SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – Phil Mickelson always gets plenty of crowd support from the galleries at TPC Scottsdale, and this week is no exception. But the fans may have gotten a little too close when Mickelson drifted off-target during the third round of the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Mickelson pushed his drive on the par-4 10th hole, and his second shot rocketed into the crowds that line the right side of the green. No. 10 borders the famous 16th hole on the Stadium Course, making its green among the biggest bottlenecks for foot traffic on a day when a tournament-record 216,818 fans showed up.
Mickelson dropped and ultimately holed an 11-footer for par, a save that helped keep his round afloat. He ended up with a 5-under 66 that moved him within two shots of Rickie Fowler. After his round, he reflected on what was a harrowing few minutes.
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“That was a unique situation,” Mickelson said. “Because the people were great, the police officers and the Thunderbirds did a great job, but that was one of the most uncomfortable moments that I can remember, with that many people and being swarmed like that. But I thought everybody was terrific, so it turned out just fine.”
Jon Rahm and Xander Schauffele played up on the hole while Mickelson sorted out his third shot, and even the Spaniard admitted that tensions were somewhat heightened with so many people on top of the hole.
“I think even Phil himself can tell you on No. 10, it got a little nerve-wracking,” said Rahm, who trails Fowler by a shot. “People got a little closer, were more aggressive, and we were having some feelings that are not supposed to be had on the golf course. Besides that, it was an absolute joy to be out here.”