Agony: Phil Mickelson Needed One Putt for a 59

Yesterday was the first round of the PGA’s Phoenix Open at TPC Scottsdale, and Phil Mickelson tore the course to pieces. It started with a bang: four straight birdies, two pars, and then three more birdies for a 29 on the front. When he birdied three of the next four holes, he needed just two more to go -12 on the day, which would put him dead on that legendary number …

In official PGA events, a 59 has happened just five times. The most famous was David Duval’s in 1999, when he looked poised to challenge Tiger Woods for control of the golf world and left a trail of scorched earth at the Bob Hope Classic. Most recently, Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby did it in 2010 (Appleby’s was on a par-70 course, making it just slightly less legendary). It’s an exclusive club, and if you shoot 59, you’re in the history books for good.

Mickelson got the first of the two birdies he needed on the par-3 seventh (he played the front nine last), and came onto the ninth green, his last hole of the day, needing a 25-foot birdie to leave the 60s behind …

There are no words.

But there’s some consolation — Mickelson shot a 59 in 2004 at the Grand Slam of Golf, an unofficial PGA event. But still … GAH.

Filed Under: Golf, Shane Ryan, Tiger Woods

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Shane Ryan is a contributing writer for Grantland. His book about the young stars of the PGA Tour will be published by Random House in early 2015.

Archive @ ShaneRyanHere