Phil Mickelson missed the cut at the PGA Championship for the first time in 22 years, courtesy of a career-worst 79 in Round 1. His departure from Quail Hollow concludes the worst major season of his professional career, and it’s hard to imagine the 47-year-old ever winning one of the top four tournaments again.
It’s the second time Mickelson has EVER missed the cut at the PGA Championship – the first coming in 1995. Birdies were scarce for Mickelson on Thursday and Friday, recording just three for the tournament and none in the opening round. Sure, the course was playing difficult and many top players struggled, but Quail Hollow has been kind to Lefty over the last decade or so with nine top 10 finishes over his last 13 starts.
No birdies for Phil Mickelson thru 17 holes. Last time he did that in a major? Gotta go all the way back to 21 days ago, at Royal Birkdale.
— Jason Sobel (@JasonSobelESPN) August 10, 2017
Mickelson opened 2017 on a promising note, earning a pair of top 10s before his 22nd place finish at the Masters. He missed the U.S. Open to attend his daughter’s graduation, then was dreadful at The Open last month to miss that cut as well. That means we only saw Mickelson play eight rounds in major championships this year, with just one weekend appearance. It’s also the first year since 2007 Mickelson hasn’t placed top 10 in a major.
It’s been four years since Mickelson won a golf tournament. Think about that for a moment.
Earlier this week, Mickelson made comments about Tiger Woods, explaining how Tiger’s dominance helped motivate Mickelson and was a big influence on his career.
— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) August 8, 2017
There’s a valid correlation here, considering the last time Woods won on tour was also 2013. Iron sharpens iron, I suppose.
It’s been a tumultuous year for Mickelson, beginning last fall when he underwent two sports hernia surgeries. And of course, there’s the breakup between Mickelson and his longtime caddie Jim “Bones” Mackay. We don’t know what’s happening between the ears of Mickelson, and maybe that’s not the issue. Maybe it’s the simple fact the veteran is drained.
This year’s PGA Championship was his 100th major. And there’s no secret it was one of his worst performances at one of golf’s biggest stages. In the first round, Mickelson hit more fairways than he did greens. This isn’t who Phil is. We’ve seen Mickelson excel in those difficult approach shots when his drives go wayward.
As the months and years wear on, the playing field grows stronger and continues to pass Mickelson by. We’ve already seen the likes of Jordan Speith, Rory McIlroy, and Dustin Johnson steal the spotlight. Now, it’s names such as Brooks Koepka and Hideki Matsuyama making their impact on the tour, which greater reduces Mickelson’s chances moving forward.
Who knows? Maybe Mickelson will pull off a Julius Boros performance, winning a major at 48-years-old. Lefty could still conceivably win on tour, but his odds are slim.
Phil Mickelson was quick getting to his car after that round of 79 — his worst ever at the PGA Championship.
— Steve Reed (@SteveReedAP) August 10, 2017
We know he’s never going to win the U.S. Open considering the curse which has hung over him since finishing second six times. Phil Mickelson could find himself in the top 20 at the Masters again – a tournament he has won three times – but we have to begin lowering our expectations. It’s more likely that Lefty will never win another major championship.