Best Short-Game Shot
This may be Phil’s greatest pitch -- ever. Scottish Open, first playoff hole, Branden Grace lying three on the green and Phil facing a 46-yard, semi-blind, uphill pitch. The ground was like concrete, but somehow Phil was able to catch it clean and spin it back to within six inches of the pin. Grace’s caddy, Billy Foster, said even Seve Ballesteros wouldn’t have been able to hit that shot. He should know -- he caddied for Seve for many years.
Best Short-Game Shot, Part II
Can there be a tie? His chip onto to the green on the par-3 16th during the final round of the British Open was just as spectacular as his flop at the Scottish. Phil got a horrible break on his shot -- the ball landed solidly but fed back off the green. It was really hard to watch, but in classic Phil fashion he said, “I’m going to get this up and down.” The pin was on a ridge, and the lie was brutally tight. It was like chipping a ball off your driveway onto the roof of your garage. It was into the wind, so I think he used a 60-degree wedge. (I should remember, but it’s been a long year.) He got it to six feet.
The ensuing par putt. That green was very exposed, and Phil had four-putted it on Friday. It was a six-foot putt with right-to-left break against a right-to-left wind. It was as hard a six-footer as a left-hander could face. And then you’ve got the pressure of the British Open being on the line. There was never a doubt.
Biggest Risk That Paid Off
The tee shot on No. 17 during the final round of the British Open. It’s a big dogleg left, and for a left-hander like Phil to get there in two he had to skirt the bunkers on the left -- the same bunkers that Paul Azinger found when he lost to Nick Faldo in 1987. He pulled 3-wood and crushed it perfectly.
Best Full-Swing Shot
It’s a tie between the two 3-woods he hit on No. 17 during the closing round of the British. He’ll never, ever hit a 3-wood off the tee farther than that, and he’ll never, ever hit a 3-wood off the ground purer than that. No. 17 is very much a right-hander’s hole, and even the right-handed guys weren’t getting there, and they hit driver off the tee. Just two massive 3-woods that I’ll never forget.
More Phil: Phil Mickelson is Golf Magazine's Player of the Year | The 100 Greatest Phil Mickelson Photos | What Makes Phil Tick? | Gary Player on POY: It's Phil, Barely | Phil's 5 All-New Scoring Secrets | Phil Phanatics: The People Behind the People's Champion | Phil's Phrankenwood: It's Alive!