Phil Mickelson tried to hole a 78-yard shot with a putter from the fairway and, well, the results were interesting
Jon Rahm might've earned the win at Sunday's Memorial Tournament, but Muirfield Village defeated most of the field by day’s end. Golfers played a firm and fast golf course that got only firmer and faster in the 90-plus degree heat in Dublin, Ohio. The final-round scoring average (75.959) was the highest of any non-major round in four years. Oh, and if you haven’t heard, Muirfield Village is being torn down as part of a restoration project. So Jack Nicklaus was able to push the setup more than usual, knowing the club didn't have to worry about the membership being up in arms about a dead golf course come Monday.
We state all this as a preface for the strange play you might've seen over the weekend. And if you don’t believe us, consider how Phil Mickelson approached the 460-yard par-4 13th hole on Sunday. After hitting a 364-yard drive into the fairway (not bad for a 50-year-old!), Mickelson, who was five over on his round and eight over for the tournament, had 78 yards left to a tucked left hole location. Usually a master with his wedges, Lefty had another thought in mind on how to play the second shot when he asked his caddie/brother, Tim, for a club to handle the approach.
Mind handing me my putter?
We’ll let you watch what happened next.
Mickelson made one more bogey coming in, eventually finishing the day with a six-over 78. Here's what he said when he was asked about his strategy on the 13th:
“So the reason I tried to putt was the fairway prior to the green was pitched more severely right to left, and if I used that slope it was going to angle and get the ball working over to the left pin and possibly get close, whereas if I hit a wedge shot and flew it on to the front edge or just short, it wasn’t using that extra pitch or contour to get the ball over to the left. I would have had to settle for a good shot being 12 or 15 right of the hole. I didn’t hit it hard enough, but if I had hit that hard enough or the right speed, I think that ball could have gotten close to the hole to a tap-in, whereas a wedge I didn’t see that being possible.”
We’ll give Phil an A for effort and for creativity and a C- to execution on the putt.