PGA Tour Confidential: Phil Mickelson coughs up late lead at Wells Fargo

Phil Mickelson, Wells Fargo
Chuck Burton / AP
Phil Mickelson bogeyed the 16th and 17th holes in the final round and came up one shot short of qualifying for a sudden-death playoff.

Every Sunday night, the editorial staff of the SI Golf Group conducts an e-mail roundtable. Check in every week for the unfiltered opinions of our writers and editors and join the conversation in the comments section below.

1. Phil Mickelson was cruising to his 42nd PGA Tour victory with a one-shot lead at Quail Hollow with three holes to play, but went bogey-bogey-par to finish one shot out of the playoff. We saw the full Phil this weekend, with some amazing shotmaking, some wayward tee shots, some questionable decision-making, some expert putting and a key short miss. What did you make of Mickelson's wild week in Charlotte?

Joe Passov, senior editor, travel, Golf Magazine: So much fun just to have him in contention. It almost seems bizarre that he didn't actually win, but he might have been victimized by the worst of the weather at the end, slowing the greens down even more. The late misses weren't actually that bad. As a Phil fan, I'm encouraged.

Ryan Reiterman, senior producer, Golf.com: It's amazing that Mickelson still makes so many silly mistakes. He still has a chance to finish as one of the all-time greats, but you have to wonder if he's just going to keep getting in his own way until the day he's done.

Mark Godich, senior editor, Sports Illustrated: It was Phil being Phil. And that's why we enjoy watching him so much.

Gary Van Sickle, senior writer, Sports Illustrated: In other words, business as usual for Phil. He's got to make that easy birdie at 15 and he's got to hit the 17th green with a 9-iron or wedge. Those were two large mistakes. But that's Phil. Amazing heroics mixed with stupefying stumbles. Count this as another squandered win.

Cameron Morfit, senior writer, Golf Magazine: Typical Phil. It's what makes him so great to watch -- to quote Feherty, "like watching a drunk chase a balloon on the edge of a cliff." I'm glad he played better than he did at Augusta. The game is so much more fun with Phil in the mix.

Jeff Ritter, senior producer, Golf.com: We've seen the show numerous times, and it's just as much fun to watch Phil in contention now as it was 10 years ago. Pretty remarkable that he nearly won the event despite all those loose shots.

2. Derek Ernst was ranked 1,207th in the world and the fourth alternate when he got into the field at Quail Hollow and went on to win the tournament. What is your favorite Cinderella Story in golf history?

Van Sickle: It's hard to beat John Daly, the ninth alternate, getting in a car and driving all day from Arkansas to Indianapolis, snag Nick Price's caddie and win the PGA Championship without so much as a practice round.

Morfit: I have to give props to Alan Shipnuck for his story on Rich Beem's first victory at the old Kemper Open, with the late Steve (Asbestos) DuPlantis on the bag. Story was so good it became a book, Bud, Sweat & Tees.

Ritter: Anyone who's seen Caddyshack -- and what Golf.com reader hasn't? -- would agree that Carl Spackler Bill Murray hoisting a trophy at the 2011 Pebble Beach Pro-Am is the very definition of a Cinderella Story.

Godich: John Daly's victory at the 1991 PGA, as the ninth alternate. But then who knew that we had created such a monster?

Passov: I'm partial to some of the old Senior Tour guys, like steelworker Walter Zembriski, who battled on the mini tours for years before finding success on the senior circuit. And golf's greatest upset remains Fleck over Hogan in the 1955 U.S. Open. Still, for pure Cinderella Magic, can anything ever touch ninth alternate John Daly's "grip it and rip it" romp at the 1991 PGA?

Reiterman: Have to go with my fellow Ohioan Ben Curtis winning the 2003 British Open -- the first man since Francis Ouimet to win a major in his first appearance.

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