As Phil Mickelson gets set to open his Stateside PGA season at hometown Torrey Pines, he was asked about his history at the U.S. Open and if he thinks he can capture the one major to still elude him. “I’m excited that the tournament that I’ve played some of my best golf in is the one that I haven’t won and I feel it’s just a matter of time,” he said. He added, “It may be this year at Pinehurst, it may not, but I do believe that will come. I actually believe I’ll win a couple.”
This isn’t really much of a revelation to many, as “Lefty” has always been a very confident player; but ostensibly this appears to be the real focus of Phil’s career twilight. Having already locked up Hall-of-Fame status, the only thing left for Phil to accomplish is winning America’s Championship. Doing so will help to polish a legacy, that up until his Masters win 3 years ago, was arguably more famous for his meltdowns and “I’m such an idiot” speech than for the greatness he’s put forth.
Phil also went into a bit of detail on why there is real reason to believe that he can pull of a win before it’s too late. “The two areas of my game that I’ve not been as efficient as I would like in the last three or four years have turned into strengths. One of them is putting. I putted great last year. And the other is the driver.” This is why I think he has such a great shot at both Pinehurst and in 2015 at Chambers Bay. Both courses, from a design standpoint, are a good fit for the new Lefty. Wide fairways with punishing waste areas play to his better accuracy off the tee. Meanwhile, tough bunkers and severe greens play into his classic short game mastery and new confident putting stroke.
It’s difficult to tell if it’s just lip service, or if Phil really thinks he’s up to the task of winning multiple trophies after the age of 43. But when I think of golfers with the combination of bravado, guts and short memory to get it done, I think of Phil Mickelson.