Accuracy isn’t Phil Mickelson’s forte. Not even in his vocabulary. While Mickelson remains formidable as he closes in on 50, he struggles to keep it in the short stuff off the tee. Heading into this week’s AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, the five-time major winner ranked 220th on tour in driving accuracy. That’s, um, not good…and also not an aberration, as he ranked 189th in the category last season.
Which makes Phil’s feats on Thursday all the more impressive.
“So history was made today,” Mickelson said after the round.
Playing his first round on Monterey Peninsula C.C., Mickelson pulled off something he hadn’t done in the 21 years: hit every fairway. This, according to Golf Channel’s Justin Ray.
Mickelson initially believed it was his first time accomplishing this mark.
“To the best of my knowledge it’s taken me 27 years and a few months to hit all fairways in a single round in a competition,” he said. “I may have done it before but I don’t ever recall doing it.”
For context, Australian pro Ryan Ruffels, who’s in the field this week, hadn’t been born yet.
Granted, as the heathen media pointed out, Monterey Peninsula does not boast particularly tight fairways…
“Well, let’s not nitpick here,” Mickelson said. “If you hit them all, that’s all that matters.”
Perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised. The courses of Carmel Bay have been friendly confines to Phil, with Mickelson finding the winner’s circle four times in his career (along with 10 top-10 finishes). Through Day 1, he’s put himself in good position to make a run at victory No. 5, turning in a six-under 65, currently tied for second with leader Scott Langley still on the course.