Mickelson has always loved the U.S. Open. He’s won the Masters, he’s won the PGA Championship, but he covets the U.S. Open. Mickelson did not play well Sunday during the final round of the U.S. Open at Merion, which left the door open for Rose to slide in and capture his first major championship.
“This is definitely a tough defeat for Phil,” Rose said Sunday at Merion. “Five times or something, I guess now six times second in the U.S. Open. He's such a great guy to play golf with and to have for the Tour. I love the way he plays the game. He plays fearless golf. He keeps everybody guessing. He's entertaining. And I feel fortunate to have been able to beat a world class player that he is on a day like today.”
The first time recently that these two went head-to-head was last fall at the Ryder Cup. They were pitted against each other in Sunday’s fourth singles match, which was a crucial position for momentum on either side.
Mickelson held the 1-up advantage on the par-3 17th hole, but Rose drained a 50-footer for birdie to square the match. He ultimately birdied the 18th hole too and won the match, instantly boosting Europe’s hopes of retaining the Ryder Cup.
“Obviously I learned a lot about Phil at the Ryder Cup when we went down the stretch there together,” Rose said. “And on that occasion I was fortunate enough to make three of the best putts of my life to pip him. And he couldn't have been more gracious.
“I feel for him. … Definitely respect him absolutely.”