But neither was accustomed to spending much time in contention at a major championship. In his first 11 majors Glover missed six cuts and finished no better than 20th, at the 2007 Masters. Barnes won the 2002 U.S. Amateur and scored better than Tiger Woods in the Masters the next year. With his long drives, square jaw and chiseled frame, Barnes looked like a budding star, but he languished for five years on the Nationwide tour before finally earning his PGA Tour card. Entering the Open, he had not finished in the top 10 in a Tour event. "It's humbled me," he said last Saturday of his journey.
"I told him, once he got his Tour card, 'What separates you from [Tour veterans] is attitude,'" says Barnes's older brother and caddie, Andy, an assistant men's golf coach at Arizona. "Those guys think they can win every week. Ricky's never lacked confidence, but he's beat himself up at times. He's a perfectionist."
Over the first two rounds the 28-year-old Barnes was nearly flawless. He set the 36-hole U.S. Open scoring record at eight-under 132, lashing at the Black course with a second-round 65 to take a one-shot lead over Glover. Barnes extended his lead to six shots midway through Sunday's third round—he reached 11 under par with an eagle on the 4th hole, becoming only the fourth player in Open history to get to double figures under par—but then he started to look shaky. He began yanking drives left, and, in a blink, his putts lacked conviction. During a 24-hole stretch starting at number 7 in the third round, he was 10 over par and surrendered the lead with four consecutive front-nine bogeys on Monday.
"I just didn't settle down very well late in the front nine," said Barnes, who grew up in Stockton, Calif. "That was pretty sour."
Woods, shooting for his 15th major, had his own things going on. Though he finished tied for sixth and four shots behind Glover, he remained on the perimeter of the chase. Woods's downfall came at the par-4 15th hole, which he played in four over par, including a bogey on Monday after he had pulled to within three of the lead. (When he won in 2002, Tiger played the 15th in one under par.)
With Woods lagging, the stage was set for Mickelson, who seemed on the verge of the most emotional win of his career. Last month, when Phil and Amy saw on TV that fellow Tour players and wives, as well as fans, had dressed in pink for Amy and breast cancer awareness at the Crowne Plaza Invitational in Fort Worth, they cried together. Then Amy, whose treatment will begin on July 1, did something her husband hadn't expected. "Amy pushed him to play," says Butch Harmon, Mickelson's swing coach.
Phil finished 59th at the St. Jude Classic in Memphis, then flew home to spend two nights with Amy and their three children. Before he set off for Bethpage, Amy had one request. "She would like a silver trophy in her hospital room," Phil said at a midweek press conference. "I'm going to try to accommodate that."
All of New York seemed bent on helping Mickelson get it. Four of his record five runner-up finishes in the Open have come in the state—at Bethpage to Woods in 2002, at Shinnecock Hills to Retief Goosen in 2004, at Winged Foot to Geoff Ogilvy in 2006, each loss more excruciating than the one that preceded it. This time, after an eagle at the 13th had pulled him even with Glover on Monday, sending roars around the back nine as his score was posted, he was undone by bogeys at the 15th and 17th holes.
"Certainly I'm disappointed," said Mickelson, who will most likely skip the British Open next month. "But now that it's over, I've got more important things going on."
For most of the week, heavy rains softened the course and robbed the championship of definition. In fact, Bethpage was so defenseless that 60 under-par scores were posted, 34 more than the field registered in 2002. On top of it all, the USGA had to overcome a public relations disaster when officials announced on Thursday that first-round ticket holders would not receive refunds despite witnessing only three hours of waterlogged golf. After the New York state attorney general's office threatened legal action and New York City's tabloids and talk-radio stations took turns skewering the USGA (BONEHEAD POLICY SOAKS FANS screamed the Post), officials reversed course and offered Thursday ticket holders entry onto the grounds on Monday or a 50% refund had play concluded on Sunday.