For one brief and breezy moment around lunchtime Friday, Phil Mickelson found a measure of his lost magic at this U.S. Open.
On The Country Club’s par-3 sixth with the hole cut in a spot that a safecracker couldn’t access, Mickelson watched his 57-foot birdie putt roll off a plateau on the back half of the green, through a Biarritz-like valley and back up another slope before diving into the hole the way he used to do it.
The gallery cheered as expected – there have been precious few roars but plenty of appreciative applause through two days of this national championship – and Mickelson flashed a smile that his now familiar stubble and sunglasses couldn’t hide.
As he walked off the green to climb the hill to the seventh tee, Mickelson gave a white-gloved thumbs-up to the crowd then handed his golf ball to a young girl on the ropes.
Phil being Phil.
You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.
From his tentative, evasive and uneasy press conference Monday until he hopped into a Lexus SUV to leave disappointed from another U.S. Open, Mickelson projected a weariness that he wore like his all-black outfit in Thursday’s disastrous first round.
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