Phil Mickelson can be a magician with a wedge in his hands. Notorious for pulling off seemingly impossible shots around the green, Mickelson's short game is rarely the issue. It was, however, on No. 7 at Augusta with a poor chip and some putting issues leading to a triple bogey.
Mickelson began the hole at even par and hit his approach to the back of the green. He was in excellent position to come away with a par, faced with a fairly straightforward chip. He caught a little too much of his attempt and it came out with speed. The ball rolled past the pin and caught the slope of the green, finishing in the fringe.
His next chip was better, but left him with a downhill putt to save bogey. He missed, then missed the short comebacker, finishing with a three-putt triple bogey.
The ugliness dropped him to 3-over for the tournament.
To make matters worse, Mickelson may have re-injured his back in the process. He suffered a strained oblique muscle two weeks ago that forced him to withdraw from the Texas Open. But prior to that, a back problem bothered him in Abu Dhabi at the start of the year and forced him out of Torrey Pines a week later. Many have speculated the injury is acting up again and Mickelson's odd decision to hit an iron off the tee at the par-5 eighth hole only fueled the speculation.
Phil's body language says he's hurting--badly. Afraid the air has left that balloon for '14.— Guy Yocom (@guy_yocom1) April 10, 2014
Playing it safe? Is he hurt? Phil Mickelson tees off the par-5 8th hole with an IRON and NOT driver.— Eye on Golf (@EyeOnGolf) April 10, 2014