Golf is cruel. Cruel, cruel, cruel, You can go out, post the round of your life, and still sit around talking with your buddies about the shots you almost made.
That'll definitely be the topic of conversation on Thursday at TPC Scottsdale, where Phil Mickelson had a 25-foot putt on his 18th hole of the day to post the sixth 59 in PGA Tour history. Mickelson, who had been unconscious earlier in the day, had left his previous birdie putt short on the par-4 8th to get to 12-under, but had a chance on his final hole.
The ball left his putter, started racing towards the hole and a couple of feet out I yelled, "It's in!" It was ... for a moment. But that nasty hole is round for a reason, and so is the ball, and the putt curled out almost 360-degrees back at the two-time winner of this event, almost teasing him.
[Related: Watch Phil Mickelson's lip-out at TPC Scottsdale to post 59]
Still, the 11-under 60 was pretty darn impressive.
Beginning on the back nine, Phil started his tournament with four straight birdies, made par on Nos. 14 and 15 (a par-5) and then made four more birdies in a row, cleaning up his front nine in 7-under 29 and kicked off his back nine with a circle. After a par on No. 2, Phil made birdies on Nos. 3 and 4 and adding another birdie on No. 7 after sticking it on the lengthy par-3. His finished his round with two straight pars to miss out on the coveted number by just one.
Maybe the craziest part of all this is that just a day ago, during the Waste Management Pro-Am, Bo Van Pelt shot a 59, meaning that TPC Scottsdale has yielded two rounds of 60 or lower in consecutive days.
Mickelson would have joined Al Geiberger (1977), Chip Beck ('91), David Duval ('99), Paul Goydos ('10) and Stuart Appleby ('10) as the only men in the history of the PGA Tour to join the 59 club.
The thing is, Mickelson has shot 59 before, just not in an official event. Back in 2004, at the Grand Slam of Golf, an unofficial event held for the major championship winners of that season, Phil had a putt to post 58, but couldn't convert the eagle putt and had to "settle" for 59 there.
[Related: Lefty benefited from lip-in at 2004 Augusta Masters]
Now comes the question of what to expect from Mickelson the rest of the week. Some tour players say the hardest thing to do is follow up a super low round with another good round of golf, but we know what happens when this guy gets on a run and you'd have to expect he won't let off the gas with three rounds to go. The lowest score to par at this event is 28-under through four rounds, so maybe Mickelson can put that number in his sights and aim at that.
No matter, it was an incredible day of golf for Mickelson, who missed very few shots and showed that on any given day, at any given tournament, Phil can show us that he is still one of the best in the world.
For golf updates throughout the week, and for the rest of the year, follow Shane Bacon on Twitter at @shanebacon.
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