PARAMUS New Jersey Phil Mickelson, a fan favorite for his bold play and friendly disposition, gave spectators at The Barclays an unusual treat on Friday as he played a shot from a hospitality tent dining deck.
The five-times major champion blasted an errant drive at the 295-yard par-four fifth hole at Ridgewood Country Club and a bad bounce placed the ball on the artificial turf floor among the dining tables on the deck of a grandstand overlooking the green.
With the crowd around the green roaring encouragement, Mickelson climbed the stairs and surveyed his lie as patrons parted to let him through.
After some tables were shoved aside and backpacks cleared from the floor to give him room, Mickelson played on.
"I hit a crappy drive, hit the cart path and went into the grandstands, and my drop was going to be in hay," explained the big left-hander.
"I had a clear lie on nice ground there and played it. I hit it a little too hard, went over the green, hit a bunker shot to 20 feet and made bogey."
Mickelson, who posted a 72 to make the cut right on the number at one-over 143, said it was not the first time he has hit off a grandstand.
"If you hit it off‑line enough, you're going to see those spots," he said.
Mickelson said the flop shot he tried from there was not that difficult. "It wasn't hard to make contact. It was hard to hit it on that skinny little green and get it to stop. That was it."
Despite the bogey, Mickelson, who bumped fists with a young spectator on his way off the grandstand to continue the hole, rather enjoyed the moment.
"It's fun," he said.
(Reporting by Larry Fine; Editing by Gene Cherry)