Phil Mickelson and Le Golf National were a match made in golfing hell.
Mickelson, 48, has always been erratic off the tee, but it reached rock bottom this year. He finished 192nd out of 193 qualifying players on the PGA Tour in driving accuracy, finding just 51.6% of his fairways.
Le Golf National, the site of Europe's 17.5-10.5 shellacking of the Americans in last week's Ryder Cup, is an accuracy-first course with narrow fairways and brutal rough.
Predictably, Mickelson did not fare well. He and partner Bryson DeChambeau were boatraced in Friday afternoon foursomes and his loss to Francesco Molinari in Sunday's singles, capped by a rinsed tee shot at the par-3 16th hole, sealed the victory for Team Europe.
Now Mickelson is back on this side of the pond on a golf course that better suits his game—he posted a bogey-free, seven-under 65 on Thursday at the Safeway Open in Napa. After the round, he vowed to avoid playing courses like Le Golf National in competition ever again.
“I’m 48, I’m not going to play tournaments with rough like that anymore," Mickelson told reporters. "It’s a waste of my time.”
"I’m going to play courses that are playable, and I can play aggressive, attacking, make lots of birdies type of golf I like to play.
"The fairways were 14 to 16 yards wide. The fact is they had brutal rough, almost unplayable and that’s not the way I play," he added. "I don’t play like that.”
Say what you want about Mickelson, but you'd be hard-pressed to find a more honest and forthright athlete than Lefty.
Two takeaways from his brutally honest comments. First, they make captain Jim Furyk's decision to spend a captain's pick on Mickelson look that much more suspect, as it was no secret that Le Golf National would be set up the way it was.
Second, the tournament most synonymous with brutal rough is the U.S. Open, and that's the tournament Mickelson wants to win more than any other. He's finished second five times in our national championship and it remains the one major he has yet to win. At this point, it appears Mickelson's decades-long flirtation with the U.S. Open will die without a victory.