AS SOMEBODY SAID, they don’t call him Phil the Thrill for nothing. Mickelson made an improbable (impossible for about anyone else) birdie on the final hole yesterday to walk off with the Crowne Plaza Invitational title at Colonial.
And the thing is, we could as easily be talking about how Lefty blew another tournament just when he had pulled even with Rod Pampling.
Pampling was leaking oil on the last three holes, hitting a succession of blocked tee shots. Phil was playing good if not stellar golf, and was poised to take advantage of Pampling’s wobbles until he stuck his tee in the ground on the 72nd hole.
Lefty’s tee shot landed in the trees way, way left. We’ve seen this before, and we’ll more than likely see it again. There may be no cure for it, just like there was no cure for the way, way right miss that Greg Norman used to hit at key moments in majors.
A phenomenal wedge and a giant dose of luck put Phil the Thrill just nine feet away from a winning birdie when all he said he hoped for was a 25-footer and a sure par that would get him into a playoff. He stalked it, stroked it and fist-pumped it right into the heart of the cup. Poor Rod Pampling.
You just never know with Phil. That’s what makes him so exciting to watch. But will he ever –- Butch Harmon or no Butch Harmon –- exorcise the way-left demons at winning time?
−The Armchair Golfer