Masters 2012: Phil Mickelson counts cost of triple bogey
Phil Mickelson conceded that a triple-bogey six on the par-three fourth cost him a fourth Masters victory.
The American began the final round one shot back but paid the price for trying to hack his way out of trouble as he ended two behind winner Bubba Watson.
"That's where it went away [on the fourth] and I don't know what else I would have done differently," he said.
"There was no place to go other than back to the tee. So I took the risk of trying to hit it a few times."
Mickelson's tee shot on the 240-yard hole hit the stand 20 yards to the left of the green and catapulted more than 50 feet into the air before coming to rest under a bush.
Faced with the option of returning to the tee for what would have been his third shot, the left-hander opted to turn a wedge around and try and hack the ball out right-handed.
The three-time Augusta winner could only move the ball a few inches and was forced to play his third shot in similar fashion. This time he advanced his ball a few feet but then hit his fourth into a greenside bunker.
Mickelson almost holed his fifth from the sand but ended up tapping in a short putt for a six that dropped him back to five under.
"Tactically I hit that [tee] shot where I had to hit it, which is at the bunker," the 41-year-old insisted. "Anything left of the pin is fine but the right side is almost a sure bogey.
"If it goes into people and stops right there, no problem. If it goes into the grandstand, no problem [but] it hit the metal railing and shot in the trees.
"I didn't mean for it to hit the stand but then I didn't have a chance for an unplayable lie."
Mickelson still had 14 holes to make amends but he could only pick up birdies at the three remaining par fives - the eighth, 13th and 15th.
"I didn't feel like I made any mistakes but I didn't make anything happen," he added.
"There were a lot of roars with all the eagles and birdies going in and it was exciting. It was fun having a chance and I felt I had a chance all the way through 17."