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Mickelson Comes Close, Once Again
With a rowdy and vocal New York crowd behind him, it looked like Phil Mickelson might finally get over the hump and claim victory in the U.S. Open. But it was not to be in the final round Monday, as Mickelson couldn't quite muster the shots - or get crucial putts to fall - to overtake champion Lucas Glover.
The 39-year-old closed with an even-par 70 to tie for second at 2-under-par 278 with David Duval (71) and Ricky Barnes (76), two strokes behind Glover. Mickelson, the favorite of the large and vocal New York gallery, was tied for the lead at one point on the back nine, but bogeys on two of the four final holes spelled his doom, yet again.
Before heading off on a family vacation, Mickelson, who's now finished as the Open runner-up five times, met with reporters and discussed the what-could-have-beens in his latest near miss.
Q. Reflect on the tournament overall and your thoughts?
PHIL MICKELSON: Yeah, it was a very it was a lot of ups and downs for me as far as a lot of birdies a lot of bogeys fighting to get into it, back out, back in it. Kind of an emotional four days or five days. I thought the grounds crew and USGA did a great job getting it in. I was standing on the eighth tee box after a couple of bogeys at even par not looking good, and I fought back in it with that birdie on 9, birdie on 12 eagle on 13, and put myself in a great position to close it out. But unfortunately didn't finish it off. And certainly I'm disappointed, but now that it's over, I've got more important things going on, and, oh, well.
Q. Do you feel like you need a vacation?
PHIL MICKELSON: Well, it's not that I need a vacation; it's just that we're not going to have a chance in the next couple of months to have a lot of family time. And so, yeah, as a family, we need it.
Q. Who is more disappointed when you missed the birdie putt on 18, you or the fans here? Can you talk a little bit about the New York crowd this week?
PHIL MICKELSON: The people here are incredible. And I just keep thinking that this is like the ideal spot to hold The Ryder Cup. The fans here, first of all, the golf course is terrific, because 16, 17 and 18 are so close together. And the way the fans are, I think that we'd have a big advantage.
Q. Did you have a chance to talk to Amy after the round? If so, can you give us an idea?
PHIL MICKELSON: Not yet. We'll talk on the way back. I'm going to we're going to pick her up and go straight from there.
Q. What are the emotions now?
PHIL MICKELSON: A lot of ups and downs, and I think now that we're going to get started here in about 10 days, I think that once we get going it might be a little bit easier; the wait has been difficult. But, you know, I don't really know where to go with that. Just that there's some more important things going on.
Q. Can you walk us through the two putts on 15 and 17? Looked like you put good strokes on those.
PHIL MICKELSON: 15, I hit a great second shot out on the rough to put it on the back tier, and the first putt came up obviously further than I wanted. And I played for a lot less break than it did. I just thought that it was going to stop breaking, and it broke a little more. The one on 17 was not a good putt. I needed to give it more speed because it was slightly uphill and I didn't hit it firm enough at all.
Q. There was another second in U.S. Open; was it less disappointing?
PHIL MICKELSON: I think maybe it's more in perspective for me, because I don't feel I feel different this time. I don't know where to go with this, because I want to win this tournament badly. This is now my fifth second. And surprisingly not surprisingly, I play well in this event and I enjoy this event. It's a challenge for me because it's difficult off the tee. It's not as easy to get up and down around the greens, but I thought the way the courses have been set up the last couple of years, I feel I'll have more and more chances.
Q. What does it say about Lucas, that he was able to hold it together, at least at the very end?
PHIL MICKELSON: He played some incredible golf. I never saw him hit a shot. I was always out on the course the same time he was. We were on the same wave. There was never a time where I had a chance to watch him hit a shot. All I know is he shot 4 under par on a very difficult golf course and closed it out in the end.
Q. The eagle on 13, was it difficult to not think for a fleeting second that you had it?
PHIL MICKELSON: I didn't think I had it. I thought I was tied for the lead at the time. I thought I needed to play most likely under par to have won outright. As it turned out, that's what I needed to do. I felt that that eagle put me right in position, though.
Q. To come and play one PGA Tour event and then play under these circumstances and take this tournament, you can comment on that?
PHIL MICKELSON: It's incredible. It's not like it's the first time that it's happened. But I think it's incredible because usually it's a progression to be able to pull it together and play well the last couple of days. Here he is within the shot of the lead the last 36 holes and he played some solid golf for two rounds. It was very impressive play.
The above interviews are courtesy of the USGA. For a full list of the interviewed players at the U.S. Open in Bethpage Black, visit http://www.usopen.com/en_US/players/interviews.html.