Akron, Ohio Phil Mickelson has won 35 times around the world, starting with a PGA Tour event when he was still in college. His collection includes three major championships, and he is solidly entrenched at No. 2 in the world rankings.
That must make him the best player to have never won a World Golf Championship.
Mickelson got a chuckle out of the suggestion after making a midround adjustment Saturday at the Bridgestone Invitational that led to three straight birdies and a 2-under 68, giving him a share of the lead with Vijay Singh and Lee Westwood.
It's not quite the same burden as "best to have never won a major," the label he shed in 2004 at the Masters. And the WGC events are not nearly as prestigious as the majors.
Even so, he never has had this good an opportunity to win one.
"They started midway through my career, so I haven't given them the priority like I do a major, or care about like a major," said Mickelson, who has skipped four of the WGCs held overseas. "But they are always the best fields in the game, they're always on great golf courses, they're always on tough tests. So I think there's a lot of merit to whoever wins those."
Tiger Woods has won 15 of them, including six at Firestone. The leaders through 54 holes have a combined 116 victories around the world, and all of them will be going for their first world title.
Singh missed two putts inside 31â2 feet, but he holed two straight birdies from 12 feet to keep pace with Mickelson and wound up with a 69. The big Fijian will be in the final group with Westwood, who was far more conventional. The 35-year-old from England said he drove as well as he can remember, missing only two fairways, and wound up with a 67.
They all were at 8-under 202 - three players from three parts of the world, giving this a truly global appeal.
Not to be forgotten was Stuart Appleby of Australia, the only player to compete in all 29 of these events since they began in 1999. Appleby fired a 67.