Sports Illustrated’s Alan Shipnuck has a new podcast, In the Rough, and the debut edition features Phil Mickelson’s caddie, Jim “Bones” Mackay. On it, Shipnuck poses a tough question:
Which of Mickelson’s six U.S. Open runner-up finishes was the most painful?
The answer might surprise you: It’s not Winged Foot.
“It’s probably a tie,” Mackay says. “I would say between Shinnecock in 2004 and Pinehurst in 1999. Just because he played so amazingly well in both of them.”
Mackay explains, and is recounted by Golf.com’s Coleman McDowell:
The 1999 U.S. Open was the memorable duel between Mickelson and Payne Stewart where Stewart won by a single stroke.
“At Pinehurst, it was so surreal,” Mackay says. “You’re out there in the mist, and it’s like being on a movie set. At that point, he hadn’t won a major, and Amy was incredibly pregnant. Phil played so incredibly well and got beat by a guy who made the greatest par putt I’ve ever seen on 16, then birdied 17 and made a putt on 18. It was a tough pill to swallow.”
Mackay, it turns out, blames himself for Mickelson’s short birdie miss on 17:
“Phil brought me in for the read,” Mackay says. “We both thought it was pretty straight. He hit the putt, and I’ve only seen it once or twice on video, but it broke definitively to the right and didn’t go in. Payne makes the birdie putt to go one ahead, which was the difference in the tournament. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about that, and if I had a do-over in my career, it would be that read.”
Shipnuck tries to smooth it over:
“I asked Phil,” Shipnuck says. “He says he pulled it.”
“Did he really?” Mackay says. “There you go, I’ve never asked him. That’s not something you talk about with your player there in the moment.”
Please check out the podcast below. Great stuff: