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Phil Mickelson full of confidence
March 8, 2012

Three-time Masters winner Phil Mickelson believes he is “back in the mix” among the world’s top golfers thanks to some new-found confidence after rediscovering his touch on the green.

Mickelson won the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am in February and will be among the favorites at Augusta National next month but he has some way to go before challenging for the top spot in the world rankings.

The left-hander is competing this week in the WGC-Cadillac Championship at Doral’s Blue Monster course where the world’s top three - Rory McIlroy, Luke Donald and Lee Westwood - are grouped together for the first two rounds.

“I’m just glad to be back in the mix. I’m glad to be back playing well again and to be not just executing in practice but executing back out on tour. That just feels good, to be making putts again,” he told reporters on Wednesday.

“This year is different for me for one simple reason - my putter is back. I hit the ball great the last couple of years and this year I can roll it again and it feels terrific.

“I believe I am going to make them even when I don’t. I feel good, the putter just feels good in my hands and I just feel really good on the greens. I’ve got a lot of confidence.”

The 41-year-old, who is in ninth place on the all-time PGA Tour standings with 40 wins, said his confidence was given a major boost at Pebble Beach, where he fired a flawless eight-under-par 64 in the final round for a two-stroke win.

“That was a big week for me, a big final round because I really had not played to the level I thought I was playing in practice and it had been a while since I had won,” he said. “It did a lot to boost my confidence and gave me a lot of motivation to work hard.”

McIlroy grabbed the top spot in the world rankings with his win at the Honda Classic on Sunday but Mickelson said that while the Northern Irishman was a worthy number one, he believes he can get in the frame if he can recapture the form he had during the era when he was jostling with Tiger Woods for top spot.

“I have not played to the level that I know I am capable of … nor the level that I played to for a number of years in the 2000s,” said Mickelson. “But if I just play the way I did for a number of years when Tiger was dominating, I think that my points would put me up there.”

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