Augusta — A third of the 75th Masters had been played, and the champion of the 74th Masters (and also the 70th, and the 68th) found himself in some danger of not being around for what he would call “my favorite two days of the year.” Phil Mickelson was even par after 24 holes and headed the wrong way.
He’d bogeyed No. 5. He’d bogeyed No. 6. Forget that he’d entered this event as its prohibitive favorite. At issue just past noon Friday was whether he’d make the cut.
Saturday and Sunday at the Masters without Phil Mickelson? It’d be like Phil Mickelson without pine straw.
A Mickelson 6-iron from the pine straw on No. 13 spawned last year’s famous victory, and similar escapes on Nos. 7 and 8 Friday led to the birdies that ensured his continuing presence this weekend. Nothing much happened the rest of his round — he parred the final seven holes — but he’d done what he needed to do without nearly