It has taken me a full day to decompress and figure out what the hell happened to Phil Mickelson at the US Open. Admittedly, I am not the biggest Phil fan. But I genuinely felt bad for the guy. As I mentioned last week, the US Open is Phil’s white whale. He has been so close, so many times. Sunday marked his SIXTH runner up finish at our national championship.
I thought the best thing to do is just get real and talk to Phil directly.
Oh Phil...not again. You were so close. Again. You did everything right this week. You made a bid for father of the year. You barely slept and then shot 67 to start the US Open. You were in position up until the very end. Then all of a sudden, you acted like, well, you.
For the 6th time in your career, you finished in the runner-up spot at the US Open.
Now, I know you’ve had US Opens stolen from you. I remember Payne Stewart in ’99. But you’ve also played yourself out of US Opens. What were you thinking at Winged Foot in 2006?
So which one was this? Maybe it’s a combination of the two. Either way, I know it stings just as much.
You have to admit that you outthought yourself at Merion. Did you need five wedges and no driver? Probably not. Did you need to go at the pin at 13? No. But you did. And that’s what makes you Phil. You like to take chances. And when you flew your tee shot over the 13th green, I knew I had seen this story before.
You’ve done things like this before and you’ll do them again. I know it, you know it.
But I think you did win over some new fans this week, myself included. Keep grinding dude. Learn from this. Please. Six runner-up finishes at the Open may seem bad, but seven is worse. Also, next year, try not to look at that Payne Stewart statue at Pinehurst. Stay focused and try not to think too much. Let Bones handle the thinking. You just go out and play golf.
Good luck the rest of the year. Spend some time in North Carolina in the offseason and get ready for next year’s US Open. I know you’ll be ready because, let’s be honest, you’re not getting any younger.
I know that sounds harsh, but get it done next year. No way around it. Next year it’s US Open or bust. See you then.