Phil's thrill ride

For all Mickelson's triumphs on the 12th, he's had just as many foozles

Updated: March 29, 2012, 1:33 PM ET
By Scott Miller | ESPN The Magazine

Phil MickelsonSam Greenwood/Getty ImagesPhil Mickelson had a birdie at Augusta's par-3, 155-yard 12th in 2010, which lead to his first major victory.

A version of this story appears in the April 2, 2012 "MLB Preview Issue" of ESPN The Magazine. See related McIlroy and Woods analysis or download the PDF here.

Mickelson must have heard the roar on that April Sunday. It was 2004, and Ernie Els had just made eagle at the par-5 13th, leaving a majorless Phil three shots back and in desperate need of a birdie. The problem? Mickelson was on the tee at Augusta's 12th -- and golfers don't make birdies at Augusta's 12th. Mickelson, ever the gambler, gunned for the pin and stuck it to 15 feet. The ensuing birdie began a back-nine charge that would lead to his first major victory. He did it again in 2010, when a birdie on 12 helped stave off the likes of Lee Westwood and Woods.

Still, for all the hard-drawing 9-irons Phil has peppered the green with on 12, he's had nearly as many foozles there. He's 4-under par on the hole in his three wins and 15-over the other 15 years. His low point came in 2009 when a wet double bogey negated a front-nine 30 that had pulled him to within one of the lead. Regardless, Phil the Thrill remains consistent in his approach: He's firing at the 12th pin -- swirling wind, Rae's Creek and back-nine double bogeys be damned.

Illustration: INFOMENMickelson's tee shots on the 12th in final rounds since turning pro in 1993.

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