From the Rough

Golf without discretion

Phil Mickelson seems to be finding his Masters mojo

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Nothing surprises us when it comes to Phil Mickelson. Seriously, think about it for a second. The guy has gone for the green from the pine straw at Augusta National; tried to hole a wedge shot from the fairway at Torrey by having caddie Jim “Bone” Mackay pull the flag; and hit flop shots over Roger Cleveland … from a couple feet in front of him.

There’s no telling what Phil is going to do next … except him when it comes to the Masters. For one week out of the year, Mr. Unpredictable shows up at Augusta National and suddenly turns into one of the most consistent, and reliable, players on the planet.

Don’t believe me? Just look at these stats, dating back to Mickelson’s first top 10 — his second Masters start as a pro — at Augusta National: Three wins, four thirds, a fifth and a T-5, T-6, two T-7s and a 10th.

Those stats look like a golfer’s career numbers — only they happen to be Phil’s record at Augusta. They guy is a veritable ATM when he steps on the most hallowed ground in golf. For some reason, Mickelson can waste the early part of the season doing next to nothing, but the second the last week in March rolls around, something changes.

The game gets tight and suddenly, Phil looks like a contender. He certainly looked like one earlier this season, when he won at Pebble and nearly backed it up with another at Riviera. But along the way Mickelson lost something.

Maybe it was Phil being Phil, but his game looked stagnant. But not anymore. Mickelson fired a 7-under 65 on Friday morning at the Shell Houston Open (he finished his last 15 holes after his first round was rained out), and backed it up with a 2-under 70 to get within a couple of Brian Davis.

The good news for Mickelson is the weekend at the Houston Open has been good to him. Last season, he went 63-65 over the weekend to go into the Masters as the prohibitive favorite. The funny thing is even if he doesn’t end up winning this week, Mickelson has already taken a huge step towards getting his game in order for next week.

There were a couple of loose shots on Friday and a three-putt to end up round, but blame that on playing 33 holes in one day. Phil Mickelson looks like a legitimate champion heading into the Masters, and if he can somehow pick up a win in Humble, Tex., well, we could be looking at the most anticipated Masters. Ever.

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Written by Jonathan Wall

03/30/2012 at 7:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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