Unlucky break ruins Mickelson's Masters chances

Sun Apr 8, 2012 9:02pm EDT
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By Julian Linden

AUGUSTA, Georgia (Reuters) - Phil Mickelson has always been a risk taker on the golf course.

Never frightened to roll the dice even when the stakes are at their highest, the American has endeared himself to a generation of golf fans with his swashbuckling approach and improvisation.

But even the high-rollers lose some time and at the Masters on Sunday, Mickelson gambled and lost big.

At the par three fourth hole, the left-hander's luck ran out when his tee shot hit a metal rail and ricocheted into some nearby bamboo shoots.

Faced with the option of returning to the tee to play his third shot, he decided to take a plunge and play out of the rough but made a complete hash of it.

"If it goes into people and stops right there, no problem. If it goes into the grand stand, no problem (but) it hit the metal railing and shot in the trees," he explained.

"And not only was it unplayable, but I couldn't take an unplayable. There was no place to go other than back to the tee.

"So I took the risk of trying to hit it a few times."   Continued...

Phil Mickelson of the U.S. walks to the sixth tee during final round play in the 2012 Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia, April 8, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch