Nobody would question that Jordan Spieth is one of the best golfers in the world. Still only 23 years old, the young Texan has won his share of tournaments, including a green jacket at the Masters a couple years back.
He was right there for another one in 2016, but totally botched the par three 12th hole, racking up a quadruple bogie seven. It cost him the tournament.
In his opening round this year, he similarly butchered the par five 15th, posting another quadruple bogey nine. That one hole might well cost him the tournament. If he only loses by a stroke or two, just like last year, there it was. Over the course of 72 holes, one five minute bout of apparent brain freeze will have done him in.
The two par fives on the back nine at Augusta National wouldn't appear to look that tough. After all, they're a modest 510 and 530 yards in length -- quite short by PGA major tournament standards. One would think the top players in the world would rain birdies on both of them, if not several eagle 3's along the way.
So far, that hasn't been the case. Those two holes have given the players fits.
Phil Mickelson remains quite the enigma. Now in his forties, Lefty can still play with the best of them when he's on. Mickelson has repeatedly shown he's capable of one miraculous shot after another. He's got the whole bag of tricks.
Alas, a familiar Lefty nemesis has reared its ugly head again at this year's Masters. The 4-foot yips.
See Phil drop in a winding birdie putt from 30 feet. Amazing.
See Phil push a 4-footer wide left.
See Phil nail another long bomb.
See Phil pull a 3-footer wide right.
So far, Leftie has missed a handful of such short putts. Not gimmes, but to have a chance at winning the green jacket, a player has to make more of these than he misses.
He's on the leader board, still in contention by all means, and could pull it off yet. But like Spieth, if Mickelson winds up a stroke or two short when play is done on Sunday, he'll know exactly what did him in as well.
Drilling an occasional long one is both skill and a bit of luck. Gladly take them when they come, yet the odds are highly against it happening very often.
But ya gotta make the short ones.
Those dang yips have haunted Phil for what seems like forever.