You Gotta Believe

By Randall MellJune 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 U.S. OpenFARMINGDALE, N.Y. ' Phil Mickelson believes.
 
You could see it in his eyes Sunday as he marched across Bethpage Black with his raucous legion of New York fans in tow.
 
You could see the notion that he can win this U.S. Open taking hold after his 35-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole made the earth quake when it hit the bottom of the cup at the end of the third round.
 
Phil Mickelson
Phil Mickelson is seeking his first U.S. Open victory. (Getty Images)
With his electrifying finish at the 54th hole, and his promising start to the final round, Mickelson begins Monday radiating with confidence that he can script one of the greatest stories in U.S. Open history.
 
Mickelson may not be in full command of his game, but hes got something better going for him.
 
He believes he can win.
 
Just as importantly, so do all those New Yorkers trying to will him to victory.
 
That makes him dangerous.
 
Steve Stricker played with Mickelson in the third round and could feel power being transferred.
 
Its unbelievable, Stricker said. Ive never experienced anything like that. I think it even shocks him. Its just amazing how loud they are when he makes a birdie.
 
With that closing birdie in the third round, Mickelson pulled into a tie for fifth, six shots behind the 54-hole leader, Ricky Barnes.
 
With a simple pair of pars before the final round was suspended due to darkness, Mickelson climbed even closer, into a tie for third place and within five shots, thanks to Barnes bogey to start the final round.
 
Not bad considering Mickelson was 11 shots back after making the turn to the back nine in the third round.
 
Mickelsons third round was about as adventurous as a 1-under-par 69 gets in a U.S. Open.
 
With seven birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey, Mickelson bounced up and down the leaderboard.
 
Birdies at four of the final six holes turned his day around.
 
Ive been there and know what can happen in the final round when you start trying to protect the lead, said Mickelson, a three-time major championship winner. Anything can happen in the U.S. Open.
 
You could see Mickelsons confidence swelling as much as you could hear it in Sundays fading light. He starts Monday 16 holes from glory with only Glover and Barnes in front of him, neither of whom has ever won a major.
 
If there were 30 people ahead of me, I would have to shoot 8, 9 or 10 under par to have a chance, Mickelson said. There are two [players]. If I get a hot round going, I can get a little bit of momentum. Absolutely, I feel like I can make up the difference.
 
If Mickelson brings home the U.S. Open trophy to his ailing wife, Amy, their story will rank among the most dramatic in U.S. Open history. It will rank somewhere with Francis Ouimets winning as a 20-year-old amateur in 1913, with Ben Hogans comeback in 1950 after a nearly fatal car accident and Tiger Woods victory last year on a broken leg and blown-out knee.
 
Mickelson said that before he left his home in Rancho Mirage, Calif., Amy told him to bring back the trophy. Thats on the minds of these New Yorkers. You can hear it in how many folks shout out that theyre praying for Amy as she deals with breast cancer and the treatments that await. You can see it in the pink ribbons on display here.
 
The crowds kept Mickelson going.
 
Its just incredible, Mickelson said.
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage -2009 U.S. Open
  • Leaderboard - 2009 U.S. Open
  • Getty Images

    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."

    Getty Images

    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

    Getty Images

    Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

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