The US Open of golf concluded yesterday at Merion's East Course and Phil Mickelson finished 2nd for a record 6th time. It really pains me to see him come so close, so many times only to fall a shot or two short.
I have been rooting for Phil since he was was the AJGA Player of the Year in 1988. Shortly thereafter Golf Digest published a profile of Phil that demonstrated him skipping a ball across a pond and hitting a lob wedge over his head and backwards. Readers wrote in and thought that it was a joke, but I was hooked and have been rooting for Phil in every tournament that he has entered for the last 25 years.
But yesterday, unfortunately, Phil lost the US Open and Justin Rose won it. While Payne Stewart made the final putt in 1999 at Pinehurst, Tiger beat him at Bethpage Black in 2002 as Phil missed key putts coming down the home stretch, and Reteif Goosen putted brilliantly at Shinnecock to steal it from him 2004, Phil blew it most spectularly on the 18th hole Winged Foot in 2006 by spraying the ball into a hospitality tent.
But Phil rebounded in 2009 at Bethpage Black only to lose to lose to Lucas Glover.
Justin Rose yesterday hit at least two clutch shots when it mattered most and interestingly neither of them hit the green. His tee shot on the 229-yard par 3 17th hole ended up pin high just off the green. Then Justin Rose's approach shot on the final hole of the US Open landed up 20 feet long on the back fringe. In both cases Justin left the ball in the perfect position to make par.
I really like Justin Rose, but I love Phil. I hope that one day Phil wins the US Open, because no man has provided more drama in that tournament over the course of my lifetime. Please keep trying Phil, I am rooting for you, and always will and I know that one day you soon you will break through.
Next stop Pinehurst, 15 years after his first 2nd in the US Open...