Mickelson back down to earth
British Open champion ready to resume his challenge for more titles
British Open golf champion Phil Mickelson holds the Claret Jug on the floor of the New York Stock exchange. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images
Having been on cloud nine since winning his fifth major crown at the British Open nine days ago, Phil Mickelson is ready to resume his challenge for more titles at this week‘s WGC-Bridgestone Invitational.
By his own admission, the American world number two is playing some of the best golf of his life and is eager to take full advantage with several high-profile tournaments on his schedule over the next two months.
“We‘ve got the big event here, a World Golf Championships (WGC) event, we‘ve got the PGA (Championship) next week, and our FedExCup (play-offs),“ Mickelson said at Firestone Country Club yesterday while preparing for tomorrow’s opening round.
“So it‘s a lot of golf left. Right now I‘m playing as well as I ever have and want to make sure I stay focused this week and next week because there‘s an opportunity to add to this year and make this year every bit as special as it can be.”
Mickelson won his second title of the year by a commanding three shots at Muirfield, separating himself from the field with a stunning final round of five-under-par 66.
It was his first success in the year‘s third major, having recorded only two top-10s in his previous 19 appearances at the event, and he has since barely kept his hands off the coveted Claret Jug.
“It‘s been really a fun time,“ the American left-hander said. “I‘m just excited every day that I‘ve got the Claret Jug and I get to look at it every day. It‘s here with me. It‘s not like I‘m going to leave it.”
Mickelson was delighted to be back in golf mode, his previous nine days having been a whirlwind of victory celebrations, media commitments, travel and a visit to Oak Hill Country Club, venue for next week‘s PGA Championship.
“Last week I had a lot of other things going on that didn‘t allow me to practise until Saturday,“ he said.
“I went up to Oak Hill and wasn‘t really able to work on my game yesterday as much as I was developing strategy and getting ready and prepared for next week‘s major.
“Starting today was the first day that I was able to really work on my game and work on my touch, work on shot-making and so forth. It was not far off. I hit a lot of good shots today. I‘m playing really well.“
Mickelson was impressed with the condition of Oak Hill: “It‘s in immaculate shape, it‘s really pristine,“ he said. “It‘s difficult, as you can imagine. It‘s as thick a rough as I‘ve seen in a long time.”