U.S. Open 2022: A four-putt double bogey isn’t the birthday present Phil Mickelson was looking for
BROOKLINE, Mass. — During his very awkward Monday press conference at the U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson was asked one question related to his golf game, and the answer he gave was the most forthcoming of any he offered. How would Mickelson prepare for this week’s major, the one that’s eluded him for his entire career, after having played just one tournament in the last four months—the controversial LIV Golf event in London?
“I think it was important for me to have a little bit of competitive golf last week and identify some of the areas of weakness," Mickelson said. "It was one of the worst putting tournaments I've had in years. I spent time yesterday addressing that, which is why I basically putted the whole day on the course. In the offseason I actually made some strides ball-striking-wise, and I'm fairly optimistic there, but it will be a real challenge.”
Unfortunately for Mickelson, any work he put in early in the week seems to have been for naught. As he started his first round on Thursday at The Country Club, Mickelson, celebrating his 52nd birthday, was struggling mightily on the greens. He bogeyed three of his first five holes, taking nine putts.
Then came the par-3 sixth, where Mickelson hit his approach shot on the 196-yard hole to 12 feet. It was only the second green in regulation on the day, and his first legitimate birdie opportunity.
But Phil got too aggressive with his first putt, racing it four feet by. And then the real fun began. His par putt scooted three feet by, and then the comebacker for bogey lipped out.
Yep, a four-putt.
The USGA didn’t share the video of this, but here’s the damage as seen on his scorecard on the website.
Here's what was left after the first putt.
And then the second.
The lip out is up at the top. And here's the expression on his fact after walking off the green.
And here’s the expression on his face after walking off the green.
Mickelson had pars on his next two holes, but after eight holes, Mickelson ranked last in strokes gained/putting at -4.25 and last in number of putts with a 2.25 average (the field being 1.65).
The round continued to be a struggle for Mickelson, who eventually made a birdie on the 11th hole, but also a bogey on 10 and 18 and another double on the 12th hole. All told, he ended up shooting an eight-over 78 that left him tied for 144th place, ahead of just five pros and two amateurs. His SG/putting score "improved" to -2.19.
Yep, not the birthday present he was looking for.