ARDMORE, Pa. —
But he flew the green with a wedge on the par-3 13th hole and made bogey on the easiest hole at Merion. He tried to hit wedge off the green on the 15th hole to give him a good shot at par, only he hit it so hard he made another bogey. And he never caught up. He wonders if he'll ever get another chance.
"At 43 and coming so close five times, it would have changed the way I look at this tournament altogether and the way I would have looked at my record," Mickelson said, dreaming one last time of winning. "Except that I just keep feeling heartbreak."
Rose was pacing in the scoring area, waiting for Mickelson to finish, wondering if he could catch him. At one point, he looked above the TV to that famous photo of Hogan hitting 1-iron into the 18th green in the 1950 U.S. Open to set up a playoff that he won the next day.
"When I walked over the hill and saw my drive sitting perfectly in the middle of the fairway, with the sun coming out, it was kind of almost fitting," Rose said. "And I just felt like at that point it was a good iron shot onto the green, two putts — like Hogan did — and possibly win this championship. So I felt like I did myself justice, and probably put enough of a good swing where Ben Hogan might have thought it was a decent shot, too."
As usual, someone's big moment in the U.S. Open came at Mickelson's expense.
All the stars were aligned. None of the putts fell in.
Lefty somehow blasted out of the rough to 8 feet on the 16th hole, but he missed the putt. His tee shot on the par-3 17th was just short enough that it didn't catch the funnel toward the hole, and he missed a long birdie putt. From the rough left of the 18th fairway, he couldn't quite reach the green and to chip in from about 40 yards.