2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: All Over the Place
Harry How/Getty Images for The Match
Mickelson continues with this pattern.
If the first four holes are a whirlwind of inconsistency, the very hallmark of Mickelson’s lengthy career, they’re still just the appetizer for the entire day.
This is a player who’s won 44 times on the PGA Tour but missed the cut on 106 occasions. In each of those events – both the positive and the negative – he’s undoubtedly enjoyed at least a few moments of brilliance, either hooking a ball around a tree or hitting a high flop that nobody else would even attempt, while similarly enduring a few moments of foolishness — being overly aggressive with a shot that ultimately led to bogey, instead of playing it safe and taking his par.
Of course, that’s what golf fans love about Phil: He’s easily in the top-15 players on the all-time list of greats, pushing the top-10, but he’s even higher on the list of players who never saw a shot they didn’t believe they could pull off.
Years from now, when you tell your grandchildren about watching Mickelson, the story won’t just be about his wins and tremendous shots — it will similarly include his excruciating losses and historically poor shots in big situations. If he went down, he always went down swinging.
Perhaps no round of his life epitomizes that dynamic than this one.
Mickelson follows his three-putt bogey on the fourth hole with another on the fifth. He sticks his tee shot tight on the sixth for yet another birdie, then bogeys the seventh. The biggest roar of the day – even bigger than when he stuck that shot on the first – comes when he converts his eagle attempt on the eighth, but a groan emanates from the crowd when he follows it with a bogey on the ninth.
You almost need a calculator to add it all up, but at the turn, he’s carded an eagle, three birdies and five bogeys for the most unbelievable front-nine 36 in Masters history.
At this point, you and your fellow fans need a good exhale, already emotionally exhausted at having experienced a front side which defies all logic. Of course, it all brings up that relevant question once again: What will Phil do next?