PGA Tour Confidential: Justin Rose wins U.S. Open, more heartbreak for Phil

Phil Mickelson
Robert Beck / Sports Illustrated
Mickelson's best chance for a birdie on the closing holes came on the 16th, when this putt burned the edge.

3. What was Mickelson's worst miscue coming down the stretch -- the wedge at 13, the approach wedge at 15, the "green" wedge at 15 or the missed putt at 16? Or was it all of those missed drives?

Ritter: I cringed when he pulled wedge instead of putter on 15. It's so "Phil" to try something heroic, but it just didn't seem like the right shot at the right time.

Passov: The rain started to come down pretty hard on the 13th tee -- and to compound the problem, Phil has had trouble with that hole all week. I'm going with his miss at 15, where he admits he didn't finish the swing. An easy 121-yarder uphill -- 20 feet at worse -- and he juices it back into a near-impossible spot.

Wei: It was probably those wedges on No. 13 and 15. First of all, he missed the green with a wedge in his hand and then, to make it worse, he made bogey with a wedge in his hand! I even get mad at myself if I do that. He hit it to places where he didn't give himself a good look at birdie, and to make it worse, he didn't even hit good chips to get up-and-down. On 15 he really had no play, but that might be the toughest green at Merion, especially with the pin placement on the back right. But Phil couldn't get a wedge to a place where he could putt? C'mon.

Gorant: The pulled drive on 18. He was in it until then.

Godich: It was the wedge shot at 13. On the hole where a lot of players were making birdie (or at least getting a good putt at it), he made bogey. And with a wedge in his hand. Rose made birdie there. That's your two-shot swing.

Reiterman: Those two wedge shots, and all those great looks at birdie that burned the edges will haunt Phil for a long time.

4. Is this Mickelson's most heartbreaking loss?

Van Sickle: No, this isn't Phil's worst Open loss. Winged Foot, he gave away with a terrible decision to try to hit it through the trees instead of pitching back to the fairway. He three-putted to boot the Bethpage Black Open that Lucas Glover won and he missed a short birdie putt at 17 when Payne Stewart made his at Pinehurst. He missed too many fairways for a guy hitting hybrids and irons off tees and that cost him. Also, some of his short-game shots, supposedly his specialty, didn't turn out that great. Maybe that was Merion's thick grass, maybe it wasn't.

Ritter: No, that's still Winged Foot in' 06. But this one hurts because you have to wonder if, at 43, this was his last real shot to win one of these.

Wei: I'd have to say yes, though I think Winged Foot comes close. Here it was all set up for him to win -- he was playing well heading into the week, he was up for Father of the Year, he had the 54-hole lead, he had the crowd rooting for him (almost like home-court advantage), and he just didn't get it done. In 2006 he had plenty of more chances to come in his career, but now that he's 43, you have to wonder how many times he'll put himself in this position again to get that elusive U.S. Open win. Maybe one or two, but the clock is ticking.

Godich: I think so. He played so well (and so smart). I never would have guessed that the putter would let him down. What has to make it especially tough to swallow was that he rolled a slew of good putts over the last three days that just didn't drop.

Passov: Winged Foot was more heartbreaking. As awful as he played that day in New York, the tournament just felt like it was his, and the way he blew it was almost as comical as it was tragic. He's been through so much personally since then, I think this one is easier to take, when you put all of the events in his life in perspective.

Reiterman: Without a doubt. He should have won this U.S. Open going away.

Gorant: No, it'll be tough to top Winged Foot. He had the trophy all but packed in the G5 there.

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