"It looks like he's going for the green in two! Phil Mickelson pulls out the fairway metal from 255 yards out, and will attempt to carry Devlin's Billabong."
Our story begins back in 2015, when Torrey Pines was finally awarded a second U.S. Open, to be played in June of 2023, 15 years after Tiger Woods won his 14th major in a playoff over Rocco Mediate.
That was also the year Tiger got back on track to break Jack Nicklaus' record of 18 majors with wins at the Masters and the British Open. Tiger added his 17th major in 2017, again at the Masters, but an injury sustained while skiing with his wife, Lindsay, cost him the next 18 months, and he's been unable to equal Jack's record during a 6-year major drought, second in length only to his major-less streak from 2008-2015.
Meanwhile, the golf world was shocked on Wednesday, when 53-year old Phil Mickelson announced he would be retiring from golf at the end of the Open to spend more time with his new granddaughter.
The 9-time major winner owns 5 green jackets, 2 Claret Jugs, and 2 Wannamaker Trophys, but has still been unable to complete the career grand slam, with 10 runner-up finishes at the U.S. Open.
Of course, that could all change here on the 18th hole. After announcing his retirement, Mickelson went out and tamed his hometown course, finishing at 2-under par over the first 72 holes. That matched the score of Woods, the only other golfer to finish under par.
Considering the state of his game, this may be the final chance for Woods, the 11-time Farmers Insurance Open champion, to equal Nicklaus' 18 major wins.
A Monday playoff record 35,000 fans showed up at Torrey this morning for the 18-hole playoff. TV ratings are expected to be through the roof, with droves of golf fans calling in sick to work around the country. Tiger was up by 3 shots after the front nine, but Phil charged back with birdies on 13, 14, and 15, and the players remained tied heading into the 18th hole.
After Phil hit one down the middle, Tiger pulled his drive into the bunker, and hit a perfect layup, giving himself about 115 yards remaining to the green. That's where we stand now, with Mickelson pulling the fairway metal in a signature aggressive play to try to win the tournament with an eagle or birdie.
"Phil launches his shot high into the air...it looks like it's got plenty of distance to reach the green...a little gust of wind, though...this one's going to be close..."