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Shane Bacon

Phil Mickelson's Ryder Cup woes continue in Wales

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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He's a four-time major champion, the top point getter of any United States player on the team and ranked second in the world, but when Phil Mickelson puts on red, white and blue against the Europeans, his game seems to resemble less Sam Snead and more Judge Smails.

Mickelson's woes have been well documented at the Ryder Cup, but this year seems to be the icing on a rather putrid cake. Paired with Dustin Johnson in both the opening rounds at Celtic Manor, Lefty failed to even halve a match, falling in both and adding to a record that continues to be more and more abysmal.

In his last four Ryder Cups, including his 0-2-0 start, Mickelson is 2-10-3, the type of number that would make most captains think of sitting the superstar if his name wasn't Phil Mickelson. While Corey Pavin might have the thought of doing that this year, it's an impossibility with the schedule change due to the bad weather on Friday.

To add insult to injury, Phil is getting smoked in his third match of the week, 2-down through four holes to Martin Kaymer and Ian Poulter as Mickelson tries to carry Rickie Fowler to his first full point as a Ryder Cupper.

He's the only player, along with teammate Dustin Johnson, to go without gaining a point so far this week, and continues to miss important putts or mishit big shots right when it seems the Americans need him to step up.

What is the deal with Phil? Nobody really knows. He obviously has some success at match player before, winning the U.S. Amateur as a youngster and playing well at the Presidents Cup a year ago, but when it comes to this event, he just doesn't seem to have it.

A lot of it could be having to play every other year in the United Kingdom, where Phil has struggled mightily in his career. His game has always been more "fly by the seat of your pants and hope the ball lands where you want it," but maybe when he's on a team, with someone there he has to play with, the freewheeling is lost with Phil. Maybe the pressure gets to him because in every other tournament, a bad shot means Mickelson doesn't win. Here, it means the team struggles, and that might not translate with Lefty's game.

Whatever it is, just know that unless Fowler and Phil make a comeback on Sunday morning, Phil could easily leave Wales with a 0-4-0 record. Before 2004, Phil was known as "the best player to have never won a major." Now, he might just be "the best player that could never figure out the Ryder Cup."

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