AUGUSTA, Ga. – At the 2010 Masters, Phil Mickelson famously saw a shot few, if any, would have.
From the pine straw right of the par-5 13th fairway, Lefty had 187 yards to carry the creek for his second shot. That he also had to weave that attempt through a pair of pine trees only added to the degree of difficulty.
History shows that Mickelson hit that shot to 3 feet and went on to win his third green jacket, but on Wednesday at Augusta National Jim “Bones” Mackay, Mickelson’s former caddie, who is now an NBC Sports/Golf Channel analyst, shed some light on those intriguing few moments.
“Phil let me know almost right away, ‘I’m going [for the green] here. When the green clears in front of us I’m going,’” Mackay said. “The gap between the trees, TV didn’t do it justice. It was about the width of a box of a dozen balls I would say.”
Mickelson and Mackay settled on a 6-iron, but as they waited Bones discovered that K.J. Choi, who was playing in the group ahead, had just bogeyed the 13th hole to fall two strokes behind Lefty.
This changed things, at least in Mackay’s mind.
“I went back in to Phil and said to him, ‘Hey, let me throw this at you. You’re the boss, but does this change the way you’re going to approach this shot given the fact that you are tied for the lead now?’” Mackay said.
Mickelson’s response was quintessential Lefty.
“He looked at me and said, ‘Let me tell you something. If I am going to win this tournament today, I am going to have to hit a really good shot under a lot of pressure at some point. I am going to do it right now,’” Mackay recalled. “That was my entrée to get out of the way and watch him do his thing. And he hit arguably the greatest shot of his career.”