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Question of the Day
Lost in all this was Charlie Wi, who started the final round with a three-shot lead. Wi four-putted for double bogey on the opening hole, dropped another shot on the fifth, then three-putted from 15 feet for bogey on the sixth. Only a late rally gave him a 72 to finish two shots behind Mickelson for his fifth career runner-up finish.
The win gave Mickelson his 40th career victory — his goal is to get to 50, and this will help. He also became the third straight winner on the PGA Tour to start the final round at least six shots behind.
And to do it with Woods as a mere bystander?
“I love playing with him, and he brings out some of my best golf. I hope that he continues to play better and better, and I hope that he and I have a chance to play together more in the final rounds.”
“I was moping. It was terrible,” Mickelson said. “And she said, ‘Come on, now, cheer up. Let’s go make some birdies.’ And she was so positive, and it just changed my attitude.”
He became a four-time winner at Pebble Beach, where his grandfather used to caddie.
It’s more about the momentum he hopes this will give him going into the rest of the year. Mickelson had not won since the Houston Open last year and had fallen out of the top 10 in the world. He started this season believing his game was about to turn the corner, only to miss the cut at Torrey Pines and finish out of the top 25 in two other tournaments.
“It’s one of the more emotional victories for me than I’ve had, and the reason is I’ve had some doubt these last couple of weeks, given the scores I’ve shot,” Mickelson said. “Having these great practice sessions, I started to wonder if I’m going to be able to bring it to the golf course. So this gives me a lot of confidence and erases the doubt.”
Despite the six-shot deficit, Mickelson drew optimism from recent history — not only his record playing alongside Woods, but the nature of Pebble Beach. He was tied for the 54-hole lead in 2001 when Davis Love erased a seven-shot deficit in seven holes, shot 63 and won.
As for the confidence he gets playing with Woods?
“I just seem more focused,” Mickelson said. “I know that his level of play is so much greater when he’s playing his best that it just forces me to focus on my game more intently, and hit more precise shots.”
That’s what he did.
After picking up birdies on Nos. 2 and 4, Mickelson got a bonus with an 8-iron that plopped down 2 feet from the cup for a tap-in birdie at the par-3 fifth. His approach to the par-5 sixth hopped onto the green and then came another break. He knew the putt broke to the right and had a line picked out.
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