Home' Australian Golf Digest : July 2017 Contents 86 australiangolfdigest.com.au | july 2017
before the other one everyone wore to show
respect for those who died that week in Nice
[an attack in France that killed 86 and injured
434]. He had an inner calmness all week.
tim barter Earlier in the week, he had
talked about how he’s 40 now and had
maybe five years left of being able to compete
in Major championships.
pete cowen By the Wednesday afternoon, I
knew he was going to play well, because he
was in a bunker that afternoon showing off.
It was down to him and Lordy [Gareth Lord],
really. I always say that to Lordy when Henrik
is in a good place, “There’s only you can cock
it up from here.” [Laughs.]
gareth lord We caddies are not allowed to
bet, of course, but I get asked all the time if
it’s worth investing in Henrik. In the lead-up
to Troon, I was telling people even I couldn’t
put him off. That’s all I’ll say on that subject.
pete cowen Henrik is hard to predict. It
depends which Henrik turns up. He has three
ways to hit the ball: good, very good and
perfect. And he doesn’t like the first two. He
thinks he can only win with perfect. Which
DAY 1: A TEAM MEETING AND A 621⁄2
phil mickelson Most of the low scores were
on the outward nine, where it was downwind.
But it was difficult for me because the wind
was right to left – I always struggle with a
really strong slice wind. On the second hole
I made about a 25, 30 -foot putt, and that was
big for me. I relaxed a little, didn’t really force
gareth lord Phil was maybe 90 minutes
ahead of us. He was God knows how many
under after 11 holes. I was looking at the
board and shaking my head. We were
something like six behind, and we’d played
only five holes. So that eagle [by Stenson at
the sixth] was important.
Mickelson birdies the par-5 16th and the
par-3 17th and needs to birdie the par-4 18th
to shoot a Major-championship-record 62.
phil mickelson After I steered the tee shot
at 18 a little bit, I made a conscious effort to
be aggressive. Cut the 6-iron back into that
strong left-to-right wind, which I did. Gave
myself a good look at it. After I hit it, Ernie
[Els] said, “You know what that’s for?” I said,
“ You’re darn right I do.”
jim mackay I’ll tell you a funny story. I start
walking, and Phil goes, “Whoa, whoa, whoa!”
And he’s like, “Team meeting.” First time
in 24 years he called a team meeting during
a round. His opening line is, “Do you know
what this putt is for?” And I went, “Yeah.” He
goes, “You know, historically speaking?” and
I went, “Yeah, of course – 62.” He goes, “OK,
I need your best read ever right here.” I’m
like, “Man, I’m on board.” We’re now walking
towards the green, and I’m thinking, Well,
this is going to kind of be like a guy throwing
a no-hitter. No one’s going to say anything
going up to the green. You know, superstitions.
Ernie is like, “Cousi [cousin], I want a 62.”
Ernie was all in. The whole way down, he’s
literally rubbing Phil’s shoulders. He’s
pumping him up: “You can do it!”
phil mickelson Special guy. We all knew
walking up to the green that it was a chance
to make history. It was fun to have that
chance. We both had the same read, just a
little bit outside the hole. It’s just going to
break a couple of inches to the left. Wasn’t
a hard putt: uphill, right to left. I hit it good.
Well, it was in the middle of the hole with
four inches to go. There’s no way that it could
miss. But it did.
jim mackay, who tumbled backwards to the
ground, feet up, after the putt missed: Steve
Sands [the Golf Channel announcer] called
me over and said, “Let me play this back for
you.” They had this super-duper close-up of
it hitting what appeared to be maybe a small
pebble that had come out of a bunker.
lee westwood, the third member of
Mickelson’s group: I said to him, “I’m not sure
how that missed.” I’m still not sure.
