By Sam Weinman
Given the stage, the number at stake, and the player, Phil Mickelson's how-did-that-not-go-in missed birdie putt for 59 at the Waste Management Open was another prominent example of a player missing a big putt by the cruelest of margins. But does it rank as one of golf's most memorable lipouts? We can think of some bigger ones.
*Phil's miss for 59 was tough. But it doesn't compare to this one.
Photo by Darren Carroll
Nick Price, 1986 Masters: Price had a birdie putt for a Masters- and major-championship record 62 on Saturday at Augusta National, but the ball rimmed out at the last moment. After settling for 63 (and a fifth-place finish behind winner Jack Nicklaus), Price said fate played a part. "I think Bobby Jones' hand came up and popped it out the hole and said, 'That's enough,'" he said.
Scott Hoch, 1989 Masters: Was it indeed a lipout that prevented Hoch from winning the green jacket? Careful investigation of the video reveals that it was. Needing only to sink a 2-footer to win his first major, Hoch's putt on the first hole of a playoff with Nick Faldo caught the edge of the cup and skirted right. Faldo went on to win the playoff while Hoch inherited a most unfortunate nickname.
Joe Daley, 2000 Q School: Never mind missing a putt for a major. How about lipping out for your livelihood? That was the case when Daley at the 2000 Q School finals missed a double bogey putt in the most bizarre fashion, with his putt from five feet hitting the back of the cup, seeming to drop in, only to pop back out. "It was the damnedest thing I've ever seen," Daley said that day. High on the leader board for most of the week, Daley missed qualifying for the PGA Tour by a stroke and never regained his card. He did, however, earn status on the Champions Tour and won the 2012 Senior Players Championship.
Sergio Garcia, 2007 British Open: A fraction of the inch to the right and Garcia's is no longer a tale of unfulfilled promise. But given a chance to win his first major at the Open at Carnoustie, his clinching 8-foot par putt on the 72nd hole caught the left edge, and he ended up losing in a playoff to Padraig Harrington. This led to Garcia's infamous claim that the golf gods were conspiring against him. The golf gods were unavailable for comment (Missed putt at 6:30 mark).
Tiger Woods, 2007 PGA Championship: Like Price more than 20 years earlier, Woods had a chance to post the first 62 in major championship history with a 15-foot birdie putt on 18. As the ball tracked toward the hole, Woods raised his putter, but then watched it catch the left edge of the hole and spin away. Don't feel too bad for him: His 63 (or "62 1/2," as Woods called it) was still good enough to propel Woods to his fourth PGA title.
I.K. Kim, 2012 Nabisco Championship: Kim's putt from a little more than a foot on the 72nd hole to win last spring's Nabisco was so simple you'd be excused for already turning off the TV. But the South Korean's putt rimmed out and that led to a playoff she'd end up losing, a horror story for any player thinking they merely "need to tap in."