Phil Mickelson and Sam Snead: 10 Painful Close Calls at the US Open

Mike LynchContributor IIIJune 12, 2011

Phil Mickelson and Sam Snead: 10 Painful Close Calls at the US Open

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    MAMARONECK, NY - JUNE 18:  Phil Mickelson speaks to the gallery on the 18th green during the final round of the 2006 US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club on June 18, 2006 in Mamaroneck, New York.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Phil Mickelson owns the record for most runner-up finishes at the US Open with five.  He has won 39 PGA Tour events and four majors but has not been able to win a US Open. 

    Sam Snead has four second-place finishes along with a fifth-place finish in which he led on the 71st hole.  He won seven majors and a record 82 PGA Tour events, but never the US Open.

    Here is a look at the 10 most painful US Opens between them.

10: Phil Mickelson, Bethpage Black 2002

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    FARMINGDALE, NY - JUNE 16:  Phil Mickelson waves to the gallery during the final round of the 102nd US Open on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York on June 16, 2002.  (Photo By Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Phil Mickelson finished second to Tiger Woods by three strokes. Mickelson shot even par as Woods finished at three under.  

    Woods essentially grabbed the Open by shooting 67 and 68 in the opening rounds.  

    Mickelson trailed by eight strokes after 36 holes and five after 54.

9: Sam Snead, Medinah 1949

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    22 Mar 1996:  Sam Snead looks on during the Legends of Golf  tournament at the PGA West Stadium Course in La Quinta, California. Mandatory Credit: J.D. Cuban  /Allsport
    J.D. Cuban/Getty Images

    Snead finished one stroke back of Cary Middlecoff. However Snead trailed by six shots entering the final round.  

    Middlecoff shot 67 and 69 in the middle-two rounds, which gave him a three-stroke lead over Clayton Heafner.  

    Middlecoff struggled in the final round, carding a 75, but his earlier work made up for it.

8: Sam Snead, Oakland Hills 1937

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    Oakland Hills 2008
    Oakland Hills 2008Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

    Snead, making his Open debut, entered the final round tied for second with Ralph Guldahl.  

    The leader, Ed Dudley, faded with a 76.  

    Guldahl shot a 69 to beat Snead by two strokes.  

    Snead may have been a rookie, but he won five times in 1937. Oakland Hills played over 7,000 yards.  Snead was capable of hitting the ball over 300 yards—he was credited with a 360-yard drive in the 1937 West Virginia Open.  

    He had the perfect course and didn't take advantage of it.

7: Phil Mickelson, Pinehurst, 1999

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    20 Jun 1999:  Phil Mickelson of the United States misses a vital putt on the 17th hole during the last day of the 1999 US Open played on the number two course at Pinehurst in North Carolina, USA. \ Mandatory Credit: David Cannon /Allsport
    David Cannon/Getty Images

    Mickelson obviously played distracted—his wife Amy was due to give birth to their first child. He carried a beeper and prepared to withdraw to see his child born.

    Mickelson held a one-shot lead over Payne Stewart on the back nine until he bogeyed the 16th.  Stewart then promptly birdied the 17th and made an 18-foot par putt on the 18th to beat Mickelson by one stroke.

6: Phil Mickelson, Bethpage Black 2009

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    FARMINGDALE, NY - JUNE 22:  Phil Mickelson walks across the 18th green during the continuation of the final round of the 109th U.S. Open on the Black Course at Bethpage State Park on June 22, 2009 in Farmingdale, New York.  (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty I
    Chris McGrath/Getty Images

    Mickelson was playing his last tournament before taking a break as his wife had been diagnosed with breast cancer.  

    Despite starting the final round six strokes back, Mickelson tied Lucas Glover for the lead after an eagle on the 13th.  

    However, Mickelson bogeyed the 15th and 17th and missed good chances for birdies.  

    Glover finished two strokes ahead of Mickelson. 

5: Sam Snead, Oakmont 1953

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    6 APR 1995:  THE LEGENDARY SAM SNEAD OF THE USA DRIVES OFF THE FIRST TEE DURING THE OPENING CEREMONY PRIOR TO START OF THE FIRST ROUND AT THE 1995 US MASTERS GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE AUGUSTA NATIONAL GOLF COURSE IN AUGUSTA, GEORGIA. Mandatory Credit: Stev
    Stephen Munday/Getty Images

    Snead trailed Ben Hogan entering the final round by one stroke, but he had every reason to expect to win.  

    Hogan's legs had been permanently damaged from a car accident four year prior, so walking 36 holes was a grueling ordeal for him.  

    Snead, on the other hand, was in fantastic shape and a win would tie him with Hogan at seven majors. 

    However, Snead shot a terrible 76 and lost to Hogan by six strokes. 

    He failed again to win the US Open while Hogan won his record tying fourth.

4: Phil Mickelson, Shinnecock 2004

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    Winner Retief Goosen, low amateur Spencer Levin and runnerup Phil Mickelson receive awards  at  the 2004 U. S. Open  at Shinnecock Hills,  June 20, 2004. (Photo by A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
    A. Messerschmidt/Getty Images

    Mickelson entered Sunday trailing Retief Goosen by two strokes. 

    Mickelson had lead after 36 holes, but a 73 gave Goosen the lead.  Mickelson caught Goosen on the 15th and with another birdie on the 16th took the lead.  

    However, Goosen also birdied 16 to tie it up.  

    Mickelson then imploded on the 17th hole, making a double bogey that included a three-putt from five feet.  

    Goosen would win by two strokes.

3: Sam Snead, St. Louis Country Club 1947

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    St Louis CC
    St Louis CCJamie Squire/Getty Images

    Snead was in an 18-hole playoff with Lew Worsham and up by two strokes on the 16th, which Worsham birdied.  

    Snead then bogeyed the 17th hole, tying the playoff.  

    On the 18th hole, Worsham requested a ruling as Snead was walking to tap in a short second putt for par.  After determining that Snead was away, he missed the putt of under three feet.  

    Worsham made his par putt and won the Open.

2: Phil Mickelson, Winged Foot 2006

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    MAMARONECK, NY - JUNE 18:  Phil Mickelson hits a shot from the bunker on the 18th hole during final round of the 2006 US Open Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club on June 18, 2006 in Mamaroneck, New York. Geoff Ogilvy won the US Open with a one stroke vi
    Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

    Mickelson was a par away from winning his third-straight major.  

    He decided to hit driver, which went way right.  Then he tried to reach the green from his lie, but he hit a tree.  His next shot ended up in a bunker.  His blast went off the green.  

    From there he got up and down, for a double bogey.  

    Mickelson summed it up best: "I am such an idiot."

1: Sam Snead, Philadelphia Country Club, 1939

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    19 Jul 2000:  Sam Snead of the USA on the 18th hole with Ian Baker-Finch during the Champions Challenge round at the 2000 British Open golf Championship  at the Old Course, St Andrews, Scotland. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Redington/ALLSPORT
    Andrew Redington/Getty Images

    Yes, Snead tops Mickelson's collapse—Snead finished with a bogey followed by a triple bogey.  

    After the bogey on 17, Snead thought he needed birdie to win.  

    He hooked his drive on the par-five 18th, and, like Mickelson in 2006, tried to reach the green.  

    Snead topped his two-wood, and his ball found a fairway bunker.  His next shot hit the lip and didn't clear.  He got out on his next shot only to find a green-side bunker.  He made it on the green but three-putted for a triple-bogey eight.  

    Snead wound up finishing in fifth place.