You’ve heard this one before: Phil Mickelson is on the move at The Masters Tournament.
This time, Lefty sits in a tie for 10th place in the 2017 tournament at Augusta National Golf Club entering the weekend.
Sitting in a prime position after shooting a 71 in the Thursday’s first round, Mickelson started out well Friday. He shot 1-under par on the front nine, but struggled down the stretch in the back. He tallied four bogeys in the final nine holes of the round to shoot a 1-over par 73 on Friday, but remains in a manageable position heading into the weekend. And there’s something to say about Lefty’s ability to thrive in big situations at Augusta.
Mickelson has won three green jackets in his career. Another Masters title would put him into a tie with Tiger Woods and Arnold Palmer for most all-time next to Jack Nicklaus, who won six of them in his career.
Mickelson’s championship runs at the Master’s sure haven’t come without any dramatic moments, either.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mickelson’s Birdie Putt on the Final Hole Won Him His 1st Masters Title
One year before he turned professional, Mickelson played at The Masters as the low amateur in 1991.
Shortly after that, he graduated from Arizona State University and turned professional in 1992.
Mickelson won numerous tournaments on the PGA Tour in a 13-year span, but never a major championship. He finally got his in 2004 — a Master’s green jacket.
His championship performance provided one of the greatest highlights in the 89-year history of The Masters.
In the tournament, he surged out to a hot start and sat as a co-leader heading into the final day of play. It appeared as if he would give away another golden opportunity through the front nine, but he certainly saved his best for the back.
He had five birdies in seven holes during the stretch and went back-and-forth with Ernie Els in some of the most entertaining golf at a major ever. Els held a 3-stroke lead at the 12th hole, but there was little stopping Mickelson. He made his way all the way back to even the score with Els as he approached the final hole.
Lefty narrowly avoided hitting the left bunker with his tee shot and used a clutch birdie putt from about 20-feet away to claim victory.
Mickelson jumped into the air in celebration of finally getting the proverbial monkey off of his back, but his run was just beginning.
2. He Shot a 3-Under Par Final Round to Win the 2006 Masters
Mickelson ended the 2005 season by winning his second major at the PGA Championship at Baltusrol Golf Club in New Jersey.
He carried the momentum of that victory into the following spring, where he won his second-ever green jacket at the 2006 Masters.
Mickelson’s big final day pushed him through to victory, shooting a 3-under par and edging out Tim Clark. In Sunday’s round, Mickelson made four birdies and scored 3-under-par 69, giving him a two-stroke victory for the tournament.
After his win, Mickelson said that he was happy he was able to stay focused and consistent with everybody coming after him from behind.
When I look back on it, I think what I’m most proud of is that I didn’t let other people back in it. They had to come and chase me down and make birdies to do it.
3. Months After His Wife Started His Battle Against Breast Cancer, Mickelson Won His 3rd Masters
Mickelson’s 2010 Master’s victory was certainly his most emotional.
He shot a 16-under par over the four days and won by three strokes against Lee Westwood. But it’s what was weighing on his mind that made it an especially emotional moment when he clinched victory.
Phil’s wife, Amy, had undergone an extensive battle with breast cancer in 2009, and his mother, Mary, was also battling the disease.
A huge third-round Saturday helped set him up for the big victory. He trailed Westwood by five strokes with six holes yet to play and made two consecutive eagles.
Mickelson still trailed Westwood by one stroke in the final day, but his 5-under-par 67 bested Westwood’s 71.
His putt on No. 18 solidified his victory, and he celebrated behind the ropes with his wife and the rest of his family.
CBS announcer Jim Nantz’s call of the putt is one that is remembered whenever people think of Mickelson’s win. As the putt rolled into the hole, Nantz said, “That’s a win for the family.”
4. Mickelson Missed the Cut In the 2014 Masters
Mickelson has come close to winning another green jacket since, but bad play in 2014 led to him missing the cut at the tournament for the first time since 1997.
He shot 5-over through the first two days of the tournament, including two triple bogeys in both the rounds and didn’t make the cut.
That was the tip of the barrel for Mickelson, who didn’t contend at the next major, the U.S. Open. In fact, he finished out of the top 10 in all tournaments in the 2014 season except for at the PGA Championship, to place second behind Rory McIlroy.
He was able to recover from those years, however, and continue solid play.
5. Mickelson Tied for 2nd at the 2015 Masters
Mickelson experienced a resurgence at the 2015 Masters.
The golfer took second place in the annual event after having a season-best finish of 17th the season prior. He shot a final day 3-under-par 69 to tied with Justin Rose, four strokes back of champion Jordan Spieth.
Spieth dominated the tournament in his first time playing in it, but Mickelson’s runner-up finish marked the 10th time he did so in a major tournament.