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Phil Mickelson to change Open preparation

Phil Mickelson has decided on a different strategy to prepare for this year's British Open and will skip the previous week's Scottish Open at Loch Lomond.

"I haven't played well in the British Open after playing in Loch Lomond, so I'm going to try something a little different this year," Mickelson told reporters on Wednesday as he prepared for his Pebble Beach National Pro-Am title defence.

"I will not play Loch Lomond, instead I'll go into Hoylake early and practice there."

Royal Liverpool Golf Club at Hoylake in north-west England will host the British Open, the third of the year's four major championships, from July 20-23.

World number four Mickelson has achieved mixed results at the last three British Opens after playing in the Scottish Open the previous week.

He tied for 59th at Royal St George's in 2003, finished a career-best third at Royal Troon in 2004 and shared 60th place at St Andrews last year.

"I'm still trying to find something that works the best for that event," twice major winner Mickelson added. "It's still a little awkward for me."

The left-hander has also not fared well at the Scottish Open. In 2003, he tied for 35th, he missed the cut in 2004 and languished in a share of 44th last year.

"I haven't played well there," he said. "This year, I'll have the Western (Open), which I haven't played in the past. I'll probably end up playing there so I don't have too big a gap between competitive rounds."

The PGA Tour's Western Open will be played at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Illinois from July 6-9, two weeks before the British Open.

Mickelson, who made his major breakthrough at the 2004 U.S. Masters before claiming last year's U.S. PGA Championship at Baltusrol, is known for his meticulous approach to the game's biggest events.

"It took me a while, years, to figure out what works best for me," he said. "Now that l've figured it out, I just stay with it.

"I realise that for me to play the week before the major helps me and also for me to go in a couple of weeks early to prepare and learn the course and so forth.

"I've played best in those majors when I seem to do that."

February 9, 2006


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