PGA Championship 2017: Phil Mickelson’s struggles reflect the weight of time

CHARLOTTE – Phil Mickelson looked old. Not old in any real human sense. But old and drawn and defeated by gravity, looking old the way athletes, once young, suddenly look old. He is 47. He stood at the back of the first tee. He drank water. He stood away from everyone else, waiting his turn. By the gallery rope, I heard a man say, “Phil probably won’t be here tomorrow.”

Nope. Gone. He would miss the PGA cut by a thousand, just as he had missed the British Open cut a month ago. Mickelson today was a Mickelson we had never seen before. Bones was gone, the caddie. Jim Mackay was taller and leaner than Phil. Bones standing by the bag made Phil look better. No Bones now, a break-up after all those years winning. And there’s more wrong with this picture. There’s Phil’s involvement in that insider-trader thing which might or might not be a thing but it’s something. There’s the psoriatic arthritis, too, and when you’re 47 with arthritis burning your joints and you say it’s no problem, old people with arthritis say, “Oh, really?”

So Phil hit his tee shot.

A single voice in the gallery said, “Good shot, Phil.”

Another said, “Let’s go, Phil.”

He touched the bill of his cap and

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