AUGUSTA, Ga. -- There have been a lot of favorites this week who had train wreck rounds that put them out of the 2012 Masters. For Tiger Woods it was Friday. Saturday, we saw Rory McIlroy, Sergio Garcia and Fred Couples fall apart.
But it seemed Phil Mickelson had survived his bad round when he snuck away Thursday with a 2-over 74.
The favorite heading into Sunday by just about everyone with a pulse, if Phil loses this Masters, it will be the par-3 fourth hole that doomed him in.
Standing on the tee 8 under for the week and just a shot behind Louis Oosthuizen, Phil missed his tee shot 40 yards left of the flag, and bad became worse when his ball bounced off some patron stands left of the green and into some bamboo. He advanced his second shot about two feet, having to hit it right-handed, and nearly hit himself on the third shot, which he also had to hit righty.
His fourth shot, sitting in some beaten-down grass usually reserved for patrons, came up short in the bunker, and Phil was forced to get up-and-down for triple bogey, his second triple of the week.
In just one hole, Phil dropped four shots back of the leader and found himself in a really tough spot.
The interesting thing about the tee ball was it seemed to be a similar swing to the one that doomed him at Winged Foot at the 2006 U.S. Open, when his drive sailed well left of the fairway, resulting in a double bogey and a shot out of a playoff with eventual winner Geoff Ogilvy.
Phil now had a ton of ground to make up, and the fourth hole could be disastrous for Phil Mickelson's chances at a fourth green jacket.