Star group of Mickelson, McIlroy, Spieth crash at Shinnecock
Three holes into his 27th U.S. Open, Phil Mickelson called over a rules official for a question rarely heard. “Is there a rule that allows me to see the ball when I hit it?” he asked. There was no relief for Mickelson. Not on the 12th hole at Shinnecock Hills. Not at many others. And he wasn’t alone. Mickelson was in the marquee group Thursday morning, which featured three players who have a dozen majors among them. And because USGA officials try to have a sense of humour, they put together the only three active players who have three legs of the career Grand Slam. Mickelson shot a 77. He had the lowest score in the group. Jordan Spieth shot a 78, his highest score in a major. Rory McIlroy, who came bouncing into this major full of confidence and affection for Shinnecock Hills, was 10-over par through 11 holes. He played even par the rest of the way and shot an 80 for his highest score in the U.S. Open. How did this happen? Hard to say. Mickelson and McIlroy refused requests to speak to the media. “There were certainly some dicey pins,” Spieth said. “But at the same time, there was guys that shot under par. So I could have played better.” This was a painful to watch from the start at No. 10, where Spieth made bogey with a threeputt from long range and Mickelson went over the green. That’s to be expected at the U.S. Open. It quickly unraveled for Spieth. From a bunker right on the par-3 11th, his shot came out strong toward the hole and went just far enough to catch a slope and roll out some 15 yards. His first pitch came back to his feet. His second pitch nearly did. He used a putter and hit that 6 feet by the hole. Twenty-five minutes after he teed off, it looked as though his U.S. Open could be over. He made the putt for triple bogey, leaving him at 4 over through two holes.