Mickelson muffs chips, flounders to 9 over after 54 holes

Updated: June 14, 2008

SAN DIEGO -- Phil Mickelson decided to finally put a driver in his bag Saturday at the U.S. Open. Problem is, he carried his usual complement of wedges as well, which got him in trouble at the par-5 13th hole.

Phil Mickelson

Chris Carlson/AP Photo

An upset Phil Mickelson can only sit and wonder what might have been after taking a quadruple-bogey 9 on the par-5 13th hole Saturday.

Mickelson, who blistered the 13th hole with criticism prior to the tournament, left four wedge shots short of the green -- watching them roll back to his feet -- and 3-putted the 13th for a quadruple-bogey 9. It was his worst single-hole score and first quad ever in a major.

"I've had a 9 on 13," said the San Diego native, who grew up playing Torrey Pines. "I was 8 years old, but I have had a 9 there."

Mickelson is now 9-over-par and tied for 47th for the tournament, thanks to a birdie at the 18th.

For Mickelson's celebrated refusal to carry a driver for the first two rounds, it was his driver that got him in trouble at 13 on Saturday. He hit his drive into the rough, and left his second shot -- a layup -- in the first cut of rough. An "L" wedge rolled back down the shaved kikuyu grass false front of the green, and two more 64-degree wedges did the same thing. Another 64-degree wedge finally got him on. Then, he 3-jabbed for his 9.

"It's a birdie hole," Mickelson said. "And here I was [at] 1-over-par. I felt like if I could get birdie there on 13, I could get back to even for the day. And over par's going to win.

"I felt like, gosh, one or two [birdies] coming in, I would be right there. And so that's obviously a bummer."

He wasn't alone in his torment at 13. Ernie Els made bogey after watching his approach hit short of the green and roll back to his feet. But that was 3 shots better than Mickelson's.

And he wasn't alone among the big names who posted big numbers on Saturday. Rich Beem, the 2002 PGA Championship winner, shot 80, with three double-bogeys on his card.

Two-time U.S. Open champ Retief Goosen followed up a second-round 69 with a 77, while defending British Open champ Padraig Harrington also shot 77.

Three-time major champ Vijay Singh carded a 76 with seven bogeys in his first 15 holes.

Mickelson refused to criticize Torrey Pines, saying: "This has been the best U.S. Open setup I've ever seen." He said it was his fault he's out of contention, not the United States Golf Association's.

"What can you do? It was really one hole that hurt the round," Mickelson said. "Otherwise, I was, what, 1-over for the day and just played OK. … If I make birdie there, I shoot even-par for the day and I would be within striking distance for tomorrow.

"Unfortunately, it happens. It sucks, but it happens."

-- David Kraft, ESPN.com



You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

ESPN video

Third Round Not The Charm

Phil Mickelson has put up some big numbers in his career during the third round of major championships. While Saturday's 76 didn't rank No. 1, it did make his 10-worst list.

-- David S. Bearman,
ESPN Research

Event Score Course
1998 British Open 83 Royal Birkdale
1991 U.S. Open 80 Hazeltine National
2002 PGA Championship 78 Hazeltine National
1998 PGA Championship 78 Sahalee
1995 British Open 77 St. Andrews
2008 U.S. Open 76 Torrey Pines
2002 British Open 76 Muifield
2000 Masters 76 Augusta National


Jason Sobel and Bob Harig answer all the burning questions as we head into the weekend at the U.S. Open. Is this tournament Tiger's to win? Listen Round 1: Sobel, Harig on unlikely leaders

Tiger: Simply The Greatest


The word quit isn't in Tiger Woods' vocabulary. How else can you explain his gutsy performance Sunday on a bum knee to steal the 54-hole lead and all but clinch his third U.S. Open title? Forde
Sobel: What contenders need to do (and avoid)
• Harig: Uphill battle for Westwood, Mediate
• Chip Shots: Floundering Phil cards a quad