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Ranking Phil Mickelson's top six heartbreaks at the US Open

By Kyle Porter | Golf Writer

More heartbreak for Phil Mickelson this year? (Getty Images)
More heartbreak for Phil Mickelson this year? (Getty Images)

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It would be a lot easier to reference ol' Lefty as "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" if he wasn't raking $50+ million a year and didn't have five majors to his name and didn't sip wine from the Claret Jug in the middle of the afternoon.

So maybe let's limit our parameters to his US Open history.

It's been a rough go for Phil Mickelson at his country's open championship and it dates all the way back to the same place where this year's version is being played.

Surely back in 1999 with Jim "Bones" Mackay on the bag, beeper in hand when Amy Mickelson was about to go into labor and Phil was cleaning up that second-place finish to Payne Stewart, he thought he'd get one eventually.

He hasn't yet, though. Let's rank the six heartbreaking second-place finishes from most heartbreaking to least.

1. The 2006 US Open at Winged Foot: We don't even need to discuss it. Par wins, bogey means a playoff, and he made a double bogey.

Heartbreak scale: 5 hearts (of 5)

2. The 2013 US Open at Merion: I honestly thought after he holed out for eagle on No. 10 that it was all over. I thought it was destiny.

He did too.

Then he played the next eight holes in 3-over including bogies at No. 13, No. 15, and No. 18. Justin Rose won by two.

Lefty was devastated afterward.

"For me it's very heartbreaking" said Mickelson. "This could have been a really big turnaround for me on how I look at the US Open and the tournament that I'd like to win, after having so many good opportunities.

"This week was my best opportunity, I felt, heading in, certainly the final round, the way I was playing and the position I was in."

Heartbreak scale: 4 hearts

3. The 2004 US Open at Shinnecock Hills: Mickelson three-putted from 5 feet on the 17th hole to lose by two to Retief Goosen.

"I really don't know what to say there," said Mickelson, who wound up with a 71. "I hit the putt pretty easy. It was downwind. And when the wind gets ahold on these greens, it keeps going."

It certainly did that.

Heartbreak scale: 3 hearts

4. The 2009 US Open at Bethpage Black: Another three-putt on the back nine on Sunday, another two-stroke loss, this time to Lucas Glover. Mickelson tied Glover up with an eagle on No. 13 on Sunday but played the next five holes in 2-over par.

This one would have been extra special -- Amy was about to begin cancer treatment -- but it certainly didn't rank at the top of the heartbreakers.

Heartbreak scale: 2 hearts

5. The 1999 US Open at Pinehurst: Mickelson lost to Payne Stewart by one stroke. This wasn't heartbreaking considering it was his first foray into potential US Open glory and he lost by just one.

Plus, Payne played the final three holes in 1-under par and grabbed Mickelson by the jowels and said something to him that he'd never forget.

Mickelson says he doesn't lament that one.

"Even though I'm disappointed about the Open, the excitement and memory I have of seeing my child born, and taking care of her, will far surpass any letdown I felt," Mickelson said. "I've thought about the final round a couple of times, but not nearly as much as I thought I would."

Heartbreak scale: 2 hearts

6. The 2002 US Open at Bethpage Black: Tiger Woods won this one quite handily despite a decent Sunday charge from Phil. There was no heartbreak, though. Tiger never released his grip.

Heartbreak scale: 1 heart

For more golf news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnGolf and @KylePorterCBS on Twitter or Google+ and like us on Facebook.

 
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