So maybe Mickelson has that going for him. He hasn’t lost in a U.S. Open playoff yet.
Despite his record six silver medals, the U.S. Open is the one major that Mickelson has had the most chances to win.
He plays the Masters consistently better, and he has won three green jackets, but Mickelson had only three other reasonable chances to win at Augusta National.
Mickelson has had only two good shots at the British Open, in 2004 at Royal Troon and in 2011 at Royal St. George’s. And while he won the PGA Championship in 2005 at Baltusrol, his only other chances were at Valhalla in 1996, Atlanta in 2001 when David Toms beat him with a par putt on the last hole, and Whistling Straits in 2004 when he finished two shots out of a playoff.
But the U.S. Open? Lefty seems to be in the hunt every other year.
He twice had chances at Shinnecock Hills. He played the par-5 16th hole in 6-over par for the week in 1995. That would be operator error. In 2004, Mickelson ran into a great putting performance from Retief Goosen, who one-putted the last six holes on greens so fast they barely had any grass. Mickelson contributed to his runner-up finish with a three-putt from 5 feet above the hole on No. 17 for a double bogey.
Mickelson gave a valiant effort at Bethpage Black in 2002. He started the day five shots behind Tiger Woods, which was not a fair fight. Mickelson was six shots behind going into the final round at Bethpage in 2009 and was tied for the lead with five holes to play. He missed a 3-foot putt on the 15th and an 8-footer on the 17th.
He was right there at Pebble Beach in 2010, the most visibly angry he’s been over how the USGA let the greens get away in the last round. How his birdie putt stayed out on No. 14 in the final round is one of golf’s many mysteries.