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Mickelson lipout 'As painful a 60 as you're ever going to see'

on Fri, 02/01/2013 - 10:28am
By Scott Michaux

The Phoenix Open is not known for its silence.

 

The PGA Tour event hosted annually by a group called the Thunderbirds thrives on decibels. Its famous "stadium" 16th hole is the most raucous spot in the entire golf world. If you don't agree, just Google up Tiger Woods' ace there in 1997 and watch the beer cups flying.

 

That is what makes this video of Phil Mickelson's 59 attempt on Thursday so compelling. By the time he reached the ninth green -- his last of the day -- the largest galleries in golf had flocked around to see history happen.

 

And even the TV announcers and the folks in Phoenix shut the heck up in reverence. 

 

For a full 32 seconds as Mickelson stalks, assesses and pulls the trigger on a 25-footer to join the magical 59 club, there is silence. It's deafening, really. The exact opposite of an Augusta roar and just as pulse quickening. The only distant intrusion is a faint siren that seems to almost be alerting the rest of the outside world that something momentous is about to happen.

 

The crowd on site is so moved by the moment that the ball is a full 10 feet away from Mickelson's putter face before the first "Get in the hole!" breaks the peace. And this time everyone is saying the same thing to themselves. The noise slowly builds as the ball rolls closer to the cup and everyone -- including Phil making the pointed-putter walk behind it -- just knows it's going to drop.

 

Then it doesn't. The ball makes the slowest 180-degree U-turn in and out of the cup you'll ever see and horseshoes right back at Mickelson. He slaps his head with the palm of his hand in disbelief. His caddie, Bones Mackay, drops to his knee and crawls across the green in anguish. The gallery echoes the groaning sound track that surely plays in front of every television that's tuned in for the moment.

 

And the Golf Channel commentator says exactly what everyone else is thinking.

 

"OH NOOOOOOOOOO! Oh my goodness! Have you ever seen a crueler lipout than that? As painful a 60 as you're ever going to see."

 

Indeed.