I a sure Phil got all giddy when he heard he would be playing the final round on Sunday at Pebble Beach with Tiger. At this point in his career the only thing that matters to Phil is winning majors and beating Tiger head-to-head. He had little concern with the fact that he was six shots back of Charlie Wi at the beginning of the day, his total focus would be on outplaying Tiger in the second to last group of the day.
It turned out to be less of a Duel at the OK Corral and more of a Massacre at Little Big Horn. Phil shot 64 to Tiger’s 75 and won for his 40th time on the PGA Tour and his 4th time at Pebble Beach. To paraphrase what Nick Faldo said on the broadcast, if it had been match play Phil torched him 7 & 5-it was over coming off the 13th green.
This was vintage swash buckling Phil right from the beginning. He went on a birdie-par-birdie-birdie-eagle run starting on the second hole on his way to shooting 31 on the front side. Tiger self destructed with three bogies in a row on 7, 8, and 9. You could have put a fork in him by the time he made the turn.
The back nine was more full-Phil-ment. After Tiger holed it from the green side bunker on 12, Phil drained a long one to save par. After a perfect drive, he took the spin off a dexterous knock-down nine iron and rolled it to within two feet of the Clark Kent pin position on 13. On the pivotal par 5 14th Phil cozied a sand wedge to five feet for another birdie after Tiger took out a camera man airmailing the green on his way to another bogey. One more bit of magic on 15 when Phil short-sided himself into the right bunker, blasted to 38 feet, and made another bomb across the green to keep his bogey-free round in tact.
The only un-Phil-like moment of the day was at 18 where, with a two shot lead and one hand on the trophy, Phil listened to Bones and hit 4 iron, 4 iron, wedge to four feet and made an exclamation point birdie to cap off a scintillating 64.
This was another one for the Mickelson family scrapbook. Pebble holds a special place in his heart because Phil’s grandfather used to travel down from his home to caddy there a few eons ago. Somehow the 15 cents a round his grandpa used to make seems to pale compared to $1.2 million filling up the Mickelson piggy bank and another tiger pelt for the study.