AUSTIN, Texas – After his ball settled near a rock wall, Daniel Berger made a few practice swings with his gap wedge and thought that he had a shot to hit his second shot on the green.
He was wrong.
All square in his match against Phil Mickelson coming down the 18th hole, Berger hit the rock wall on his downswing, whiffed the shot and was left shaking and flexing his left wrist. He conceded the match, 1 up, and hoped that the pain would subside so that he could play Friday in the third round of pool play at the WGC-Dell Match Play.
“I didn’t think it was in my way,” he said afterward, “but I guess it was on the downswing. Hopefully it’ll be all right. It definitely doesn’t feel good right now.”
Berger said that he would receive treatment after the round and then determine his status for Friday’s match against Matthew Fitzpatrick. The match won’t mean much – both players are 0-2, with no chance of advancing, and only a few FedEx Cup points and a bit more cash are at stake.
“I wouldn’t play if my wrist doesn’t feel good with the Masters coming up,” he said. “It just doesn’t feel that great right now, but in my entire life I’ve never had an injury. Hopefully I’ll be all right.”
Berger does have some motivation for playing Friday, however.
“Maybe show Captain (Davis) Love that I’m good enough to be on that (Ryder Cup) team,” he said. “I know I am; I’ve just got to go out and perform a little better.”
Berger never led during a sloppy match with Mickelson, who improved to 2-0 this week. Lefty had only a short second shot remaining into the par-4 finishing hole when Berger conceded the hole and the match.
“I was watching, because I thought there was a good chance he didn’t make contact,” Mickelson said. “That’s happened to me before – not the injury, but swinging over the top of it or misjudging where the obstacle is. Hopefully his wrist is OK.”