birdie-birdie-eagle-birdie streak over the next six holes. He made the turn with a record 28 and that magical score in his sights.
Fast-forward to the par-5 18th hole and an incredible 6-iron from 213 yards left Lefty with 9-feet for eagle and a 58. He left the putt a little short and had to settle for a tap-in 59.
Yes, settle for a 59.
The score marked the only competitive sub-60 round Phil has carded in his career. His previous best to that point was a 61 at the 2001 Greater Hartford Open. His season low in 2004 was a 63 at the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic.
What really made this round even that much more impressive and puts it into that underrated category is that Phil only hit five fairways during the round and hadn’t touched his clubs for two weeks prior to the event.
"It was certainly unexpected," said Mickelson at the time. "I didn't hit it great today and somehow I shot 59. So go figure. It just all kind of came together."
Phil has had one brush with history to get his name into the official 59 Club since this round. He missed a birdie putt which would have sealed the deal on the 18th hole of the first round at the 2013 Phoenix Open.