The Loop

The Loop

Phil Mickelson will make you feel ashamed because you don't practice hitting shots 'vertically' off of rock-infested lies

May 06, 2018

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Nothing Phil Mickelson does on a golf course should ever, ever, EVER surprise anybody, not with more than two decades of swing pyrotechnics as reference for Lefty’s wizardry. The same holds true for anything that comes out of Mickelson’s mouth. He’s part William Shakespeare, part Mark Twain and part John Grishom when it comes to answering interview questions.

The combination of “do” and “say” was on display again Sunday at the Wells Fargo Championship when Mickelson made an all-world par on the 18th hole at Quail Hollow Club to cap off a closing 69 for a T-5, his fifth top-five finish in 2018.

Mickelson was smack in the fairway off the tee only to push his second shot left of the green. The ball wound up in a precarious lie against the rocks by the stream beside the putting surface, but Mickelson didn’t break a sweat. He popped up the shot to 20½ feet of the hole—a remarkable effort give what he was facing. Naturally, he rolled in the putt, and authored a vintage visual to cap it off.

Yep, a putter Mic drop. Classic.

What else was Classic Phil was his description of the shot after the round.

Q. Great shot on 18. Can you talk about the lie?
PHIL MICKELSON: It was leaning against a rock. It was touching a rock, but somehow I was able to get way underneath the ball. It was kind of on such a severe lie, I was able to hit it vertically. So I hit it off the toe and the toe of my wedge is all banged up. Not the sole, but the far end of the toe. I semi played it into the rock to kick it to the right over the pin. So I went up vertically and used the side of the rock to kind of get it to go to the right.

Take a minute to digest this. It took at least that long for reporters to do so, since it was another five questions before somebody finally asked this natural follow-up:

Q. How does one practice the shot vertically off the side of a rock? How do you practice that?
PHIL MICKELSON: I don’t know, but I’ve done it. Whether it’s in play or practice or whatever, I mean, I’ve done it growing up as a kid. I don’t know, I’ve just done it a bunch.

Of course he has. Wouldn’t expect anything less.