Once known as a lovable loser who needed a dozen years to figure out how to win golf's biggest events, Mickelson captured his second straight major Sunday at Augusta National - and this one was hardly a nail-biter. He closed with a 3-under 69 for a two-shot victory over Tim Clark, and his second green jacket in three years.
The only surprise was the way he won.
There were no thrills for Phil, rather calculated shots that forced Fred Couples, Tiger Woods and Vijay Singh to try to catch him. Instead, they stumbled along with three-putts and a litany of other mistakes that allowed Mickelson to stroll up the 18th fairway already knowing how this major would end.
He won his first major at Augusta two years ago with an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole. He added the PGA Championship last year at Baltusrol with a flop shot out of deep rough to 2 feet for another decisive birdie on the final hole.
Mickelson's only bogey on a breezy afternoon at Augusta National came when it no longer mattered. He missed the 18th green to the left, chipped to 20 feet, then settled for two putts and subdued celebration.
There was no need to leap with arms thrust into air, as he did two years ago. Gone was the look of utter shock on his face.
He plucked the ball out of the cup with a smile, removed his visor and waved to the crowd. He spent the next few minutes with his three children draped around his neck, and headed into the scoring trailer.
“In '04 when I won, I felt this great feeling of relief that I could win the tournament I dreamt about,” Mickelson said. “This time, it's a great feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment to have been able to beat such a great field.”