By Brian Wacker, PGATOUR.COM
WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- For the second straight year Phil Mickelson won’t be around for the weekend at The Greenbrier Classic.
Mickelson shot a second straight 1-over 71 Friday to miss the cut at The Old White TPC.
“I don't get it,” a frustrated Mickelson said. “I certainly struggled a little bit on the greens both years, but nothing that should have led to these scores.”
At one point, it looked like a penalty on the 11th hole might cost Mickelson a spot on the weekend. When he went to mark his ball on the green, he dropped his ball marker on the ball, causing it to move.
Mickelson moved his ball back to its original position, but the result was a one-stroke penalty.
The rule Mickelson violated was Rule 20-1/15, which says any accidental movement of the ball or the ball-marker which occurs before or after this specific act, such as dropping the ball or ball-marker, regardless of the height from which it was dropped, is not considered to be directly attributable and would result in the player incurring a penalty stroke.
“First time that's happened to me that I can ever remember,” Mickelson said. “I certainly appealed it because I didn't think I was in the act of marking the ball, but under the decisions and the way it's worded, anytime a coin slips out of your finger, if you're not holding onto it, it says, regardless of height, that it's a penalty.”
In the end, it didn’t matter. Mickelson finished more than a stroke off the current cut line.
For a second day in a row, he had two bogeys, two birdies and a double bogey -- the latter coming on the par-3 15th, where he missed the green left, then left his pitch over a bunker short of the putting surface before missing a 13-footer to save bogey.
Mickelson struggled just as much off the tee -- he hit only six fairways -- as he did with his putter with 30 putts in the second round. A day earlier, he wasn’t much better with 29.
It was the seventh straight round Mickelson failed to break par, a career worst.
“I really have been [off],” Mickelson said. “I don't know what to say about that. The parts don't feel that far off, but I haven't been putting them together. It doesn't feel bad off the tee, it doesn't feel bad with the iron play, it doesn't feel bad chipping or putting, but I'm making a lot of loose drives here or there, some loose iron shots here or there, missing some short putts here or there.”
Mickelson will head home this weekend before flying over to Europe on Monday. He’ll spend a few days vacationing there with his family there before arriving at Royal Lytham & St. Annes next Friday to prepare for the British Open.
“I’ll spend a lot of time there and try to get the short game sharp,” Mickelson said. “Then lastly I'll have to just get in a much better frame of mind where I'm not letting so many shots slip away throughout the round.”