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Rickie Fowler takes Phil Mickelson to the cleaners

Shane Bacon
Devil Ball Golf

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Some might talk on Thursday about how Phil Mickelson lost at the Accenture Match Play Championship. Nope, he didn't lose, because that wouldn't be fair to Rickie Fowler.

Fowler won against Lefty, and that's about all you can say. The 22-year-old Fowler who became friends with Mickelson at the Ryder Cup last year was absolutely on fire in Marana, Ariz., beating Phil 6 and 5 to advance to the third round.

How did he do it? By never letting up, and making two eagles in his last three holes (both with 4-irons) to help push him past Mickelson.

You can bash Phil for never being that sharp in the second round, but Fowler was electric, at one point forcing a smile out of Phil as another putt dropped.

What does it mean for Mickelson? Well, as ESPN's Jason Sobel pointed out, this is the first time in Phil's career he has gone two seasons without a win on the West Coast Swing. Also, like kryptonite to Superman, anytime Mickelson has a chance to overtake Tiger Woods in the Official World Rankings, it seems he weakens immediately. A win on Thursday over Fowler, and Lefty would have jumped ahead of Tiger for the first time since 1997, but he obviously didn't get the job there.

Also, losing Phil just means another recognizable name is gone from the Accenture. While that might be the "glass is half empty" take on this whole thing, a positive person might look at all the young names that are advancing deeper into this tournament. It's a global event for a reason, and some of the guys that will be around come Friday are fun to watch with different quirks and personalities.

Phil is out, but not because of anything he did; that honor goes to Fowler, with a red-hot putter and even more molten 4-iron.

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