Massive search party somehow fails to find Phil Mickelson's ball, leading to round-killing double bogey

February 13, 2020

Watching Phil Mickelson play golf is very similar to watching someone walk a tightrope. When he makes it to the other side safely, it's incredible to watch. But there's always a slight chance he slips and comes crashing down.

Lefty's latest high-wire act was going quite smoothly on Thursday at the Genesis Invitational, where he is playing without caddie and brother Tim Mickelson, who is taking the week off due to a couple of lingering injuries. Through nine holes at Riviera it was no Tim, no problem for Phil, who went out in one-under 35 on the back nine, with his only bogey coming at the difficult 18th. At the short par-5 first he added another birdie to reach two under, putting him just a few off the lead.

Just two holes later, Mickelson slipped and fell, hard, pulling a drive dead right at the par-4 third. Check out the shot tracker:

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Yikes. Shockingly, the ball was still in play, and had Mickelson found it he would have had a look at the green. Despite the help of a massive search party, he never did. Here's a photo taken on site by Geoff Shackelford of the rather large gathering:

And a screenshot from the broadcast:

You could count on one hand, if that, how many other players would get this type of treatment. And somehow it still wasn't found, which is even more bewildering given how dead that grass appears to be. Did someone ... pocket it? Never mind, no conspiracy theories here.

Mickelson had to make the long, lonely ride back to the tee to hit his third, and he eventually finished the hole with a double-bogey 6, dropping him to even par. Follow along for the rest of the first-round action on the PGA Tour leader board.