In hopes of straightening out a swing that has gone horribly wrong, Phil Mickelson made a “very rare” pilgrimage to Tiger Woods’ domain following Thursday’s 3-over 73 finish. Despite his appearance on the practice range following a competitive round, however, Lefty will make an early exit from the 2012 British Open after a second-round 78.
The lasting image of Mickelson’s Open Championship will be of him on his knees searching for his ball in the deep rough on the eighth hole on Thursday, but Friday’s ugly three-putt for a double bogey six on No. 13 pretty much summed up his short week.
Then there was Mickelson turning around to try to lift his ball, lodged against the steep face, out of a green-side bunker on 14. But when things go awry, they really go sideways. Because Phil’s switch-hitting effort left the ball still in the sand but this time against the left lip.
“At this stage of the game, you’re a professional, you’re a major champion, you have pride,” ESPN’s Sean McDonough intoned after Mickelson posted yet another double bogey following his sand struggle, “but you probably want to go home.”
All of that was after coach Butch Harmon said that what he and Mickelson’s caddy Jim Mackay spied about their man’s game -- positioning the ball a tad too far forward in his stance and opening his shoulders, which caused the club to drop inside and led to some really sloppy ball-striking -- should be a quick, easy cure.
“It just felt a touch off,” Mickelson told reporters Thursday. “When I'd hit one solid, it was a pull‑hook. And we're going to go work on it and see if we can get it fixed.”
“He just doesn’t have it, didn’t have from the get-go yesterday, and hasn’t had it for a couple of months,” Curtis Strange said. “In his last seven rounds of competitive golf, he has not broken par once, and that’s just a complete lack of concentration.”
Whatever it is, Mickelson, who left the course at 11-over -- 21 (!) shots behind leader Brandt Snedeker -- will have a couple more days than he would have liked to work on what ails him.