With reports that Phil Mickleson is likely to miss the 2017 U.S. Open at Erin Hills to instead attend his daughter’s high school graduation, we’re reminded of the scene in Pinehurst in 1999, summed up in the video above with interviews with Mickelson and Jim “Bones” Mackay.
The narrative was established at the 1999 U.S. Open, when Mickelson played in the final pairing of the final round with Payne Stewart under the gauzy gray sky at Pinehurst No. 2 in Pinehurst, N.C. He was prepared to leave that championship at a moment’s notice, regardless of his score or station on the leaderboard, if his wife Amy went into labor with their first child.
The beeper he carried with him never went off. But Stewart did, one-putting the last three holes to relegate Mickelson to a runner-up finish. Then, after Stewart punched the sky, he cradled Mickelson’s face in his hands and reminded him that he wasn’t getting a consolation prize, but was about to receive the ultimate prize – fatherhood.
The first of his and Amy’s three children, Amanda, was born the next day, June 21, five days after Phil celebrated his 29th birthday.
And then, of course, after Payne made the fateful putt: