Defending Open Champion Phil Mickelson’s Struggles Continue

HOYLAKE, England — When he won the Open Championship last year, Phil Mickelson did so with a burst of birdies on the back 9 that came from nowhere.

Nobody ever expected him to win this tournament. Even he was staggered to do it, and he has since described it as his greatest achievement in golf. It was a victory that moved him to tears; since then, it has been his game that has moved him to tears.

The most popular Open champion of recent times has suffered horribly with all parts of his game this season, but most especially on the greens. He made the cut this week at Royal Liverpool easily enough but knows that he could have been in contention had he putted as we all know he can.

The left-hander endured another roller-coaster round Saturday. Starting the day on level par, he knew that he needed to go low if he was to have the remotest chance of successfully defending his title.

Phil_Mickelson_TheOpen_Feature2

Sadly, it was more of the same. He birdied the first, but dropped three shots on the front nine to reach the turn in 37, 2 over par. Mickelson being Mickelson, birdies followed at the 10th, 12th and 13th. If nothing else, the 44-year-old gave his fans value for money, but this wasn’t how he wanted to perform.

A 71 sees him start the final round on 1 under par. He will be finished and gone from here before the winner reaches the turn.

He missed the cut at the Masters, played miserably at the U.S. Open and is still looking for his first top-10 finish of the season in the United States.

Mickelson, once a shoo-in for any American Ryder Cup team, has fallen to 13th in the world rankings, is 97th in the FedExCup standings and is way outside the automatic places for the match against Europe in September. Tom Watson, the U.S. captain, already faces having to hand one of his wild cards picks to Tiger Woods — if he decides that Woods is worth one.

What will he do about Mickelson? On current form, neither of these giants of world and American golf is worth a pick. And it has to be said that Paul McGinley, the European captain, will be rubbing his hands together should Watson decide to select them both.

Related Link: Complete Open Championship Coverage

More Open Championship Coverage:
Remembering Renown Coach Bob Torrance
2014 Open Championship: Best Day 2 Style
5 Biggest Surprises Entering 2014 Open Championship Weekend
Round 2 Recap: Everyone Chasing McIlroy at Open Championship
Coetzee’s Climb Highlights Friday Morning at Open Championship
An Octopus’ Garden In The Shade
Billy Horschel to Wear Snakeskin Pants, Camo Polo at The Open
The Fringe: Mickelson Gives Up Jug & Crane’s Long Journey
Live from Liverpool: Open Championship Notebook Round 2
2014 Open Championship: Best Day 1 Style
Round 1 Recap: McIlroy Leads Open Championship, Tiger Lurking
Photos: Open Championship – Round 1
– Bubba Watson, Rory McIlroy Can’t Name The Beatles
– 2014 Open Championship’s Hole of the Day: Royal Liverpool’s 1st
– Rickie Fowler, Charl Schwartzel Pelt Exact Same Marshal on 16
– 2014 Open Championship Round 2 Tee Times and Pairings
– Golfers Do Impressions of Famed Announcer Ivor Robson
– 9 Best Golfers Yet to Win a Major
– Throwback Thursday: Royal Liverpool Champions
– Live from Liverpool: Open Championship Notebook Round 1
– Forklift Driver John Singleton Hangs with Pros at Open Championship
– Tiger Woods Shoots 3-Under, Getting ‘Sharper and Stronger’
– Ernie Els Has A Brain Cramp On First Hole
– Tiger Woods Hits Guy In The Face With Drive
– Henrik Stenson Breaks (Another) Club at Open Championship
– Inside The Ropes: Player Photos & Reactions From Royal Liverpool
– Golfstradamaus: 2014 Open Championship
– Erik Compton Living in the Now in 1st Trip to Open Championship
– Top 9 Moments in Open Championship History
– R&A Tries to Curb Betting, Has Players Sign Waivers
– Aye Aye Captain: SpongeBob GolfPants Return!
– 9 Best Groups To Watch at 2014 Open Championship
– Ian Poulter Has Arsenal Backing Him at Open Championship
– Despite Ranking, No One Better Than Martin Kaymer Right Now
– Best Fans at the Open Championship
– Pics: 2014 Open Championship Preview
– Top 9 Moments at Royal Liverpool
– Tiger Woods Believes He Can Win 2014 Open Championship
– 9 Craziest Open Championship Fan Outfits
– Will Ferrell Picks ‘The French’ To Win Open Championship
– Open Championship 2014: PUMA Golf Players Scripting
– Open Championship 2014: Nike Golf Players Scripting
– Open Championship 2014: Under Armour Scripting
– Open Championship 2014: adidas Golf Player Scripting
– Open Championship 2014: Oakley Scripting
– By the Numbers: Open Championship History
– The Odds: Adam Scott, Justin Rose Co-Favorites at The Open
– 9 Weird & Wild Open Championship Moments
– A Look at Open Championship Fashion Through the Years
– The Open Championship: Royal Liverpool Hole-By-Hole
– Many Things, Like Ladybugs, Have Filled Claret Jug
– Oh, the Places Golf’s Majors Trophies Have Been
– The Magnificent Seven: Who To Follow at Open Championship
– 9 Best Players Never to Win the Open Championship
– 15 Years Later: Jean Van de Velde’s Collapse at Carnoustie
– Open Championship Flashback: Tiger Woods Storms Hoylake in ’06 
– Drone Captures Incredible Footage of Royal Liverpool 
– Factory Worker Qualifies For The Open With Borrowed Clubs 
– Daly Can’t Wait to See Tiger at Royal Liverpool

RELATED STORIES

Na Reveals Off-Course Drama Of His Broken Engagement
Tour
Parnevik Penalized For Not Taking Mulligan After Hitting Himself
Tour
Hatton’s Fiancée Hilariously Slams Toilet Door In Backswing
Tour