Phil Mickelson shot a 69 in the first round of the British Open, good enough to put him in the club house three shots off the pace set by Zach Johnson. Despite putting himself in a great position to contend for the Claret Jug, Mickelson criticized the Muirfield course they are playing at.
“I got really lucky (tee time) because I think the R&A was really worried about the scores going too low and there are some really funky pin placements,” Mickelson said. “They used some funny spots and about one third of every green has just died it’s so brown. I hit two perfect shots on 18, left it in the exact spot I wanted to leave it and I just kind of lagged it still went way by. I got really lucky to play early because I at least had a fighting chance.
With weird pin placements and greens dried out to the point of turning brown, those teeing off later in the day have struggled out of the gate. Phil surely is not surprised that the later players are struggling considering he predicted the course would prove unfair to those with late tee times.
“I don’t see anyone in the afternoon with a realistic chance (at shooting low). It’s a little overdone. I feel bad for these guys who have to go out and play it. There is a distinct disadvantage. Luck is always a factor but it this shouldn’t have been a factor. The weather didn’t come here. It’s fine, its just the way it was presented,” Mickelson said in the club house.
Lefty was not the only player to voice their displeasure with the course at Muirfield. After completing his round of 72, Ian Poulter took to Twitter to reiterate Mickelson’s sentiment. “Unfortunately the guys this afternoon will struggle with a few pin positions. 8th hole is a joke, 18th needs a windmill & clown face.”
Mickelson has himself in contention with a 69 despite criticizing the course, he no doubt is hoping that he receives an early tee time in the remaining rounds. With comments such as the ones he has made, perhaps the course would get in his head if he is forced to tee off later in the day at any point of the tournament.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express