Despite having the shot of the day on No. 10, Phil Mickelson fell short on Sunday at Merion Golf Club, and in the process took second place at the US Open for the sixth time in his career.
He has never won the event.
"Heartbreak," Mickelson said. "This is tough to swallow after coming so close. This was my best chance of all of them because I was playing well. I had a golf course I really liked that I could play aggressive on a number of holes, and felt like this was as good an opportunity to ask for, and to not do it -- it hurts."
Mickelson tied for second with Jason Day, finishing 3 over par, two strokes behind Justin Rose, who claimed his first major championship. Mickelson bogeyed the 13th, 15th and 18th holes on Sunday, and double-bogeyed Nos. 3 and 5. He finished with a final-round 74, his worst of the four days in the tournament.
"I felt like I had come so close to getting the ball to go in the hole and I couldn't get one to go in, starting on the first hole or the second hole," Mickelson said on TV afterward. "To finally get a ball to go in the hole just felt good and I thought maybe things were going to turn. I felt like I hit good putt after good putt that I just couldn't get to fall."
Mickelson -- playing on his birthday -- said two errant wedge shots did him in, leading to the bogeys on 13 and 15. In a TV interview later, Mickelson said he should've played a pitching wedge on 13 instead of his gap wedge -- while on 15 it was using the gap that hurt him.
"It's never easy, final round of the US Open and you've got guys in front of you kind of dictating what you have to do," Mickelson said. "When I made that eagle on 10 it allowed me to relax a little bit because it moved me back to even par for the tournament, which is a score you've gotta figure is gonna be right around where the winning score is. I felt like I was patient throughout the day."
At this point in his career, the US Open is becoming a double-edged sword of voodoo for Mickelson. On one hand, he wants to be known for doing well at US Opens -- but the pressure to take down the elusive crown only grows with each year. Mickelson's previous second-place finishes came in 1999, 2002, 2004, 2006 and 2009. He's played in 23 US Opens, meaning approximately one in every four times he plays the event he takes second place.