Stepping back from the U.S. Open for a day to consider Phil Mickelson's incredible sixth runner-up finish and while a lot of people want to question his decision to leave the driver in the locker or his putting (everyone stunk on the greens at Merion), it will all really go back to the decision on the short par-3 13th that cost him a spot in a playoff.
From an unbylined USA Today story:
But he hit a pitching wedge instead of a gap wedge to the hole, flying the green and leaving himself with a pitch from the rough he had no way of getting close to the hole. He made bogey, then compounded his error on No. 15 by quitting on a gap wedge and leaving it so short he had to chip from the front of the green for another bogey.
In the end it wasn't strategy but execution.
"Thirteen and 15 were the two bad shots of the day that I'll look back on where I let it go," Mickelson said.
I was standing behind the 13th green after Mickelson's shot with USGA Executive Director Mike Davis, who pointed out that there was a line about 20 feet left of the hole location that a shot with proper spin could take and like spin right to within 10 or so feet of the hole, mitigating the risk.