by Jeff Skinner
He came into this Open Championship with such hope. After fighting against the nuances of links golf Phil Mickelson had changed his attitude and was finally enlightened enough to realize that his “playing it in the air” game needed an adjustment. At last week’s Scottish Open he fired two superb rounds and looked to have finally found his “links style” game.
After two torturous days at Royal Lytham & St. Annes which saw him seemingly in everyone of the 205 bunkers the agony is over. Rounds of 73-78 have put Lefty well of the cut line and his quest for the Claret Jug is postponed until next year.
His trouble started during his opening round front nine when he went four over par on holes seven through nine which included an unplayable and the deepest rough on the course.
Today wasn’t any better and as he labored through his back nine and with the realization that his chance was gone he ballooned to a painful 78.
The numbers were ugly: 7 bogeys, four double bogeys to only four birdies. Phil only hit 43% of the fairways and 42% of the greens. While many of his tee shots weren’t terribly off line those that were found the most difficult lies and Phil could never recover.
It has to be difficult for Phil to have taken such a beating from Lytham when he thought he had changed his game enough to contend. His window for winning more majors is closing, maybe a bit quicker than we all realize, and with his health issues who can say if he can be a real factor in the chase for those coveted major championships.