If not this time, when?
When will the heartbreak of coming close stop? When will Phil Mickelson win a U.S. Open, the one championship that always seems to elude him?
After all, if he can't do it on birthday, on Father's Day, with most of the crowd on hand not only urging him on but serenading him, it's fair to wonder if that day will ever happen
"For me it's very heart breaking," said Mickelson, who had to settle for his sixth runner-up finish at the Open at 3-over par, shared with Australian Jason Day, two strokes behind winner Justin Rose. "Also playing very well here and really loving the golf course, I felt, heading in the way I was playing and the position I was in, this was my best chance.
"So this one's probably the toughest for me. At 43 and coming so close five times, it would have changed the way I look at this tournament altogether and the way I would have looked at my record."
Unable to sink a putt all day, it finally appeared Mickelson's fortunes had changed when his 75-yard wedge on No. 10 dropped onto the green, then rolled right into the cup, tying him with Rose for the lead. Later in the day, after Rose bogeyed No. 16 to create a three-way tie with Mickelson and Hunter Mahan, the momentum again seemed to be turning.
Instead, while Rose was parring the final two holes to finish plus-1, Mickelson gambled on a long chip shot at 15 rather than an uphill putt. It left him with a 15-footer coming back, which wouldn't drop for the decisive bogey.
Story of the day. Story of his Open career.
"If I had won today or if I ultimately win, I'll look back at the other Opens and think that it was a positive play," smiled Mickelson, who praised the Philadelphia crowds and the folks at Merion for making it possible to bring the Open here. "If I never get the Open, then I look back and I think that — every time I think of the U.S. Open — I just think of heartbreak.''
And years from now when they remember the 2013 U.S. Open here at Merion, they'll think of this when it comes to Phil Mickelson: So close and yet so far away.