Phil Mickelson just can’t win. He’s had more runner-up finishes at major golf tournaments than any golfer, but he’s never won a major. He’s been embroiled in an infidelity scandal, been accused of cheating at a local golf tournament, and even been banned from the PGA Tour for accidentally cheating. Yet, after all of this, Mickelson’s still in the game.
Whether you’re a golf fan or not, you have to be a fan of Phil Mickelson at this point. On Saturday in the U.S. Open, Mickelson’s stellar career got a bittersweet end when he was runner-up in a year that was largely defined by the absence of Tiger Woods. Before the tournament began, the Phil-o-meter was in the red, as he struggled to putt his way to a decent showing. After a strong first round Saturday, it appeared that the champ was on his way to a solid showing. Unfortunately, the second day was just as rocky as the first, and he never seemed to find his footing. By the end of the day, the PhilWith 45 PGA Tour victories and six wins at major championships, Phil Mickelson is already in the Hall of Fame and is arguably one of the greatest golfers of all time. He recently became the oldest winner of a major championship by winning the PGA Championship at the age of 50 and has won three Grand Slams in his career: three Masters, two PGA and one Open Championship. But then there’s the U.S. Open, the only major Mickelson hasn’t won in three decades, which is kind of sad for Lefty, because he’s long said that’s the tournament he always wanted to win, more than any other. That’s not to say Mickelson didn’t come close to winning the U.S. Open, as he finished second six times. Phil didn’t qualify for any, but he was in the mix for the other five, but for some reason couldn’t make it. So today we decided to rank Mickelson’s six U.S. Open victories, starting with the least painful and ending with the most heartbreaking.
6. 2002-Phil Mickelson finishes second to Tiger Woods at Bethpage Black
Phil Mickelson takes a shot during the final round of the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black | Donald Miralle/Getty Images After shooting 70-73-67 on the first three days of the 2002 U.S. Open at Bethpage Black, Mickelson entered the final round five strokes behind Tiger Woods, who after 54 holes was one of two players under par, the second being Sergio Garcia. Woods opened the door a bit with a pair of three-point shots, but none of them were successful. Phil struggled a bit on the front nine, and although he finished two strokes better than Tiger, Woods still won by three strokes difference, winning his second of three U.S. Open titles.
5. 2009-Links are missing again on Bethpage
. In 2009, the U.S. Open went to Bethpage Black, and Mickelson was back in the running. But of course golf was not his biggest concern this week, as his wife of many years, Amy, was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and will begin treatment soon. Phil actually misses the Open next month. The weather played a big part at Bethpage this week, as none of the four rounds were completed in a single day, so the finish fell on Monday. Mickelson was six strokes behind after 54 holes, but an eagle on the par-5 13th in Monday’s final round put him in the lead. However, he missed a short birdie on the 14th. Minute, made a bogey on the 15th. Minute, made another birdie on the 16th. Minute and then made a bogey on the 17th. Mickelson finished second with David Duvall and Ricky Barnes (2-under), two strokes behind winner Lucas Glover.
4. 2004 – Mickelson is one of two players to play under par at Shinnecock Hills, but loses by two points
. The 2004 U.S. Open was played at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, and Mickelson, who had won his first major title at the Masters a few months earlier, led 6-under after a 36-hole round of 68 and 66. But he made a bogey on the last two holes of the third round and finished with a 3-over 73, two strokes behind the 2001 champion, Retief Goosen, entering the final round. On Sunday, the conditions were simply terrible. No player shot below par and the average was 78.7 for the day. But Mickelson fought hard to keep his place in the tournament, winning with birdies on the 15th and 16th. A double on the par-3 17th combined with Goosen’s birdie on the 16th. However, his second place finish put Phil two strokes behind, ending the tournament. Goosen and Mickelson were the only two players in the field to finish under par.
3. 1999 – Impasse de Paynes in Pinehurst
. The 1999 U.S. Open at Pinehurst #2 will be remembered for many golf-related reasons, but unfortunately also for what happened a few months later. Mickelson, who was prepared to withdraw from the tournament at any time as his wife was about to give birth to their first child, shared the lead after each of the first two rounds but was one stroke behind leader Payne Stewart after 18 holes. Tiger was also among the contenders and went into the final round just two strokes behind the leader. This is the first time Woods and Mickelson will play each other in a major. But the day will always be remembered for the duel between Stewart and Mickelson, who shared the lead several times over the course. After a birdie on the 17th. Stewart took a one-stroke lead on the 18th hole, but missed the fairway on the par-4 18th hole and had to hit an out with his second stroke. He hit the green on his third stroke, his ball landing about 15 yards from the hole. Phil went to the green with a normal throw, and the general consensus was that he would make two strokes in par and Stuart two bogeys, leading into Monday’s playoff. But that didn’t happen, Stewart practiced his putt and won his second U.S. Open title. That came in handy for Mickelson, who had been forced to withdraw from the playoff on Monday because his daughter Amanda was born that morning. Stewart died tragically in a plane crash just over four months later.
2. 2013 – Mickelson’s fumble in Merion opens doors for Justin Rose
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfCbovCVOSM[/embed] Phil’s runner-up finish at the 2013 U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club could have easily been at the top of this list, but we’ve put it in second place. Mickelson held at least a share of the lead after each of the first three rounds and led Sunday by one stroke over Hunter Mahan, defending champion Charles Schwartzel and Steve Stricker and by two strokes over Luke Donald, Billy Horschel and Justin Rose. Phil had a terrible start with a double bogey on two of the first five holes. He managed to regain the lead with an eagle on the par-4 10th, but then everything fell apart. While everyone else collapsed, Rose played steady golf to the end (shocking, I know) and saw Mickelson make bogeys on 13, 15 and 18 to finish the week at 3 over, two strokes behind Rose, who for some reason still hasn’t won his second major.
. We think most people would call the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot Phil Mickelson’s most tragic loss, and we think so too. Lefty came to Winged Foot to win his third consecutive major championship, after winning the 2005 PGA Championship and the 2006 Masters, and he certainly put himself in a good position to do so. After trailing the leader by four after 36 holes, Phil shot a 1-under par 69 on Saturday to enter the final 18 holes. The 10 players were within four strokes of each other in the standings when Sunday’s final round began, which proved to be a brutal scoring day. Mikelson didn’t hit the ball at all and only hit two fairways throughout the round. So it was like a miracle then, on the 18th. Hole came out with a one point lead. And we all know how that turned out. On the par-4 last hole, Phil hit a tee shot far left of the fairway, so far left that it hit one of the hospitality tents. However, he did get a nice rebound when the ball was moved to the right. Sure, he was still in bad shape, but he had a good lie to tell. With a tree in the way to the green, it looked like he would pitch to the fairway, hit a wedge to the green (which he can do) and try to make par that way. But we are talking about Phil Mickelson here. As usual, Lefty took the hero’s shot, hit the wood and shot even harder than before. He landed in a bunker on the green, hit a double and lost by one ball to Jeff Ogilvy. statistics courtesy of PGATour.com COMPARED TO: Phil Mickelson was in the top 100 of the world ranking list for more than 27 years, but never reached the top
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