AUGUSTA, Ga. — Phil Mickelson's Masters tournament is over — already.
The three-time Masters champion missed the cut in the first major golf tournament of the year for the first time since 1997 after shooting a 5-over-par 149 the first two days. He followed up a 4-over round Thursday with a 1-over round Friday that included a triple-bogey at No. 12 by hitting out of bunkers three times before putting. Birdies on three of his last five holes couldn't get the patron favorite inside the cut.
"I didn't play great, I didn't play bad, but I had one bad hole on 12," Mickelson said. "I keep making these triples, which are hard to overcome."
Mickelson, who won the Masters in 2004, 2006 and 2010, shot 8 over on Nos. 7, 12 and 15 in two days. He said he'd watch the rest of the tournament.
"It's an exciting tournament," he said. "It would kind of be my punishment."
Unkind cut line
Some of the other best players in the world didn't play their best in the first two rounds and will not be participating in the final two rounds of the Masters.
Besides Mickelson, 10 other players ranked in the top 25 of the Official World Golf Rankings failed to make the cut Friday.
Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson and Charl Schwartzel each missed by one stroke. Zach Johnson, Dustin Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Jason Dufner, Keegan Bradley, Victor Dubuisson and Patrick Reed missed by more than one small putt.
On the flip side, old-timers Bernhard Langer, Larry Mize and Sandy Lyle did make the cut.
University of Tennessee sophomore Oliver Goss will spend his 20th birthday playing in the third round of the Masters today. That's not a bad gift to himself in his first Masters.
"My 20th birthday is tomorrow, and that's the last thing I'm thinking of," Goss said. "I'm just absolutely excited to be playing on the weekend."
Former Georgia golfer Russell Henley will be playing on his 25th birthday today.
"I was talking to [caddie Adam] Hayes about it. We're trying to get into contention," Henley said. "I just made the cut, but making the cut is great and shows that I'm doing some good stuff."
Goss should also end up as the low amateur and win a silver cup, because none of the others made the cut. All he has to do is finish the tournament. Former UT teammate Garrick Porteous shot a 12-over 156.
Couples, of course
Veteran Fred Couples almost always seems to make some sort of appearance on the leaderboard during the Masters.
He's there again this year after shooting a 1-under 71 for a second straight day, which has him in a tie for seventh with Jimmy Walker and Jim Furyk.
"I'm not here just to play golf and think that I can't compete on this course," Couples said. "I can't compete with these guys over a year, but on one week I can compete, and I have to do it tomorrow."
Couples also had longtime Augusta observers flashing back to 1992 when his tee shot into the par-3 12th nestled on the bank in front of Rae's Creek instead of rolling into the water.
Nearly the exact same thing happened Friday.
"I got very, very lucky," Couples said. "I was so excited it didn't go in the water, I kind of nonchalanted and kind of flubbed the chip and made a bogey there."
Contact David Uchiyama at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6484. Follow him at twitter.com/UchiyamaCTFP.
David Uchiyama is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who began his tenure here in May 2001. His primary beats are UTC athletics — specifically men’s basketball and athletic department administration — and golf, which includes coverage from the PGA Tour to youth events. He also covers other high school sports, outdoor adventures, and contributes to other sections of the newspaper when necessary. David grew up in Salinas, Calif., and began working ...