Phil Mickelson's U.S. Open Record Is Second-Best

He Holds the Record for Most Runners-Up in the Golf Major

Phil Mickelson reacts to missing a putt during the U.S. Open tournament.

Rob Carr/Getty Images

 

Look at Phil Mickelson's U.S. Open record one way, and it's very good: He's had more high finishes than most golfers can dream about. But look at it another way—the way most golf fans, media and Mickelson himself look at it—and his performance in this golf major is a source of major frustration.

Mickelson, one of the greatest golfers of his or any other era, has finished runner-up at the U.S. Open more than anyone else in tournament history—but never won.

Key Takeaways

  • Phil Mickelson has won five major championships overall and more than 40 PGA Tour tournaments, but never the U.S. Open.
  • He has finished in second place in the U.S. Open six times, the tournament's all-time record.
  • After one particularly painful runner-up in the U.S. Open, Mickelson said of a poor choice he made on the final hole: "I am such an idiot."

The Rundown of Mickelson's Runner-Up Finishes in the U.S. Open

1999: Mickelson's first brush with U.S. Open victory happened in a tournament today best-remembered for two things. First, Payne Stewart thrusting his fist in the air, kicking out one leg behind him, in celebration of the 18-foot par putt he made on the final hole to beat Mickelson by one stroke. (A statue of Stewart, who died in plane crash later in the year, in that pose stands today at Pinehurst Resort, where it happened.)

Second, Phil Mickelson wearing a pager throughout the week. Phil's wife Amy was due to deliver their first child, and had that pager gone off Phil was prepared to bolt from the tournament.

This was Mickelson's first runner-up finish in any of the four majors. His previous best finishes were third-place showings at the 1994 PGA Championship and 1996 Masters. Mickelson was 29 years old. He had 13 wins on the PGA Tour.

2002: Mickelson finished three strokes behind the wire-to-wire winner, Tiger Woods. Although the Bethpage Black crowds tried to egg Phil on in the final round, he never got closer than two strokes to Tiger's lead. Mickelson turned 32 the day of the final round, and had 20 PGA Tour wins.

2004: At age 34 and with 23 PGA Tour wins, Mickelson finished two strokes behind winner Retief Goosen. Mickelson had the lead after birdies on the 15th and 16th holes in the final round, but then three-putted from three feet and double-bogeyed the 17th hole. But in some good news for Phil, two months earlier he won his first major championship, the 2004 Masters.

2006: Mickelson finished tied with Jim Furyk and Colin Montgomerie one stroke behind the winner Geoff Ogilvy. This is the tournament whose finish led Phil to memorably state immediately after his final hole, "I am such an idiot."

Mickelson would have won with a par on the last hole, or gotten into a playoff with a bogey. Instead, he double-bogeyed. Mickelson inexplicably used driver off the No. 18 tee, a club he had struggled with all day. Once again, it was wayward. Mickelson's badly sliced drive nearly hit a hospitality tent through the woods. Then his second shot hit a tree. His third shot went into a bunker and his fourth shot went over the green.

With his fourth runner-up finish in a U.S. Open, Mickelson tied Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus—all giants in the sport's history—for most seconds in this tournament. He was 36 years old and had 29 PGA Tour wins, including two more majors: the 2005 PGA Championship and 2006 Masters.

2009: Mickelson had the record all to himself with his fifth U.S. Open runner-up. He tied with Ricky Barnes and David Duval two strokes behind winner Lucas Glover. He was 39 years old and had 36 PGA Tour wins.

2013: U.S. Open runner-up finish No. 6. Mickelson tied with Jason Day two strokes behind the winner, Justin Rose. He was 43 years old and had 41 PGA Tour wins. That included his fourth win in a major at the 2010 Masters. One month after this second-place finish, Mickelson won his fifth and most-recent major championship, the 2013 British Open.

Phil Mickelson's Year-by-Year Scores in the U.S. Open

Mickelson played the U.S. Open twice before turning professional, and both times he earned low amateur honors:

  • 1990: 74-71-71-72—288 (even), 29th place (low amateur)
  • 1991: 73-72-80-75—300 (+12), 55th (low amateur)

Mickelson turned pro in 1992 and the U.S. Open that year was the site of his first round as a pro golfer. These are his U.S. Open finishes as a pro:

  • 1992: 68-81—149 (+5), missed the cut
  • 1993: did not play
  • 1994: 75-70-73-79—297 (+13), tied 47th
  • 1995: 68-70-72-74—284 (+4), tied 4th
  • 1996: 76-71-73-76—296 (+16), tied 94th
  • 1997: 75-68-73-74—290 (+10), tied 43rd
  • 1998: 71-73-74-70—288 (+8), tied 10th
  • 1999: 67-70-73-70—280 (even), 2nd
  • 2000: 71-73-73-76—293 (+9), tied 16th
  • 2001: 70-69-68-75—282 (+2), tied 7th
  • 2002: 70-73-67-70—280 (even), 2nd
  • 2003: 70-70-75-74—289 (+9), tied 55th
  • 2004: 68-66-73-71—278 (-2), 2nd
  • 2005: 69-77-72-74—292 (+12), tied 33rd
  • 2006: 70-73-69-74—286 (+6), tied 2nd
  • 2007: 74-77—151 (+11), missed the cut
  • 2008: 71-75-76-68—290 (+6), tied 18th
  • 2009: 69-70-69-70—278 (-2), tied 2nd
  • 2010: 75-66-73-73—287 (+3), tied 4th
  • 2011: 74-69-77-71—291 (+7), tied 54th
  • 2012: 76-71-71-78—296 (+16), tied 65th
  • 2013: 67-72-70-74—283 (+3), tied 2nd
  • 2014: 70-73-72-72—287 (+7), tied 28th
  • 2015: 69-74-77-73—293 (+13), tied 64th
  • 2016: 74-73—147 (+7), missed the cut
  • 2017: did not play
  • 2018: 77-69-81-69—296 (+16), tied 48th