The Golfer of the Year – an award Ballesteros won on three occasions in 1986, ‘88 and ‘91 – is voted for by the golf media. He beat off competition from Rose, Tommy Fleetwood, Tyrrell Hatton and Rookie of the Year Jon Rahm...
Mickelson ‘heartbroken’ after round of 63 falls just short of making history
Phil Mickelson says he was left heartbroken after narrowly missing out on becoming the first golfer in history to record a round of 62 in a major championship.
The ball rolled within centimetres of the hole but did not quite make it, meaning ‘Lefty’ was not able to celebrate what had been a wonderful opening-day round of 63 with quite the same vigour had he sank the putt.
Speaking to Sky Sports, Mickelson said: "This is pretty heart breaking because I had this ball right in the centre of the hole with a foot to go. It was perfect speed - I don't understand how this happened.
“It moved - I don't understand that."
He added: "To have played this round and to have walked away feeling like I want to cry is a very awkward feeling."
However, Mickelson can take solace from the fact he now leads the field after posting the 28th round of 63 in a major and is only the ninth player to record that score at the Open; the last being Rory McIlroy in 2010.
And Mickelson’s effort was also the lowest round at Troon, beating the 64 of Greg Norman in 1989 and Tiger Woods in 1997.
In a close to flawless performance, Mickelson holed eight birdies including at 16 and 17 in a late charge which left everyone else on the greens looking on. And old ‘Lefty’ didn’t even drop a single shot.
Mickelson said of his improved putting: "The secret was just a bunch of practice on lag putting. At 14 I had a look at Lee Westwood's putt right before me. In the middle there was a little bit of a tier where the ball would go up and it took his ball more to the right than I had suspected so I played further to my left so that it would take it on line before the last six feet [when] it would go back to the left, so to see his putt was very helpful."
It will be tough for Mickelson to get over how close he came to making history, but the man is a veteran in the game and has steel like few others in golf.
Asked whether he was aware history was there for the making on the 17th, he said: "I knew walking up that if I were to roll this in I had a chance on 18th. On the 17th tee though that's the last thing on my mind.
"It's one of the hardest par threes I've ever played and I hit one of the best shots of the day, probably the best shot of the day. A pristine four iron right up the centre and to roll that in I knew that at 18th, I had a chance."
The Callaway Golf man will have another chance to make some history during the rest of the competition, which is likely to really heat up as we hurtle towards the big finale on Sunday.