By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. -- Turns out, all that was hurt was Phil Mickelson's pride.
But he did take a tumble on the rocks beside the Pacific Ocean as he searched for his drive at the par-518th hole on Saturday. His feet went out from under him and Mickelson ended up sitting abruptly on the sand, the television cameras catching what was actually a relatively graceful spill.
"I got lucky," Mickelson said. "I didn't get hurt."
The triple bogey capped a frustrating day for Mickelson, who ended up on the cut line at 1 under after a third-round 73. His expectations for his title defense had been so much higher after the performance he turned in last week in Phoenix, shooting 28 under to win by four strokes.
"We got perfect weather, and I just couldn't get going, and then to finish with a triple, it doesn't feel great, but it was really a fun day to play golf," Mickelson said. "I just wish I had played a lot better."
Had Mickelson been able to birdie the scenic par 5, he would have started Sunday's final round at 5 under, with an outside shot of catching Brandt Snedeker. Instead, Mickelson, who came from six shots back with a final-round 64 last year, now will have an early tee time, trailing by 11 strokes.
"That triple takes a lot of the wind out, because if I could have made a birdie on last hole, be within six, seven shots of the lead, you never know," Mickelson said. "Kind of like what happened last year if I get a hot round, but now that put me a little bit too far back."
Mickelson said he doesn't really know what the problem is. "I wish I did," he said. "It would be easier to fix." He didn't rule out summoning his swing guru, Butch Harmon, prior to next week's Northern Trust Open, his fifth straight event and a tournament which he has won twice and posted two runner-up finishes in his last six starts.
"I've been just a little bit off this week: Just a little bit off on the greens, just a little bit off with the driving, just a little bit off with the irons," Mickelson said. "It just has not quite been on."