There is no one more familiar with Phil Mickelson's game or approach to it than his brother Tim, the golf coach at the University of San Diego and an accomplished golfer in his own right, yet even he was surprised that Mickelson opted to go for the green from pine straw and trees at the 13th hole at Augusta National on Sunday.
"Once I saw the lie, I assumed he'd lay up and I started walking down the fairway," said Tim, who plays to a plus-3.2 handicap at the Farms in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif. "When I walked by the shot, from outside the ropes, obviously, I actually thought that if he were to go for it he'd go right of the tree, not left of the tree. That's the first thing that surprised me. Then there were the circumstance. With a two-shot lead, I thought he'd lay up and try to make birdie that way."
Tim was walking with T.R. Reinman, Mickelson's public relations man, whose own observation was that Phil was perfectly stymied.
Then came the shot, a 6-iron that landed softly, four feet from the hole, resulting in a tap-in birdie en route to a three-shot victory. "Shows how much you know," Tim said kiddingly to Reinman.
"He does it all the time," Tim said of Phil's go-for-it approach. "I would say there's always a calculated risk. If there's no chance, he's not going to do it, but if there's a way for it to be done he'll try it. He's more willing than most pros to attempt the shot."
-- John Strege