PGA Championship: N.Y. gives Phil Mickelson 'thumbs-up' despite terrible finish

Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports

PGA Championship: N.Y. gives Phil Mickelson 'thumbs-up' despite terrible finish

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PGA Championship: N.Y. gives Phil Mickelson 'thumbs-up' despite terrible finish

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Phil Mickelson crashed at Bethpage Black this weekend.

The course turned into his personal Winterfell and Lefty finished T-73 Sunday in the 101st PGA Championship.

Mickelson added six shots to his par score entering play in the final round and finished 12 over for the event. Among those finishing ahead of him on the final leaderboard, PGA club pro Rob Labritz.

But Lefty wasn’t into being despondent over finishing a hefty 24 shots behind Brooks Koepka an hour before Koepka, who led by a 54-hole record seven shots, teed off.

No way.

Rather, Mickelson was breakdown another record of sorts, the number of “thumbs up” delivered during his final round of play.

In his post-round interview with Amanda Balionis of CBS/TNT, Mickelson offered some impressive numbers when it came to flexing his most important appendage in each hand.

According to Mickelson, he broke the record of “the most thumbs-up in one day for any player” on Saturday.

“One thousand, three hundred and ninety-seven is the new record. It was was 894 before. So we shattered the old record. So my game struggled because of it . . . I’m just kidding.”

The thumbs-up continued for and from Mickelson on Sunday. He expressed his gratitude for the support he received from the New York crowd, which has long adopted him as one of their own despite his roots in San Diego and Arizona.

They loved Phil so much, they even had some to stare for his Sunday playing partner Paul Casey.

“It is incredible. I just love coming and playing here and the way the people are. The way they interact. They’re entertaining. They’re fun. They’ve got so much energy. I love playing here,” Mickelson said. “We’re coming back here in 2024 for the Ryder Cup, I cannot think of a better venue. I can’t think of a better crowd in the world than right here at Bethpage and the New York fans. I’m hoping to be a part of that team, somehow.”

Mickelson has a more immediate task – fixing what went wrong at Bethpage over the next 25 days before he begins play in the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach Golf Links. There, the 48-year-old Mickelson will be seeking that elusive career Grand Slam.

The California venue offers a near opposite setting than the one found at Bethpage in many ways, even though both courses are open to the public.

Mickelson has won the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am a record-tying five times, including this year via a Monday finish.

“Off the tee, I’m still struggling,” he told Balionis. “But to play Pebble well, you really don’t need to hit driver too often, you just need to hit long irons and fairway woods, which I don’t seem to struggle as much with as the drivers. For Pebble, I need to get the putter better. I need to putt like I did at AT&T this year.”

     

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