‘When you walk with your head down, animals, they get eaten’: Phil Mickelson ‘disappointed’ with attitude despite comeback win

March 23, 2018

The spectators following Phil Mickelson’s match with Satoshi Kodaira saw a dramatic comeback victory: after going 4 down on the front nine, Mickelson won the last three holes for a 1-up victory. But Mickelson himself saw the result a different way.

“I didn’t have great energy,” Mickelson said after the match. “I was fortunate to turn it around in the end, but I’m not real happy with the way I came out and wasn’t real positive and wasn’t really focused.”

Coming off a 3&2 first-round defeat at the hands of Charles Howell III, Mickelson needed a victory against Kodaira to give himself a chance to advance out of pool play. But despite making just one bogey, Mickelson found himself 4 down through seven holes and was displeased with his effort.

“I’m a little disappointed in my attitude. I’m walking with my head down. And you know what happens when you walk with your head down, animals, they get eaten.”

Mickelson was 2 down standing on the 16th tee, but had a tap-in birdie and watched Kodaira’s effort to match slide by. He made an eight-footer for par on 17, which was good enough to win the hole when Kodaira failed to get up and down from the bunker. But he still needed a birdie at the closing hole to take the match outright, and converted from just inside eight feet, sealing the 1-up win with a subtle fist pump.

He had no interest in patting himself on the back afterwards, however. “I’ve got to get more aggressive,” he said. “The back nine I did, the back nine I made five birdies and got lucky. It’s not a match I should have won, but I was lucky there in the end.”

Mickelson now needs to beat Rafa Cabrera-Bello and hope Howell loses to have a shot at coming out of the pool. His match went off at 10:14 a.m.