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Mickelson's 6 runner up performances at US open

It was no great surprise that Phil Mickelson's official website had not been updated as of Monday afternoon. Even the people paid to spin every round his way must have felt a bit agonized at having to replace those stories about his lead, his daughter, his birthday and Father's Day with the lousy reality of another second-place finish at the US Open.

On Sunday, Mickelson extended one of the more bizarre records in sport, finishing second at the US Open for a record sixth time, a stat which means that six times he's been better than at least 150 players on the course, but just not quite good enough to win the trophy.

Of course, Mickelson is a champion - heck, he's a multi-champion, with three green jackets from the Masters, a win at the PGA Championship and 37 other pro titles under his belt.

But the very nature of the US Open - the pride for Americans who win it, its traveling rotation of great golf courses and the legendary cast who have won titles there previous - have made it as elusive as Captain Ahab's white whale for Mickelson.

Here's a look back at his six runner-up finishes at the US Open.

 
Year: 1999

Course: Pinehurst Resort Course No. 2, North Carolina

The Skinny: Mickelson turned 29 the day before the tournament started and shot 3-under on Day One to sit in a field of four for the lead. That tie shrank to three players after two rounds, and Mickelson was one stroke back of eventual champion Payne Stewart after three. The pair were neck and neck on 18, but Stewart sank a 15-foot punt to claim the title.

The Fall-out: Mickelson took the next month off, then shot an abysmal 13-over and missed the cut at the British Open. A month after that, he finished tied for 57th at the PGA Championship. Stewart's championship became one of the most bittersweet victories in golf history. Barely four months after the victory, he was one of five people who died on a private airplane that suffered cabin depressurization.
 
Year: 2002

Course: Black Course, Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale, New York

The Skinny: Mickelson entered the field with five Top three finishes during the first six months of the season, but like so many other golfers at the time, he was constantly being denied titles by Tiger Woods. Mickelson was three shots off the lead with a par 70 after one day, and eight strokes behind Woods after a 3-over 73 on Day Two. Woods was "only" good for a par on Day Three, while Mickelson went three under to close within five shots and tie for third. His final push came as Woods went&n bsp;2-over on Day Four, allowing Mickelson to move within three shots of the seemingly unstoppable phenom, but he came no closer to finish second again.

The Fall-out: Woods was the first player in 30 years to win the Masters and the US Open back to back. Mickelson returned the next week to win Hartford, but his struggles at the Majors continued as he finished 66th at the British Open and 34th at the PGA Championship.
 
Year: 2004

Course: Shinnecock Hills Golf Club, New York

The Skinny: Mickelson's previous two runner-up attempts were near misses. This is the one that hurt. Lefty had broken through for his first major champion, winning the Masters, two months earlier and boasting 10 Top 10 finishes among his 14 tournaments to date. He was two shots off the pace and tied for fifth after Day One, then fired a 6-under 66 without a single bogey on the second day to leap into a tie with Japan's Shigeki Maruyama. Bogeys on 17 and 18 cost him the lead at the end of Day Th ree as South Africa's Retief Goosen surged ahed by two strokes. Despite high winds for the Sunday finale, Mickelson birdied No. 15 and 16 to take back a one stroke lead. The high led to a low immediately after as Mickelson collapsed to a double bogey on No. 17 after having a chance for a par putt from five feet away. Goosen, in the second group to start the day, birdied No. 16 to take the lead back and parred the last two holes to take the win.

The Fall-out: Mickelson put forth an admirable effort to take third at the British Open a month later and tied for sixth at the PGA CHampionship, but staggered down the stretch, with only one Top 20 finish over the last four months of the year.
 
Year: 2006

Course: Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, New York

The Skinny: Mickelson was on top of the world entering the 2006 US Open, having won the Masters and finished 2005 with a victory at the PGA Championship. That streak looked over when he was four strokes off the lead at the tournament's midway point, but a 3-under 69 on Day Three vaulted him into a tie for first. With three holes to go, only a couple of shots separated the field of Mickelson, Geoff Ogilvy, Jim Furyk and Colin Montgomerie. Of the four, Mickelson fared the worst, but still needed just  a par to win and a bogey to force a playoff on No. 18. Instead, he had one of the worst finishes in his career, as his tee shot bounced off the hospitality tent behind a legion of spectators and his second shot found a bunker. With his nerves visibly fraying, Mickelson ended up with a double bogey as Ogilvy snuck away with a 1-stroke victory.

The Fall-out: After his tremendous start to the year, Mickelson cooled off considerably, 22nd at the British, 16th at the PGA Championship as defending champion and did not play at all after the Ryder Cup in September.
 
Year: 2009

Course: Black Course, Bethpage State Park, Farmingdale, New York

The Skinny: It was an emotional time for Mickelson, who had announced that after the tournament's conclusion, he would take time off to be with his wife, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. The whole field raced to catch Mike Weir, who fired a 6-under 64 on Day One, and rain made for frequent stops in play. Mickelson was out of the Top 10 after two days, but fought back to tie for fifth after the third at 2-under, still six shots behind leader Ricky Barnes. Rain pushed the final round to  ;Monday where Barnes imploded on the front nine, opening the door for Lucas Golver and Mickelson. The hard-charging Lefty caught Glover at No. 13 with an eagle, only to to blow a short birdie on No. 14, three-put a bogey on No. 15 and bogey 17 to finish tied for second, two strokes out of the lead.

The Fall-out: This finish broke the record of four second-place US Open finishes that he had previously shared with Jack Nickalus, Arnold Palmer, Sam Snead and Bobby Jones.
 
Year: 2013

Course: Merion Golf Club, Ardmore, Philadelphia

The Skinny: Mickelson had at least a share of the lead at the conclusion of the first three days of the tournament, only to put a pair of double bogeys up early on Sunday to force him to play from behind. He turned things around on No. 10 with a staggering 76-yard eagle that brought the crowd back firmly into his corner, but bogeys on No. 17 and 18 let Justin Rose slip past him in the end.

The Fall-out: Time will tell

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