Lefty didn’t lose his sense of humour
Phil Mickelson was able to see the funny side of chalking up a fifth second place at the US Open on Monday.
Phil Mickelson was able to see the funny side in chalking up second place in the US Open for a record fifth time – according to co-runner-up Ricky Barnes.
The World No 2 made a little bit of history as he edged past Bobby Jones, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead as the golfer with the most second places in America’s national championship.
Monday’s finish at Bethpage Black added to near misses at Pinehurst in 1999 behind the late Payne Stewart; to Tiger Woods, also at Bethpage Black, in 2002; to Retief Goosen at Shinnecock Hills five years ago and, most agonisingly of all, at Winged Foot in 2003 when Geoff Ogilvy was the beneficiary as the left-hander imploded at the 17th and 18th holes.
Fellow Californian Barnes had his fair share of heartache over his final two rounds yesterday, having led by six shots on Sunday morning in the third round and then shooting six bogeys over a seven-hole, mid-round stretch.
That left Mickelson, Barnes and David Duval in a tie for second behind maiden major winner Luke Glover, but that led to a problem at the awards ceremony.
Barnes said of Mickelson: “He had a funny comment. They had only one silver medal.
“I said, ‘Whoever is the oldest out of you two [can have it]’.
“He said, ‘I got four, I’m plenty good’.
“We got a kick out of that.”
The former US Amateur champion added: “But you know you’re doing something well when you’re getting a silver medal.
“I’d love to improve on it one day and get a second or third USGA Championship.”
Mickelson, whose wife Amy is set to undergo treatment for breast cancer on July 1, was philosophical about his latest disappointment.
Yet his enthusiasm for Bethpage Black and the New York fans that so willingly embraced him as one of their own for both US Open visits to their public course, remained undiminished.
And Mickelson believes the support could be put to good use for American golf.
“The people here are incredible,” Mickelson said. “And I just keep thinking that this is the ideal spot to hold The Ryder Cup.
“The golf course is terrific, because 16, 17 and 18 are so close together. And the way the fans are, I think that we’d have a big advantage.”
World number one Tiger Woods, who tied for sixth and lost his title to Glover at Bethpage Black after a week of heavy rain that sent the US Open into an extra day, said the bad weather should not deter the United States Golf Association from returning to the Long Island course.
Woods said: “This is a great golf course, it’s just that the USGA got the short end of the stick on the weather.”
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