Tour and News

Phil Mickelson has no explanation for struggles after missing cut at British Open

Photo: Thomas Lovelock / SI

Among Mickelson's Friday follies was this right-handed attempt from a bunker.

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England -- Four double-bogeys, seven bogeys, just four birdies and the rest pars. It all added up to 73-78 for Phil Mickelson, who will miss the cut by more than a half dozen shots at the 141st British Open.

Try as he might, Mickelson, 42, could not explain his poor play as he stood in the locker room and sorted through his mail after the cool, overcast and sometimes rainy second round at Royal Lytham & St. Annes on Friday.

“I feel fine, it’s just my play sucks,” Mickelson said after being outclassed by his playing partners Luke Donald (68, two under for the tournament) and Geoff Ogilvy (68, even). “I don’t know. It’s just really sloppy, everything feels off. I don’t know what to say. I’ve got some time now to figure it out.”

Mickelson won’t play again until the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational, starting Aug. 2, followed by the PGA Championship the week after. Co-runner-up  at Royal St. George’s a year ago, Mickelson was never even remotely in contention at Royal Lytham & St. Annes, flailing in the rough and playing sideways out of the bunkers. He received a consoling hug from his wife Amy after Friday’s round.

“I don't know, he hit a lot of good shots,” Ogilvy said. “I mean, I just imagined today he was just going to come out and play well. He hit a good shot on the first. He was doing all right, and then where did it come all unraveled? Six?”

Mickelson double-bogeyed the sixth, but if you had to pick a place where it all went wrong, you’d have to pinpoint the back-to-back doubles on 13 and 14.

Or perhaps you have to go back further than that, all the way back to April, when he was in the mix to win his fourth green jacket at the Masters until he made a complete mess of the par-3 fourth hole at Augusta National. (Mickelson triple-bogeyed the hole and eventually tied for third.) With the exception of a T7 at the Byron Nelson, very little has gone right since then. He uncharacteristically withdrew after an opening-round 79 at the Memorial, and he hit his opening tee shot into a tree at the U.S. Open at Olympic Club, where he at least managed to make the cut before finishing T65. He admits he’s having trouble concentrating.

Although Mickelson said his coach, Butch Harmon, picked up a swing flaw while watching the Hall of Famer’s opening-round 73 at Lytham, and vowed to work on a fix on the range Thursday night, Mickelson looked even worse Friday. This is not the season Mickelson had in mind after he shot a final-round 64 to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in mid-February, and almost won in L.A. the next week. It’s been a lost summer; only the PGA Championship at Kiawah awaits.

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