US Open 2013: Phil Mickelson describes losing out to Justin Rose as 'heart breaking'

The American finished runner-up for the sixth time

Omens are only ever a retrospective pointer. Reality has a way of debunking myth in the most merciless manner. Just ask Phil Mickelson, a golfer negotiating the heartbreak of a sixth near miss at his national championship on a day when the stars were supposedly aligned for him.

Mickelson is America's most popular golfer. The galleries love his attachment to risk, his willingness to have a go, to conjure the shot that mortals don't even think to play. He led at the end of every round at Merion, apart from the one that mattered. It seemed that Sunday was made for him, his 43rd birthday and Father's Day in a week in which he had demonstrated his paternal credentials with a return trip to California to attend his daughter's graduation.

But this is sport, not soap opera. Though we often confuse the two, Merion snapped us out of our fatalistic fix and dumped on Mickelson yet more US Open disappointment. He admits he may never have a better chance to tick this box. "For me it's heart breaking. This could have been a really big turnaround on how I look at the US Open, the tournament that I'd like to win.

"Playing very well here and really loving the golf course, I felt heading in that this week was my best opportunity, certainly the final round, the way I was playing and the position I was in. It gave me chances to make birdies. I didn't really make any, but there was opportunity after opportunity.

"This one's probably the toughest for me, because at 43 and coming so close five times, it would have changed the way I look at my record. If I had won or if I ultimately win, I'll look back at the other Opens and think that it was positive. If I never get the Open, then every time I think of it, I just think of heartbreak."

Mickelson has four majors to his credit, three Masters titles and the US PGA. He is to Tiger Woods what Andre Agassi was to Pete Sampras, an entertainer who at his peak was a victim of the relentless if mirthless approach of the era's defining player.

Agassi fashioned a response with late major wins at the back end of his career when Sampras began to fade. It might be that Mickelson has a couple left in him, but, as he acknowledged here, he might not be afforded a better opportunity.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Nadine Gordimer died peacefully at home yesterday
people
Arts and Entertainment
Neil Young performs on stage at Hyde Park
musicAnd his Hyde Park set has rhyme and reason, writes Nick Hasted
News
Women have been desperate to possess dimples like Cheryl Cole's
people Cole has secretly married French boyfriend Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini after just three months.
Arts and Entertainment
AKB48 perform during one of their daily concerts at Tokyo’s Akihabara theatre
musicJapan's AKB48 are one of the world’s most-successful pop acts
News
Ian Thorpe has thanked his supporters after the athlete said in an interview that he is gay
people
News
The headstone of jazz great Miles Davis at Woodlawn Cemetery in New York
news
Arts and Entertainment
Brendan O'Carroll has brought out his female alter-ego Agnes Brown for Mrs Brown's Boys D'Movie
filmComedy holds its place at top of the UK box office
News
newsBear sweltering in zoo that reaches temperatures of 40 degrees
Arts and Entertainment
Professor Kathy Willis will showcase plants from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew
radioPlants: From Roots to Riches has been two years in the making
Extras
indybestThe tastiest creations for children’s parties this summer
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Paolo Nutini performs at T in the Park
music
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream as Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil

Super Mario crushes the Messi dream

Germany win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
Saharan remains may be evidence of the first race war, 13,000 years ago

The first race war, 13,000 years ago?

Saharan remains may be evidence of oldest large-scale armed conflict
Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Scientists find early warning system for Alzheimer’s

Researchers hope eye tests can spot ‘biomarkers’ of the disease
Sex, controversy and schoolgirl schtick

Meet Japan's AKB48

Pop, sex and schoolgirl schtick make for controversial success
In pictures: Breathtaking results of this weekend's 'supermoon'

Weekend's 'supermoon' in pictures

The moon appeared bigger and brighter at the weekend
Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor