Phil Mickelson finished tied for second at this year's U.S. Open at Merion -- his record sixth runner-up finish at the major he covets most -- and he told the Golf Channel's Jason Sobel that this near-miss was more difficult to take than his collapse at the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, when he made a double on the 18th hole after hitting his drive off a hospitality tent.
Mickelson said that two shots -- his pitching wedge off the tee at
“I was playing so well and the golf course is suited for me and everything just set up perfectly,” he says. “Winged Foot, there’s no way I was going to hit that last fairway. I hadn’t hit a fairway all day. That would have been pretty cool to win that one having driven it as badly as I did. It would have been unheard of. But Merion I was playing really well. Still am.”
the short par-3 13th and his approach on the par-4 15th -- derailed his
chances to win.
Still, Mickelson said his play at Merion gives him confidence despite the disappointment.
“I misclubbed on 13,” he admits. “I never should have hit a pitching wedge; I should have hit a gap and take the back out of play. Because if I overcook to the pin, it goes long, so that was a misclub. … We had a lot of wind. We had wind swinging in and left to right. It picked up when we got there. I thought, ‘Gosh, if I hit a gap wedge into this wind, I wonder if it will carry.’ It just kind of came up at a bad time. That’s when the rain came. I started putting on 12 and the wind and the rain picked up. We got to the 13th tee box and I ended up taking one more club.
“And then I quit on 15. I had a perfect gap wedge. If I hit it hard and fly it, get it past the hole, it should come back down that hill. I quit on it and put it in such a bad spot.”
“I had a good chance to win and I’m certainly bummed that I didn’t, but IPhoto: Phil Mickelson in the final round of the 2013 U.S. Open (Getty Images).
can’t wait to get back out and play. It’s exciting for me, because I’m
just starting to play at the level I always knew I could.”