Phil Mickelson is true to himself in impressive victory at the Masters
Phil Mickelson is often criticized for his aggression on the golf course, but it was his go-for-it mentality and terrific attitude that won him his third green jacket at Augusta National Golf Club on Sunday.
Few will remember that he missed that short eagle putt on the 13th hole during the final round at the Masters. What we will always remember, and what they will replay over and over again for years to come, is the second-shot iron he hit from behind the trees and over the water, landing softly just a few feet from the hole.
It’s easily the gutsiest and best shot I’ve seen at any golf tournament in some time. It was even more impressive than the approach he holed the day before on 14 during an eagle-eagle-birdie run. Why? Because it took courage and conviction, and he had the most of both this week.
Some might say he took an unnecessary risk, but I believe he was just being true to himself. I’ve heard the criticism over and over again about the way he handled the 18th hole at Winged Foot in the 2006 U.S. Open, en route to a double bogey on the final hole and ultimately losing to Geoff Ogilvy by one stroke.
True, his course management on 18 at Winged Foot could have been a little better after he pulled his driver left, but had he pulled off the shots there, few would have ever second guessed him. Had he hit in the water on 13 at Augusta instead of finding the green , the criticism would have been overwhelming again. Instead, Mickelson hit a shot for the ages.
To me, it’s kind of like the 2009 Indianapolis Colts tanking their last couple of games with a chance at perfection. As it turned out, they lost the Super Bowl anyway. So much for playing safe.
In the end, everything in golf (and any sport for that matter) is about execution. Once you decide what you are going to do, it’s all about committing to the shot. Perhaps Mickelson had some doubt in his mind about his strategy at Winged Foot, and it can always be argued that he should have played the hole differently, but it never looked like he doubted anything this week at Augusta, especially himself.
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