2020 Masters Choose Your Own Adventure, Tiger Woods vs. Phil Mickelson: Lefty Settles Down
Harry How/Getty Images for The Match
Mickelson finally makes a par.
Years ago, you read a book – a fictional book about golf. You don’t remember many of the details, but it included a storyline about a golfer who could only make par. He’d slice one into the trees and magically still save par. He’d hit one to within a foot, but somehow miss the putt and make par.
For most average golfers, that doesn’t sound like such a bad proposition. You wouldn’t make many cuts on the PGA Tour doing that, but you’d probably be able to win your Saturday morning Nassau pretty often.
In any case, what Mickelson is doing today is basically the exact opposite of the guy in that book. The man who couldn’t make par. No matter what he does, he’s carded an eagle, birdies, bogeys, but zero pars.
It continues on the back-nine, too.
Mickelson bogeys the 10th hole, dropping another shot in his quest to turn things around. He then birdies the 11th, a ray of hope glimmering through Amen Corner. A bogey from the bunker on 12. A birdie on the par-5 13th. Bogey on 14, birdie on 15.
At this point, his scorecard won’t be hanging in the World Golf Hall of Fame someday, but it should be in some museum for modern art, all those circles and squares getting in the way of each other.
It is almost comical when he keeps the streak going on 16, making yet another bogey. OK, maybe not comical to Phil himself, but you and others around the green laugh in amazement at the back and forth.
Wouldn’t you know it? He birdies the 17th for an even number of birdies and bogeys on the back.
At this point, he knows it, too. The entire world is aware of it.
If the afternoon’s biggest story is going to be whomever wins, the biggest subplot is Mickelson’s inability to make a single par all day.
On 18, he pushes his tee shot well right, then punches his second into the first cut of rough short of the green. Knowing he can force a playoff with birdie and birdie alone, he’s aggressive with the chip and knocks it 30 feet past the front pin.
The entire gallery knows what is coming next: Another bogey, completing the most imperfect scorecard of all-time, one which wouldn’t show a single par.
At this point almost going through the motions, he takes a swipe at the lengthy par attempt and – bang! – it drops right into the hole.
Big smile attached to your lips at the incredulity of it all, you yell almost in unison with your fellow fans, shouting, “Nice par!” as Mickelson buries his face into his right shirtsleeve and laughs along with the crowd at his improbable round and ridiculous finish.