After Rory McIlroy incurred a stupid penalty on Saturday at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, on Sunday it was the other headliner's turn to get dinged with a penalty when Phil Mickelson tried a miracle shot but ended up double hitting his ball on the swing.
Following two underwhelming rounds that put him just above the cut line, Mickelson rocketed into contention on Saturday with a blistering round of 63 (the next best was a 66). Starting the day just a shot back from the lead, Phil had form again on Sunday and was trending towards a season-debut win in the Middle East.
But after three birdies and no bogeys through his first 12 holes, it all came off the rails on No. 13 at Abu Dhabi GC. Mickelson's ball landed under some shrubs that would make it impossible for the lefty to make his normal address. So he tried to "dribble" it out, as he put it, by taking a right-handed swipe. The results, well, were not good. The ball popped up and hit his club to cause a one-stroke penalty and Mickelson was then on his way to a triple-bogey seven that ended up being the difference between a win and an eventual second-place finish. Here's video of the attempt (h/t Eye on Golf/Kyle Porter):
Mickelson said it "never crossed my mind" that he might double hit, with the idling club also foiling his play to move the ball to a more playable spot. It was a disastrous sequence, but Phil took it in stride and seemed pleased with his improved game over the weekend. When asked about past double hits during miracle shot attempts, Mickelson had this perfect answer (via GolfDigest):
You know me, I've done some crazy s**t during my career. I go up and then I go down.
There's self-aware Phil lamenting another hero shot gone awry. This one was pretty easy to take, however, and his 63 on Saturday alongside the 17 solid holes Sunday should have him feeling well heading into Torrey Pines for his PGA Tour debut in his own backyard.