As a sports fan, it’s hard to watch your team lose. It’s even harder to watch your team come in second place. Coming so close to winning and still losing is hard to swallow knowing that almost doesn’t count. This story has been Groundhog Day for Phil Mickelson and fans at the U.S. Open.
“It’s got the makings to be something special, but I still have to go out and perform and play some of the best golf I’ve ever played,’’ Mickelson said.
Mickelson was the fan favorite in the gallery in Philly and on Sunday, the final day of play for the U.S. Open fans used every opportunity to sing and chat “Happy Birthday” as the 43 year old warmed up and walked down the greens on Father’s Day.
The Lefty played without a driver and chose five wedges instead. Mickelson’s choke started with double-bogeys on holes three and five. Fans were not giving up on the comeback and then came the miracle eagle on the 10th hole to follow with a birdie putt on the 12th that he just couldn’t get in. He pulled the wrong wedge and bogeyed on the 13th, 15th and 18th hole. Something special became another heartbreaker for Mickelson.
Merion Golf Course is known as the course with wicker basket-topped flagsticks and had a different story to tell. Justin Rose was playing on Fathers Day for his father, Ken, who died in 2002 of leukemia. The rain came in but with Mickelson still two holes to play the clouds parted and Rose looked up to the sky. He looked up to his father, the man who taught him how to play golf. With his eyes swelling with tears he wished him a Happy Father’s Day. It was ironic and yet a natural moment where Rose felt his father about to wish him a Happy Father’s Day.
Justin Rose an Englishman became the first Briton to win the U.S. Open in more than 40 years and took home a purse of $1.44 million.
Sunday’s U.S. Open became the sixth time Mickelson has finished as the runner up in the tournament and the eighth time he has finished second at a major. (Jack Nicklaus has 19 runner ups in Major tournaments; seven at the U.S. Open. Arnold Palmer has 10 second place finishes in Major tournaments.)
Don’t feel too bad for Mickelson, he did win close to $700,000 in prize money.