“Just a pure mental block,” he said.
A drive way left.
A tee ball that bounced across Shunpike Road and dove into a bush.
And an opening triple bogey, after a reload off the very first tee.
“In the history of the PGA Championship,” he said, “that’s the worst start of any player’s round. I’d have to look that up.”
No, don’t worry, Phil: Nicolas Colsaerts actually made an 8 on that hole just three groups later.
“Right here today?” he said with a smile. “It was probably after I did it. So I had it for a while. I had the worst start.”
Oh, there were plenty of other miserable numbers, too. In all, 14 players recorded a double bogey or worse at the 482-yard opener, which ranked as the hardest hole on the course Friday.
In Mickelson’s case, at least, the terrible start didn’t derail his entire day. In fact, he made four more birdies the rest of the way, including a two-putt from 35 feet on the last hole, to make the cut at 1-over 141.
Though he was pleased to play the weekend, Mickelson knows he has to go Troon-low over the final two days here to repeat at Baltusrol.
“I’m having a difficult time right now managing my expectations,” he said, “because I know how well I’m playing and I’m so result-oriented that I’m not playing very relaxed, free golf like I did at the British, like I did in the preparation here. … I’m trying to force the issue because I know you’ve got to get hot out here.”
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