5 Things: Mickelson's win at Pebble Beach
Monday, February 13, 2012
Five things you need to know about Phil Mickelson's win at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am:
• • •
1) Shot of the day, Part I: When you shoot 64, come from six back and win by two, obviously you’ve played pretty well and hit a bunch of great shots, but none was better than the one Phil Mickelson hit at the par-4 13th Sunday at Pebble Beach. His lead just one, Mickelson had 147 yards to a hole cut toward the back of the green. No way you can fly it back there and risk going over the green, so Mickelson told his caddie he was going to hit “a low, chip 8-iron,” Jim Mackay would recall later.
The thought process was to hit something to the front portion of the green and chase it toward the hole. Guess what? Mickelson did exactly that, and when his ball came to rest within 2 feet, he had another birdie, improved to 15 under and even had his caddie gushing.
“How about that shot?” Mackay said, shaking his head.
• • •
2) Shot of the day, Part II: Next hole, the demanding par-5 14th, a spot where many a chance at victory has come undone over the years. True, Mickelson was in command, but the green complex here – severe slopes, tucked behind a daunting bunker – has been like a Bermuda Triangle to golfers for decades. So even with a wedge in his hand for his third shot, Lefty had to be careful.
He also turned to his caddie, whom Mickelson has trusted since turning pro in 1992.
Mackay got in Mickelson’s ear, the left-hander nodded in agreement, and they were in sync.
“He erased any doubt in my mind,” Mickelson said. “He said to be aggressive, that we needed to make birdie.”
As Mickelson settled in over the shot, Mackay reminded his man that it was “98,” and Mickelson hit it on the number, leaving himself a short putt for birdie.
“After 20 years, we’re working at our best,” Mickelson said.
• • •
3) Mano-a-mano: Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson have played in the same pairing 30 times, including 10 times in the final round. In their past five final-round pairings, Mickelson has beaten Woods head to head, but never by the 11-shot margin of Sunday at Pebble Beach.
The last time Woods beat Mickelson in a final round was the 2005 Ford Championship at Doral.
In the 30 times they have competed head-to-head, the record is 13-13-4. It can’t get any closer than that.
• • •
4) Six is wild: Holding the lead on the PGA Tour after 54 holes may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Three weeks ago in San Diego, Brandt Snedeker came from six back of Kyle Stanley. Last week in Phoenix, Stanley came from eight back over Spencer Levin. This week at Pebble Beach, Mickelson was six shots back of Charlie Wi going into Sunday.
• • •
5) Match Play set: The final 64 of the Accenture Match Play was cemented after the finish at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Entering Pebble Beach, Kevin Na needed to play well to earn a spot in the Match Play. With his final-round 70 and a T-5 finish, Na will be in Tucson in two weeks as the 60th seed. Mickelson and Paul Casey scheduled to miss the event.
Ernie Els almost fell out of the festivities in two weeks, but as the No. 65 player in the Official World Golf Ranking, The Big Easy will be in the Match Play field. However, Ryan Moore and Robert Allenby fell out at 67th and 68th, respectively. If one player drops out in the next two weeks, Moore will get a spot.