Phil Mickelson has a reputation for pulling off great shots from the pine straw. (Has it really been a decade since that miraculous shot on No. 13 at Augusta National?)
Well, we can add another to the list of Lefty’s memorable escapes.
Mickelson, who leads by four shots entering Wednesday’s final round of his PGA Tour Champions debut, fired a second-round, 7-under 64, which was highlighted by a crazy birdie at the par-5 ninth that involved a fortuitous ruling and a driver off the deck, err, pine straw.
After driving his ball under a tree and up against some roots, Mickelson appeared to have no shot. But he noticed a loose wire hanging from the tree that impeded with a potential swing.
“I’m going to get hurt, potentially,” he told a rules official.
The official agreed. Mickelson was granted relief, though he still had to navigate a post about 10 yards in front and slightly right of his ball. After contemplating his options, called his brother and caddie, Tim, over for a club change.
“Give me the driver,” Mickelson said.
And in true “Phil the Thrill” fashion, Mickelson punched a driver down just short of a greenside bunker and got up and down for the birdie.
Mickelson later explained the decision: “The fact is I had to hit a low cut, and it was much easier to hit a low cut with that club than it was a 2-iron. I had left-to-right wind, and I was going to have to play right of that post, and that wind was going to take it further right, and a 2-iron was going to be too hard for me to get it to cut back into that wind. A driver off the deck cuts almost automatically.”