Phil Mickelson shot is questioned by analyst — then Mickelson questions analyst

Phil Mickelson

Phil Mickelson on Thursday after his tee shot on the 8th hole at Phoenix Country Club.

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Phil Mickelson’s shot was questioned. 

Then Mickelson questioned the question. 

The Q and Q began after Mickelson’s second shot on Thursday on the 527-yard, par-5 18th at Phoenix Country Club. The six-time major winner had hit his tee shot into a left fairway bunker during the first round of the Champions Tour’s Charles Schwab Cup Championship, had the bunker lip about a yard or so in front of him, then hit 5-iron in an attempt to get home in two. 

“The ball sits on the upslope,” analyst Billy Ray Brown said on the Golf Channel broadcast. “But the lip is about two and a half to three feet up over the ball’s position right now, so he’s going to have to get it up very quickly. He’s got 193 to the front. I think this is a risky shot here. … It might catch the top of the bunker here.” 

“Well, if it hits that lip, it could go anywhere,” analyst Lanny Wadkins said. “There’s water right, and you don’t want any part of the bunkers there.”

Mickelson found neither. He hit to within about 30 feet of the hole, and he lipped-out from there on his way to a birdie four. After his six-under 65, he’s in a share of the lead in the season-ending event. 

“That’s not the type of shot you normally see on PGA Tour Champions,” Wadkins said on the broadcast. “There’s not a lot of guys out here that can do what he just did right there.”

And Brown questioned him about it.

After Mickelson signed his card, and an introductory question, he asked: “Talk about playing aggressive. Walk me through the second shot at 9. You had a buck 93 by my calculations to the front of the green there. Did you ever think about laying up instead of putting it on the green?”

To which Mickelson chirped: “No, should I have?” 

“Well, mere mortals would have probably laid that up,” Brown said. 

Mickelson then explained his shot. The lie was good, he said. He had to “cast the club a little bit and restore the loft.” He was worried only about the wind. “I didn’t flush it, but I got a little bit farther into the green than I thought I did,” Mickelson said.   

“It was a wonderful shot, and good luck tomorrow,” Brown said.  

“Thank you,” Mickelson said with a half-smile. 

Six seconds of silence later, the broadcast switched over to another player.  

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Nick Piastowski

Golf.com Editor