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Mickelson lying low, but talk swirls
By Damon Hack, New York Times
Berkshire Eagle
Tuesday, June 27

Phil Mickelson ended his silence last week in the form of a two-page memo, a statement that his travails on the final hole of the U.S. Open had temporarily robbed him of his happy gene.
Instead of playing in a par-3 competition yesterday and today in Michigan, Mickelson said he did not think it was fair to the event "to act like I could have a lot of fun right now," and withdrew. He had participated in the event for seven straight years.

More than a week after his collapse at Winged Foot Golf Club on June 18, Mickelson remains the focal point of discussion in golf, not only for the double bogey that cost him his third straight major championship, but also for what lies ahead for a player who went from genius to nincompoop.

"He just has to keep trying and keep playing," said Jerry Pate. "I think this will ultimately help him become a better ball striker, and it'll build on his desire to win more. I think Phil will win a U.S. Open."

While Mickelson has remained mostly silent — an interview request through his publicist, T.R. Reinman, was declined — others have stepped into the void, speculating on Mickelson's choices during his fateful final hole at Winged Foot and on how he will respond in later tournaments.

Mickelson's implosion has been compared to Jean van de Velde's final hole collapse at the 1999 British Open at Carnoustie and to Greg Norman's daylong slide at the 1996 Masters.

While both players ultimately won tournaments again — Norman the following year, van de Velde seven years later — neither won major titles after their infamous freefalls.

Mickelson will not be able to heal in the shadows forever. He is scheduled to speak at a July 4 news conference at the Western Open, where both he and Tiger Woods are expected to return after their disappointments from Winged Foot. Woods missed the cut, his first time to do so in a major as a professional.

"My tagline for the whole Open is that, in the last 19 holes, Phil Mickelson hit as many tents as he did fairways," Pate said.

"Under pressure, you do crazy things. But I think this will make him a better player."

Read more at Berkshire Eagle

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