Phil Mickelson apologizes to US Open fan (no, not for that)

BROOKLINE, Mass. (AP) – Phil Mickelson’s tee shot on No. 3 landed in the rough to the right, and when he got to his ball he saw a man sitting on the ground holding an ice pack over his right temple, with medical personnel gathered around.

Mickelson walked over and gave the man a glove and apologized. A problem: it was Sam Horsfield’s shot from the nearby sixth hole that hit him.

“It’s just instinct,” Mickelson said, prompting laughter from the gallery. “I would normally think that’s me.”

That’s how things went for the six-time US Open finalist at the Country Club this week: a series of excuses, interrupted by a bunch of bad golf shots.

“I wish I had played better,” said Mickelson, who declined to speak to reporters, in a transcript that was distributed by the USGA on Friday after trailing a 78 in the first round with a 3 of 73 to miss the cut. .

The plus-11 finish left him in the clubhouse ahead of a single PGA Tour regular and well below the projected cut line of 4 above.

“It was ok. I had a good day,” he said.

A six-time major champion turned face of the Saudi-backed LIV golf tour, Mickelson was competing on American soil for the first time in more than four months. But if fans blamed him for his money, they didn’t let it show.

“Phil, come alive! »

“Long live Phil!”

“You have work to do! »

“A 62 makes the cut, Phil!”

“You and me forever, baby!”

“Call it a comeback, Phil!”

And fans in a tent next to the sixth tee sang “Happy Birthday” to him.

“The fans here have always been great and really support all sports,” Mickelson said, according to the transcript. “I love it when we bring golf here because they create a really special atmosphere.”

But Mickelson didn’t have much else to smile about. Starting on the 10th hole, he bogeyed back-to-back on the numbers 13-14-15 and needed a 15-footer to save par on the third hole after nearly ending up in the gallery with his drive.

He wasn’t so lucky on No. 4, a 493-yard par-4, where he missed a 12-foot putt and allowed himself almost as much to come back for bogey. But the 52-year-old southpaw – his birthday was actually Thursday – followed with back-to-back birdies.

He sank a 43-foot putt from the front apron on the fifth hole and an even longer one on the sixth, both times acknowledging the crowd’s cheers with a thumbs-up and a wave. On his way to the seventh tee, he gave his ball to a 9-year-old girl standing near the ropes.

“I’ve enjoyed the week,” said Mickelson, who left Brookline still in need of a US Open victory to end his Grand Slam career. “It was spectacular to return to such a historic course, and I found the configuration remarkable. Just really showed how special this place is.”


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