Here's where Mickelson learned not to play dumb at Torrey

Jay Busbee

Phil Mickelson is taking all kinds of grief for laying up on the 18th at Torrey Pines on Sunday, with many questioning either his spine or his strategy. But Mickelson has some unfortunate experience playing it reckless at Torrey. And while it's unlikely he was thinking of the 2008 U.S. Open as he was making the decision to lay up, here's a case where he wasn't exactly thinking big-picture.

End result: a disastrous quadruple-bogey 9. It's lost to the mists of time now after the astonishing playoff that was Rocco-Tiger, but the 2008 U.S. Open was supposed to be Mickelson's to lose. After all, he'd grown up playing the course, he was dialed in, and he was ready to challenge Tiger for the No. 1 spot. And it all fell apart on that single third-round hole above.

So, yeah, maybe Mickelson chickened out a bit on 18. Or maybe, just maybe, he's laying the new, more conservative groundwork for the next stage of his career.