Phil Mickelson's Second-Place Finishes in the U.S. Open

Phil Mickelson has six second place finishes in the US Open

Phil Mickelson has never won the U.S. Open golf tournament. But he does hold this tournament record: most times runner-up. Mickelson, who has wins in each of the other three major championships of men's professional golf, has finished second six times in the U.S. Open.

Just how good you have to be to finish second that many times in the toughest of the four majors is evidenced by the names of the four golfers who shared the previous record for runner-up finishes in the U.S. Open, the record Mickelson broke. Those four are all legends of the game, and they each finished second in a U.S. Open four times: Bobby Jones, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus. Jones and Nicklaus also won it four times each, Palmer won it once. Snead, like Mickelson, never won the U.S. Open.

Mickelson's U.S. Open record is great in every regard except for the lack of a win. He is in the Top 10 for most appearances in the U.S. Open, and, as of 2021, one of only nine golfers who've played the U.S. Open at least 30 times. His 25 U.S. Opens completed is tied for sixth-best all-time. Mickelson's six Top 3 finishes (Top 2 in his case!) also rates sixth-best in tournament history.

Following is each year that Phil Mickelson finished second place in the U.S. Open. He has been solo second three times, and tied for second three other times.

Mickelson's Solo Second-Place Finishes in the U.S. Open

1999 U.S. Open

The 1999 U.S. Open is less notable for being Mickelson's first runner-up finish — Phil was 29 years old, everyone knew he was going to win one or more of these trophies, right? — than for being Payne Stewart's last win. Several months later, Stewart, who made a 15-foot par putt on the 72nd hole to avoid a playoff against Mickelson, perished in a plane crash.

Top Finishers
Payne Stewart, 68-69-72-70—279
Phil Mickelson, 67-70-73-70—280
Vijay Singh, 69-70-73-69—281
Tiger Woods, 68-71-72-70—281
Steve Stricker, 70-73-69-73—285

2002 U.S. Open

Tiger Woods first, Phil Mickelson second. But it really wasn't a showdown between the two. Woods was five strokes ahead of Mickelson at the end of the third round, and wound up winning over Phil by three. Woods' lead narrowed a couple times, but it never seemed uncomfortable for Tiger.

Top Finishers
Tiger Woods, 67-68-70-72—277
Phil Mickelson, 70-73-67-70—280
Jeff Maggert, 69-73-68-72—282
Sergio Garcia, 68-74-67-74—283

2004 U.S. Open

In brutal conditions at Shinnecock Hills, Mickelson took the lead from Retief Goosen with birdies on the 15th and 16th holes. But then, disaster: Mickelson three-putted from five feet on the 17th for a double bogey, while Goosen was making birdie himself on the 16th. Goosen wound up with the two-stroke victory.

Top Finishers
Retief Goosen, 70-66-69-71—276
Phil Mickelson, 68-66-73-71—278
Jeff Maggert, 68-67-74-72—281
Shigeki Maruyama, 66-68-74-76—284
Mike Weir, 69-70-71-74—284

Mickelson's Tied-for-Second Finishes in the U.S. Open

2006 U.S. Open

Just as in the 2004 U.S. Open, in 2006 Mickelson was in prime position to win, or at least force a playoff, and he blew it. Of the four contenders, the winner, Geoff Ogilvy, was the only one who didn't botch the final hole at Winged Foot. Mickelson reached the 72nd tee needing a bogey to force a playoff, a par to win. Instead he hit driver nearly into a hospitality tent, then hit a tree, then hit into a bunker and then across and off the green, all of which added up to a double bogey.

Top Finishers
Geoff Ogilvy, 71-70-72-72—285
Jim Furyk, 70-72-74-70—286
Phil Mickelson, 70-73-69-74—286
Colin Montgomerie, 69-71-75-71—286

2009 U.S. Open

Mickelson tied for the lead after an eagle on the 13th hole in the final round, but then suffered a couple of short missed putts, and made a double bogey and bogey in his next four holes to finish two behind. He took time off after this tournament to spend time with his wife, who had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Top Finishers
Lucas Glover, 69-64-70-73—276
Ricky Barnes, 67-65-70-76—278
David Duval, 67-70-70-71—278
Phil Mickelson, 69-70-69-70—278
Ross Fisher, 70-68-69-72—279

2013 U.S. Open

In 2013, Mickelson became the ninth golfer in U.S. Open history to lead or share the lead after each of the first three rounds but not win. Mickelson led by one after the first round, shared the lead after the second round, and held a one-stroke lead again after the third round. But a 74 in the final round left him two behind the winner, Justin Rose.

Top Finishers
Justin Rose, 71-69-71-70—281
Jason Day, 70-74-68-71—283
Phil Mickelson, 67-72-70-74—283
Jason Dufner, 74-71-73-67—285
Ernie Els, 71-72-73-69—285
Billy Horschel, 72-67-72-74—285
Hunter Mahan, 72-69-69-75—285

Photo credit: "Phil Mickelson" by Jim Epler is licensed under CC BY 2.0

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