Mickelson’s Debacle: We’ve All Been There

(ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.) April 12, 2012 — Lee Trevino once said, “Miss ’em quick, they hurt less.” Phil Mickelson’s disaster showed he was clearly paying attention at the 2012 Masters.

Phil’s disaster on No. 4 at Augusta shows he’s more like us than you’d think. The internal dialogue, if I may be so presumptuous, probably went something like this:

“What a bad break. I can’t believe this. Holy moly. Let’s get this thing out of here. Now. Quick! This looks really bad. I can’t believe this crap. I can make this shot. I can get back in this hole. I really can. Oh, no. It didn’t work!  Now it’s even worse! Damn! Can I even see that ball? Now, I have to make an impossible shot. Maybe if I just give it a good whack …”

Well, you get the idea.

How many times have we hit it behind a bush and rather than think things through, listen to our caddie or playing partner, consider our options or maybe take a drop and a dose of medicine, we lash out — even flail at the ball?

Even the best players in the world can be made to look foolish, rash, even insane in their decision-making. Exhibit A, I guess, is Jean Van de Velde in 1999, to whom the announcers practically shouted to the gallery and marshals, “Stop that man!”

I think the elapsed time from when Phil’s ball hit the grandstand railing to when he finally got back to the turfed area was about as long as the useful life of a screaming snap hook off No. 18 tee at Pebble Beach.

When he finally carded a triple-bogey 7, I think Phil made a lot of friends among the not-so-superhumans among us.

— Dan Vukelich

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