- Associated Press - Thursday, May 3, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - Phil Mickelson has never been afraid to fail, even though he can look spectacular in doing just that.

Put him in the trees left of the fourth green at Augusta National with the Masters on the line, and Lefty will try to punch out right-handed.

He made triple bogey.

In his quest to finally win the U.S. Open, he was willing to carve a 3-iron around a tree from a clean lie in the left rough. It’s a shot he can pull off a majority of the time, but on this occasion in 2006, it struck the tree.

He made double bogey and lost by one.

“You’ve got to play without fear,” Mickelson said Wednesday at the Wells Fargo Championship. “You’re going to make mistakes. It’s going to happen. You have to deal with losing. It’s part of the tour. Out of 156 guys each week, one person is going to win, so 155 lose. But you can’t worry about that. Rather than play tentatively or with concern or with fear or let somebody else hand it to you, I always like to try to get the tournament in my control, where if I executive the shots, I’m able to pull off the victory.”

That sounds like someone else at Augusta _ Bubba Watson _ who played a risky, wild hook out of the trees and onto the 10th green on the second playoff hole to beat Louis Oosthuizen and slips his arms into a green jacket.

Mickelson knows the feeling, and both sides of the outcome.

The four-time major champion returns to golf this week at Quail Hollow for the first time since he tied for third at the Masters. Mickelson is part of another strong field at the Wells Fargo Championship that features Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood and Hunter Mahan from the top 10 in the world.

Mickelson took plenty of positives from the Masters, where he played in the final group.

He made a triple bogey on the 10th hole in the opening round, and a triple bogey on the fourth hole in the last round. He finished two shots out of the playoff.

“On the weekend, I felt I played about as well as I have ever,” Mickelson said. “I didn’t make a single bogey, other than the mishap on 4.”

In his eyes, that mishap was more about a bad break than a bad decision.

He practiced from the drop area and the bunker left of the green for that front pin, knowing that anything missing to the right was a sure bogey. Just his luck, the shot caromed sideways off the grandstand and into the woods, leaving him no escape.

Go back to the tee?

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