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Phil Mickelson rates Medinah a fair test

Phil Mickelson believes strategy rather than power will decide this year's U.S. PGA Championship at the ultra-long Medinah Country Club in Illinois.

Although Medinah's No. 3 Course will be the longest in major history at 7,561 yards for the Aug. 17-20 tournament, Mickelson does not anticipate any particular style of player having a significant advantage.

"I think is that this is a golf course that shows its greatness in the fact that it is not a one-dimensional course," the U.S. Masters champion said in a teleconference call on Tuesday.

"It's open for great play from any style of player.

"You have a huge advantage if you hit the ball short but in play, and you have a big advantage if you're able to drive the ball long and have shorter shots into the greens, provided again you're in play.

"So it doesn't favour any one style of player," added Mickelson, who won last year's PGA Championship at Baltusrol by a stroke. "You will have to be very sharp on these big and fast, undulating greens.

"You'll have to be smart in your approach shot, keep the ball under the hole because the greens are severely pitched from back to front.

"Those requirements don't favour one style of player; I think it opens itself up to every golfer who's playing well."

The par-72 course No. 3 Course measured 7,401 yards when it staged the 1999 U.S. PGA Championship won by Tiger Woods.

Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin was previously the longest major venue, playing 7,514 yards off the back tees when it hosted the 2004 U.S. PGA Championship.

Left-hander Mickelson plans to make his usual course reconnaissance a few weeks before launching his title defence.

"My anticipation will be after the (July 20-23) British Open I'll come into Chicago and spend three to five days out at Medinah," said the 35-year-old, who clinched his third major victory at the Masters in April.

"I'll see the intricacies of the golf course and better understand all the challenges that the course presents.

"And not just the length off the tee, but the challenges that the greens present and how tough some of the pin placements are, to work on the shots that I'll need to be successful at Medinah."

Mickelson has fond memories of Medinah.

"It was my first major championship that I've ever played in, the U.S. Open in 1990, and it started an incredible run of 0 for 46 in the majors," he jested, referring to his victory drought in the game's elite events until his breakthrough win at the 2004 Masters.

"After last year's success at Baltusrol, it has really given me a special feeling for the PGA Championship," Mickelson added.

"And the thing that I loved so much about winning this great championship was there were six months in between majors, and I was able to really enjoy the off-season.

"I'm looking forward to coming back in August, although I haven't really been able to look too far ahead to the PGA Championship, as we still have two majors in between."

The U.S. Open takes place at Winged Foot in Mamaroneck, New York from June 15-18, followed by the British Open at Hoylake in northwest England.

 




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