jim mackay As a caddie, we sit on the sides
of the greens and watch our players putt. I’ve
been doing it now for 27, 28 years. Because of
the angles and your whole depth-perception
thing, you can see a ball roll up to a hole from
the side, you can see the speed, you can see
the way it’s breaking, and a foot or two from
the hole you can say, That’s absolutely in,
and 99 times out of 100 it goes in. Phil was
crushed. As he said, 63 in the first round of a
Major, and we left there just crestfallen.
henrik stenson I saw Phil’s putt on
television that night. I saw him the next
morning when I walked past the putting
green and gave him some shit. I finished up
on 68 at the end of the first day. Phil was only
five better. [Laughs.]
phil mickelson Somebody will shoot 62
at some point, but on that course in those
conditions ... it was different than Phoenix
[his putt for 59 that did a 180-degree lip-out
at Scottsdale on the US PGA Tour in 2013].
DAY 2: “THIS IS THE WEEK”
pete cowen On Friday, before Henrik shot
65, he actually said to me, “This is the week.”
He just knew. So did I. And so did Lordy. I was
trying not to get too excited. I had seen Henrik
this good before, most recently at the Players
Championship in May. Lordy and I were with
him at the bottom end of the range there. We
were the only ones there. He hit 100 shots
and didn’t miss one. In succession. Not one. I
told Lordy I had never seen anything like that
before from any player. He of course told all
his pals to bet on Henrik. And he missed the
bloody cut. I vowed then never to say anything
again about how well he’s hitting the ball. You
never quite know for sure with Henrik.
jim mackay Phil shoots 69 the second day.
Solid follow-up. Uneventful. It rained a lot.
He had the two gloves going. He’s got this
great track record of playing in two gloves.
henrik stenson My goal when I started on
Friday was to beat the bad weather we knew
was coming, and to just get a bit closer to Phil,
but it turned out to be a whole lot more than
that [cutting the lead to one]. The weather
got worse and worse, so we definitely got the
right half of the draw. Anyone playing that
afternoon had no chance to win, basically.
gareth lord We were watching the golf on
television that afternoon. The house was
shaking. Butch Harmon [on Sky Sports] said:
“I bet Stenson and Mickelson are back in their
hotel rooms with their feet up and big smiles
on their faces.” And two minutes later, Phil
had texted Butch to say, “Yes, I am.”
henrik stenson We’ve all been there. I’ve
been out there in a car wash thinking of guys
back in their rooms with their feet up.
DAY 3: PULLING AWAY
rich beem, 2002 US PGA champion and Sky
Sports announcer: You can always tell when
guys are going well. It’s the way they carry
themselves, the way they walk. Everything
they did was in slow motion. I talked to
Henrik before they went out. He was already
in his zone. Phil was the way he always is in
the limelight: he wants it and enjoys it.
henrik stenson On the fifth he putted close
and said he would mark, but when it started
to rain he decided to finish. I asked him if
he was afraid of a little water. [Laughs.] We
had a few of those friendly little moments
out there. We both respect each other a lot,
and there has always been a jokey, sarcastic
atmosphere with us. He’s a lot of fun.
jim mackay We got that amazing break on 12,
where Phil blocked a 2-iron off the tee, and
it took a bounce and hit in the gorse bush;
bounced off it.
rich beem He looked dead. But he swung
through the gorse, caught the ball cleanly
and hit it just short of the green. No one
except Phil would even have tried that shot.
jim mackay And we made 4 as opposed to 6
or 7. He made the fricking downhill 10-footer
for par. Big fist pump. When Phil won the
Masters in ’04, his first Major, he had played
some great Majors before, and things hadn’t
worked out. I remember Tiger saying in an
interview, to win Majors you’ve got to play
really well, and you’ve got to get the breaks.
On Friday of the ’04 Masters, Phil pulled
like a 5-iron on 13, and the ball rolled into [a
’ON FRIDAY, BEFORE HENRIK SHOT 65,
HE ACTUALLY SAID TO ME,
“THIS IS THE WEEK.”
HE JUST KNEW. SO DID I.’
– PETE COWEN
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