This wasn't the way it was supposed to end, not on Phil Mickelson's birthday and not at Merion Golf Club, where history will record with little fanfare outside of England that Justin Rose won his first major championship.
When the rain began falling on the back nine Sunday after Mickelson pitched in for an eagle on the 10th hole to take the lead in the U.S. Open, you half expected a rainbow to appear amid the clouds with a trophy at the end of it and bearing Mickelson's name.
He probably expected it, too, if only because the law of averages would seem to demand it. Five times before he had been runner-up in this tournament and no bookie in Vegas would offer odds of any player finishing second in the national championship six times.
But golf is a cruel game and the Open seems even crueler to Mickelson, though some of the fault lies within. He desperately chased the best birthday present of all, only to kick it away once again in a way only Mickelson seems to lose golf tournaments....