Secret putting tips? Just Phil Mickelson getting game ready for the British Open

  • Article by: TIM DAHLBERG , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 16, 2013 - 12:20 PM

GULLANE, Scotland — The pain of yet another excruciating loss at the U.S. Open has faded, replaced now by the euphoria of his first win in Europe in 20 years. Phil Mickelson's summer has been a lot like his career, and the roller coaster shows no signs of slowing down.

He's here with what he believes may be his best chance to win a British Open, though that's nothing new. Mickelson always believes, even when the drives are going sideways and the 3-footers are lipping out.

But he won the Scottish Open on Sunday and that was a big boost for a player who hasn't had much success on this side of the pond. And he did it in typical Mickelson fashion, winning in a playoff after blowing his first chance to win with a cringe-inducing three-putt on the final hole of regulation.

He's not terribly worried about his game at the Muirfield links. Not with a new putting technique he prefers to keep secret — this is Phil Mickelson, of course — and a 3-wood he can control better than any driver.

What does worry him is his luck, important in any golf tournament but especially critical in links golf.

"It's part of the tournament here," Mickelson said. "You need an element of luck, but you also need to play some great golf. These last few months I've played well enough to get in contention and play well, but I do need some luck."

On a course playing fast and hard, Mickelson put a little more money in his wallet Tuesday, pairing with Ricky Fowler to win a practice round match against Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka. The stakes were said to be substantial, and Mickelson ended the match by hitting a hybrid to the par-5 17th hole for a two-putt birdie that he and Fowler studied as hard as they might on Sunday in the Open.

If that was a good sign for Mickelson he wasn't saying. But he clearly feels at the top of his game, and seems to have gotten over his disappointment of finishing second for the sixth time last month at the U.S. Open.

"I am really optimistic about this week and going forward because I'm starting to putt as well as I ever have," Mickelson said. "I putted great last week, and more than that, I've been putting well now for months."

The reason, Mickelson said, is something he figured out after several years of trying, among other things, a belly putter and some unusual grips with the flat stick. Though famous for tinkering with everything with his golf game, Mickelson prefers to keep his latest revelation to himself.

"I feel that I've kind of keyed in on something, and I don't really want to share," he said.

Mickelson's lack of success in the British parallels his troubles at the U.S. Open except that he has rarely been in contention here. He finished tied for second two years ago after making a final round charge but for the most part he has struggled on the kind of courses that reward shots played closer to the ground and play much differently than the courses Mickelson normally plays on the PGA Tour.

Wind, hard ground, and deep bunkers are the trademarks of a links style course. And links courses like Royal Muirfield have given Mickelson fits over the years.

"It's a hate/love," Mickelson said when asked to describe his thoughts about links golf. "I used to hate it and now I love it."

Just how he'll feel about it on Sunday depends on whether he can find a way to not only win his first British Open but do it the week after he won another tournament. Mickelson accomplished the double before, winning the Bell South and then the Masters in 2006.

"It's difficult to win the week before a major and then follow it up winning a major," Mickelson said. "But, then again, the last person to do it, you're looking at him."

Uh, not exactly. Tiger Woods won the week before he won the PGA Championship in 2007, making him the last person to pull it off.

Forgive Mickelson if he's a bit off on his golf history. Some of it — at least the part about his play in 19 previous British Open — might be easier to forget. So might all his runner-up finishes in the other Open he hasn't been able to win.

No, his summers haven't all been good. Nothing that won't change, though, if he's the one holding the winner's claret jug this time around.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close