Phil Mickelson has missed the cut at the US Masters for only the second time in his career.
The 43-year-old has won the competition three times before – in 2004, 2006 and 2010 – but struggled to find his top form in the opening two rounds this time around and his score of five-over-par meant that he missed the cut - for the first time since 1997 - by one shot.
The American was naturally disappointed with the way he played and says that watching the remainder of the competition play out on television will serve as punishment for his poor play.
Speaking the reporters in Georgia, he said: “Kind of be my punishment.”
One thing he won’t have to ponder too much is the reason why he is not playing the weekend at Augusta. The five-time major winner made too many big scores – with two uncharacteristic triple-bogeys in the opening 36 holes tarnishing his overall score.
Previously, Mickelson has only ever made worse than a double-bogey three times in 82 rounds at Augusta.
The first of his two major errors came at the seventh on day one, when he made the a triple bogey for the first time in his Masters career at that hole.
On day two, it was the par-three 12th that caused him problems. The world number seven’s initial tee-shot left him with work to do as it landed in the front-bunker. His recovery shot was not much better, as he over-shot the green and ended up in the sand-trap at the back of the green.
His next chip was simply careless, as he over-shot the green once again and ended up back where he started from and, even though his next shot was a good one and allowed him to get down in two putts, the damage had already done.
“It’s tough to overcome those big numbers,” he admitted. “That’s what I’ve been nervous about is having a hole like 7 yesterday, a hole like 12 today, where I go along, making pars, putting the ball in the right spot, and you just get a bad situation."
Mickelson’s preparations for this year’s Masters were interrupted due to an injury which initially threatened to rule him out of the competition.
But despite making it back to fitness in time for the tournament, he could not find the form that has established him as one of the most successful golfers to ever play at Augusta. He wouldn’t blame this for his poor showing, though.
Mickelson’s failure to make the cut means that this weekend will be the first in 20 years where neither him nor Tiger Woods - who was ruled out prior to the competition due to injury - will be playing.
2012 champion Bubba Watson is the current leader, three shots clear of the chasing pack at seven-under-par.
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