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Phil Mickelson figuring how to extend year

Phil Mickelson believes he has a recipe for success in the majors. Now he just has to figure out where to find strength for the rest of the year, particularly the Ryder Cup.

Mickelson has said in recent weeks that he was mentally exhausted once the PGA Championship was over. He devoted most of his energy to preparing for the majors, and no one can argue with the results -- a victory in the Masters, second in the U.S. Open, third in the British Open and tied for sixth in the PGA.

But he struggled the rest of the year, including the Ryder Cup.

``I don't know how I'm going to handle that exactly,'' Mickelson said Tuesday. ``But my schedule will start to change from now on, given my performance after August, being tired and needing a little refresher.''

Fourteen of Mickelson's 25 tour victories have come on the West Coast Swing, another example that he plays his best golf after a long break. He has won only twice in his career after the majors.

``After a nice long break, I'm excited and eager. I'm working hard. I just look forward to it,'' he said. ``And after August when the PGA is done, I'm so tired that it's hard for me to get the work ethic in. Rather than fight it, I think I just need to accept it.''

Much was made of Mickelson changing equipment the week before the Ryder Cup, but he says equipment wasn't the story. He simply was too tired to put in the proper work getting adjusted to it. Coming out of a long offseason, Mickelson already has won twice this year.

What does that mean for future Ryder Cups? It wasn't long ago that Mickelson was considered the best player on the American team, even during Tiger Woods' reign at No. 1. But he was 1-3-0 at Oakland Hills, and only one of those three losses made it to the 18th hole.

``I have to find a way around that,'' Mickelson said of his post-majors fatigue. ``I have to accept the fact that I'm tired, but I've got to find a way to bring out my best golf for that event. It's not just me, but the whole team really hasn't played our best golf in that event.''

Don't be surprised if Mickelson is scarcely seen after the PGA this year, unless something is riding on the outcome. He missed the Tour Championship in 2001 because of the birth of his second child, and he believes the PGA Tour season is longer than it needs to be.

That could change if he's in the running for player of the year, or has a chance to win the money title.

``All those things need to be considered,'' he said. ``But what happens for me personally is my kids start school at the end of August and it's a lot harder for them to travel. And I'd rather be home.''

 

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