Mickelson’s US Open heartbreak
There were a few ‘Cinderella stories’ on offer as the final round of the U.S Open dawned on Sunday in Philadelphia.
Steve Stricker was aiming to become the oldest U.S. Open champion, Jason Day, Luke Donald, Hunter Mahan and eventual winner Justin Rose all aiming for their first major championship.
Phil Mickelson stands in the rain during the final round at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club (Credit: USGA/Darren Carroll)
The biggest story of them all would have been 43-year old Phil Mickelson winning his first U.S Open in 23 attempts, on his birthday and on Father’s Day to boot.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that the late Payne Stewart pipped him on the final hole for the first of a record five runner-up finishes in the 1999 Open at Pinehurst.
He has suffered a battery of clutch losses ever since, including a final hole meltdown at Winged Foot in 2006 to allow Geoff Ogilvy under his guard.
Sadly, the dream result Mickelson craves was not to be as his swashbuckling final round bid for the title ended when he failed to birdie the 18th hole.
A sixth runner-up finish, tied with Australian Jason Day, did little to ease the devastation. This one was a bitter pill to swallow.
“For me it’s very heartbreaking. This could have been the big a really big turnaround for me on how I look at the U.S. Open and the tournament that I’d like to win, after having so many good opportunities,” he said.
“But this one’s probably the toughest for me, at 43 and coming so close five times.”
Mickelson had pencilled in two double bogeys to lose the outright lead on the front nine but regained his momentum with a sensational eagle two on the 10th, holing out from the rough from 80 yards.
As weather conditions worsened over the difficult closing five holes, Mickelson hung on grimly to give himself a chance before falling to Rose at the final hurdle.
“If I had won today or if I ultimately win, I’ll look back at the other Opens and think that it was a positive play.”
“If I never get The Open, then I look back and I think that every time I think of the US Open, I just think of heartbreak.”