AUGUSTA, Ga. — The last time Phil Mickelson failed to make the cut at the Masters, Bill Clinton was president, Google didn't exist and Lefty's favorite burger joint, Five Guys, was just a year old.
Mickelson joined Tiger Woods on the Masters sidelines Friday, missing the cut by one measly stroke. Take away either of the triple bogeys Lefty made the first two days, and he would have made his 17th consecutive cut at Augusta National, matching Woods for the longest streak by an active player.
Woods is missing the Masters for the first time since 1994 after having back surgery March 31. It's the first time neither Woods nor Mickelson will play the weekend at a major since 1999.
"Why couldn't I get it going? You know, I don't really have a great answer for you," Mickelson said. "I've actually played reasonably well for a majority of the holes, and then the ones that I let slide I end up making a big number.
"So it's tough to overcome those big numbers."
Mickelson wasn't the only big name on the wrong side of the cut line. Former Masters champions Charl Schwartzel, Angel Cabrera, Zach Johnson and Trevor Immelman won't be playing the weekend. Neither will major champions Ernie Els, Graeme McDowell, Keegan Bradley and Jason Dufner.
Luke Donald, Sergio Garcia and Webb Simpson also have their weekend free.
This is exactly what Mickelson feared when he arrived at Augusta National on Monday. The three-time Masters champion doesn't have a win yet this year, and he was forced to withdraw from the Valero Texas Open two weeks ago after pulling a muscle in his right side.
Mickelson was forced out of the Farmers Insurance Open earlier in the season with a back injury.
Though Lefty said he feels good – he shot a 68 in the first round of the Shell Houston Open last week and wound up tied for 12th – his game isn't as sharp as it needs to be.
Especially at a course like Augusta National.
"That's what I've been nervous about, having a hole like (No.) 7 yesterday, a hole like 12 today, where I go along, making pars, putting the ball in the right spot and you just get a bad situation," Mickelson said. "And instead of one (shot) sliding, two or three are going away.
"That's the kind of stuff when you're playing tournament golf and you're mentally sharp, you don't do," he added. "And that's the kind of stuff I seem to be doing right now."
Mickelson's tee shot on the par-3 No. 12 landed in the greenside bunker, in a spot where there was no sand. When he tried to blast out, he caught the liner and bladed the ball across the green – right into the bunker behind the green.
He did the same thing when he tried to get out of that bunker, landing back in the greenside trap. He finally got out on the third try, but the six he made, plus a bogey on 13, left him in a hole that was too big to dig out of on the second day.
"It's going to be close," Mickelson said when he finished. "I don't want to be looking for the leaderboard, but I'm always fighting to make the weekend, it seems like."
Mickelson's cut streak at the PGA Championship goes back even longer; he hasn't missed the weekend at the year's last major since 1995. But he has made no secret of his affection for Augusta National, particularly on this, the 10th anniversary of his first green jacket.
Despite that, Mickelson was upbeat when he finished his round, greeting wife Amy with a big hug and taking a few minutes to talk to friends before heading to the locker room.
He'll probably even watch this weekend if he's not playing.
"It's an exciting tournament," Mickelson said, and then gave a slight smile. "It'll kind of be my punishment."