Mickelson’s win… Eye on the 13th

It was the eye of the tiger.  I saw it on Sunday during the Masters broadcast.  However, it wasn’t the tiger many expected.  Rather, it was Phil Mickelson who hit a phenomenal second shot on No. 13 – off of pine needles, between two trees, over the creek, onto the green, four feet from the hole, sailing 207-yards.

Photo: David Cannon / Getty Images

He swung with determination and, I sensed, the confidence of a tiger going for a kill.

This report from Ron Kroichick  of the San Francisco Chronicle describes what happened on that dogleg-left par-5 where Mickelson’s tee shot drifted into the trees on the right. The ball ended up a few feet behind one tree, with another close by.

“Remember, he led the Masters by two shots (after Choi made bogey ahead on the green) and mostly needed to avoid costly mistakes. His swing coach, Butch Harmon, hoped Mickelson would lay up short of the creek. His caddie, Mackay, vigorously asked him to lay up short of the creek.

Jack Nicklaus probably lays up short of the creek. So does Woods.

Arnold Palmer and his modern-day descendant? No way.

“I tried to talk him into laying it up and he said no,” caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay  said. “Then we found out Choi had made 6, and I went at it again. He said, ‘Definitely no.’ He basically said, ‘Listen, there’s an opening in the trees and it’s a 6-iron into a big ole’ green. All I have to do is execute.’ Fair enough. I got out of the way, and you saw what he did.”

Said Mickelson of the opening in the trees: “The gap wasn’t huge, but it was big enough for a ball to fit through.”

So he brilliantly plopped he ball on the green, in what CBS analyst Nick Faldo called “the shot of his life.”

It doesn’t matter that he missed the short eagle putt and settled for birdie.  What mattered was the conquering attitude he had when he hit that shot.  You could see it and hear it.

At that point, I knew he had his third green jacket.  The bogey-free 67 was extra icing on the cake.

Trackbacks for this post

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