I’m sure everyone of you who are reading this have had to put that unwanted “snowman” on your scorecard at some point in your golfing experience. I know I have. You have to expect that professional golfers occasionally fall on hard times and wind up putting a big number on their cards as well, and so it was on Thursday in Shanghai for Phil Mickelson.
Unfortunately, for a professional golfer, a disaster hole can be the difference between getting a payday, making a cut, or even winning the tournament.
During the first round of the WGC-HSBC Golf Champions golf tournament, Lefty teed it up at the 603 yard par five eighth hole on the Sheshan International Golf Course with a share of the lead, and tied with a resurgent Rory McIlroy. Phil had began his day on the back 9, and looked to have put the problems he had the previous week behind him.
He had made 3 birdies on his first 2 holes, and after making another at 16, made the turn at 33. The fine play continued on the front 9 where he made 3 more birdies before teeing off at eight. Phil was at 6 under par with 2 holes to play.
With his drive on 8 in the fairway, it looked to be another routine par 5 until he pushed his layup shot just off the left side of the fairway. This can’t be a problem… Can it? With a wedge in his hand, what can happen to arguably one of the best wedge players in PGA TOUR history?
2 factors foiled the magicians plans. There is a small creek that protects the front of the green, and the left side of the green has a severe slope from back to front. The shot required Phil to hit the ball past the cup and spin it back to the hole. He did everything correctly, but had way to much spin.
The ball looked at the hole on it’s way back into the little creek. Now hitting five from a drop, our hero hit his fifth shot too far up the hill, and the ball had another look at the hole as it picked up speed on it’s return trip to the little creek. Another drop, now hitting 7, resulted in another trip by the pin, but did did not make it to the creek for the third time.
Phil’s putt wouldn’t drop, and the tap-in was for 9. Mickelson’s drive at 9 found the water, and by the time the dust settled, he was at 1 under par, 6 shots out of the lead.
So the next time you have to put a quadruple bogey on your score card, just remember it happens to everyone… Even Phil.