Lefty's caddie relishes thrills

Monday, April 13, 2009
By Scott Michaux
Staff Writer

Jim "Bones" Mackay has carried the bag in three major victories, but Sunday's experience shined even in a gallant losing effort by his employer, Phil Mickelson.

Phil Mickelson leaves No. 2 after making birdie, one of six he made on the front nine.

(Michael Holahan/Staff)

"This was arguably the most fun I've ever had on a golf course," Mackay said after a day spent with the world's two best players during the Masters Tournament.

Playing with Tiger Woods an hour before the leaders teed off, Mickelson shot 6-under 30 on the front nine to climb from seven shots back to within a shot of the lead. Woods and Mickelson were both tied at 10-under through the 16th hole as the massive galleries following them reveled in the theater of the day.

"It was electric," Mackay said. "That's a great pairing. ... The crowds seemed to be digging it."

Mackay said Sunday was just as much fun as any of the three major victories he's shared with Mickelson, including their breakthrough green jacket victory in 2004.

"We're out there with the best player in golf; it's 75 degrees and sunny; he shot 30 on the front. C'mon! Let's try to win the Masters," Mackay said.

Mickelson arrived at the course with that same philosophy. He told his wife, Amy, before the round that he was loving the opportunity that lay ahead of him.

"Whatever happens, it's my favorite day of the year," he said.

Amy Mickelson said she was "a heart attack out there" with all of the drama, which included the front-nine 30, the double bogey on 12, birdies at 13 and 15 and a few missed makeable putts.

"It felt more like '04 because there were so many birdies," she said.

Mackay said Mickelson's performance was among his most impressive despite the final result.

"The thing I find impressive with what he did today was he did it without clicking on all cylinders," Mackay said.

Reach Scott Michaux at (706) 823-3219 or scott.michaux@augustachronicle.com.