sport

Phil’s near misses

Phil Mickelson has become a perennial US Open bridesmaid in recent years. Ahead of this year's major we look back at his six near misses.

1999 – Pinehurst

Mickelson held a one-shot lead with three holes to play and had a six-foot par putt on the 16th hole, while Payne Stewart was 25 feet away from par. Stewart made his putt, Mickelson missed and they were tied. Stewart took the lead with a short birdie on the 17th, then famously won the US Open with a 15-foot par putt on the final hole.

2002 - Bethpage Black

Mickelson, five shots behind eventual winner Tiger Woods at the start of the final round, birdied the par-five 13th to get within two shots before Tiger responded with a birdie on the same hole. Mickelson's challenge effectively ended on the 16th when his tee shot found the rough and he made bogey.

2004 – Shinnehock Hills

Two years later, Phil was tied for the lead on the 17th hole when he hit into a bunker, blasted out to within five feet and three-putted for double bogey. It was like being in a morgue walking up the 18th," said Fred Funk, who was paired with him that day. Retief Goosen scooped the title.

2006 – Winged Foot

Mickelson's most crushing blow at the US Open came in 2006 after a final hole meltdown. Leading by one on the last, his tee shot clattered off a corporate tent. The bigger mistake was going for the green with a 3-iron and hitting a tree. His third shot plugged in the bunker. His fourth shot raced across the green. He made double bogey and lost by one to Geoff Ogilvy. There was Mickelson, crouched on the green, hands cupped over his head. "I am such an idiot," he said.

2009 – Bethpage Black

Mickelson was tied for the lead with four holes to play but two missed short par putts on the 15th and 17th holes cost him dear. Another US Open bid over, Mickelson was walking up to the 18th green when playing partner Hunter Mahan,  who had just as good of a chance to win that day, began applauding, and thousands joined him. Lucas Glover landed his maiden major.

2013 – Merion Country Club

Mickelson was playing alongside Mahan on the final day again last year when he fell narrowly short for a sixth time. Mickelson twice made bogey with a wedge in his hand on the back nine. His last hope was to chip in from 40 yards to force a play-off with champion Justin Rose. He missed. "I looked at him and said, 'Good try, Phil.' You can only do what you can do," Mahan said afterwards. "At some point, you've got to get a bounce or two and make a putt. I think he wants to win that tournament more than anything."

2014?