Mickelson second again but with perspective

By Associated PressJune 22, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' There was no smile, just a look of resignation as Phil Mickelson trudged wearily up the muddy slope off the 18th green. He was finally finished in a U.S. Open that seemed like it would never end, and the shouts of support coming from the bleachers were never going to mask the realization that another chance had slipped away.
 
Mickelson had somehow found yet another way to lose the one tournament he wants so desperately to win. He would leave without the trophy his ailing wife wanted him to bring home.
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson comes up short once again in his bid for his first U.S. Open championship. (Getty Images)
He knew this role well, having played it five times now, more than any other golfer in U.S. Open history. That didnt make it any easier, but this time it would be different.
 
It had to be, because now there was some perspective. Now he understood that there are heartbreaking losses and, well, just plain heartbreak.
 
Certainly Im disappointed, Mickelson said. But now that its over, Ive got more important things going on.
 
All of New York, it seemed, was rooting him on, because all of them knew what those more important things are.
 
Amy Mickelson will undergo exploratory surgery for breast cancer on July 1, and Mickelson will be gone from golf for a while. The perfect way to leave would have been as the Open champion, and for a time Monday it looked like he would finally break through and do just that.
 
He came from five back to tie for the lead with an eagle on the 13th hole that sent the crowd into a frenzy. It seemed like he was destined to win, destined to turn a long and sometimes miserable U.S. Open into one we might never forget.
 
A few holes behind, Lucas Glover heard the noise and knew what it meant.
 
I guess its like what they used to say at Augusta; you could hear a `Jack roar at Augusta, Glover said. You can hear a `Phil roar. I knew something was going on.
 
Unfortunately for Mickelson, it didnt go on long. His old nemesis ' the missed 3-footer ' cost him a bogey two holes later and his chances pretty much evaporated when he couldnt get up-and-down from just short of the green on the par-3 17th.
 
He would tie David Duval and Ricky Barnes for second, two strokes back. That usually gets a consolation prize of a silver medal, but the USGA had only one to split between the three of them ' and Mickelson wasnt all that interested anyway.
 
He said, `I got four, Im plenty good, Barnes said later.
 
Amy Mickelson didnt want the silver medal, either. She had left her husband hints about bringing back the Open silver trophy so she could have something to decorate her hospital room with.
 
Once again, he came agonizingly close to delivering.
 
Mickelson had made the decision to play only a few weeks earlier after tests showed that Amys cancer had been caught early and was likely very treatable. The golf course was supposed to be his refuge, but she was never going to be far from his thoughts and those of the vocal New York fans.
 
On his way to the course Monday, Mickelson couldnt have helped but notice a bedsheet strung between two poles in the front yard of a home just outside Bethpage State Park.
 
God bless Amy, it read. Good luck Phil.
 
That pretty much summed up the relationship with fans who adopted Mickelson the last time the Open was here seven years ago and showed him even more love this time. They roared every time he hit a good shot, groaned collectively when he missed a putt, and shouted encouraging words as he walked down the fairway.
 
As he approached the 18th green and a birdie putt that would have at least made things interesting, they clapped and sang to him as if they were at a Mets game.
 
Lets go, Phil. Lets go, Phil.
 
One reason they love him here is because he pays them back. On a day when he had every reason to frown, he smiled his way around Bethpage, waving and giving a thumbs-up to anyone who grabbed his attention.
 
When it was all over, he stood and signed autographs until, it seemed, everyone who had a ticket had his signature. Then he signed some more for the New York state troopers who escorted him to his car.
 
Then it was off to the airport and his private jet. The plan was to pick up Amy and the kids for a family vacation before her surgery, then play it by ear after that.
 
Before leaving, though, there were questions to answer. He talked about the week, the fans at Bethpage, and his disappointment at not being able to finish things off.
 
Finally, he was asked to describe his emotions, a task that on this day he just wasnt up to.
 
I dont really know where to go with that, Mickelson said. Just that theres some more important things going on.
 
Related Links:
  • Full U.S. Open Scores
  • Full Coverage - The 109th U.S. Open
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    Suspended Hensby offers details on missed drug test

    By Will GrayDecember 12, 2017, 11:30 pm

    One day after receiving a one-year suspension from the PGA Tour for failing to provide a sample for a drug test, Mark Hensby offered details on the events that led to his missed test in October.

    Hensby, 46, released a statement explaining that the test in question came after the opening round of the Sanderson Farms Championship, where the Aussie opened with a 78. Frustrated about his play, Hensby said he was prepared to give a blood sample but was then informed that the test would be urine, not blood.

    "I had just urinated on the eighth hole, my 17th hole that day, and knew that I was probably unable to complete the urine test for at least a couple more hours," Hensby said. "I told this gentleman that I would complete the test in the morning prior to my early morning tee time. Another gentleman nearby told me that 'they have no authority to require me to stay.' Thus, I left."

    Hensby explained that he subsequently received multiple calls and texts from PGA Tour officials inquiring as to why he left without providing a sample and requesting that he return to the course.

    "I showed poor judgment in not responding," said Hensby, who was subsequently disqualified from the tournament.

    Hensby won the 2004 John Deere Classic, but he has missed six cuts in seven PGA Tour starts over the last two years. He will not be eligible to return to the Tour until Oct. 26, 2018.

    "Again, I made a terrible decision to not stay around that evening to take the urine test," Hensby said. "Obviously in hindsight I should have been more patient, more rational and taken the test. Call me stupid, but don't call me a cheater. I love the game. I love the integrity that it represents, and I would never compromise the values and qualities that the game deserves."

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    Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 4:12 pm

    Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.

    Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.

    “I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”

    The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.

    “I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.  

    Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 1:00 pm

    This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.

    The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.

    Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.

    The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.


    Full list of 2017 Newsmakers of the Year


    A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.

    And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.

    The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.


    Masters victory


    Article: Garcia defeats Rose to win Masters playoff

    Article: Finally at peace: Garcia makes major breakthrough

    Article: Garcia redeems career, creates new narrative


    Video: See the putt that made Sergio a major champ


    Green jacket tour

    Article: Take a look at Sergio's crazy, hectic media tour

    Article: Garcia with fiancée, green jacket at Wimbledon

    Article: Watch: Garcia kicks off El Clasico in green jacket


    Man of the people


    Article: SERGIO! Garcia finally gets patrons on his side

    Article: Fan finally caddies for Sergio after asking 206 times

    Article: Sergio donates money for Texas flood relief


    Article: Connelly, Garcia paired years after photo together


    Ace at 17th at Sawgrass


    Growing family

    Article: Sergio, Angela get married; Kenny G plays reception

    Article: Garcia, wife expecting first child in March 2018


    Departure from TaylorMade


    Article: Masters champ Garcia splits with TaylorMade


    Squashed beef with Paddy

    Article: Harrington: Garcia was a 'sore loser'

    Article: Sergio, Padraig had 'great talk,' are 'fine'


    Victory at Valderrama


    Article: Garcia gets first win since Masters at Valderrama

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    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 12, 2017, 12:30 pm