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Phil Mickelson excited about 2009 season

Phil Mickelson regrets wasting a few golden opportunities during his 2008 campaign in the absence of Tiger Woods but is excited about his prospects for next season.

Although the American left-hander failed to take advantage after Woods was sidelined for the second half of the PGA Tour, he believes he is close to regaining his best form.

“We want to look forward,” world number three Mickelson said during a conference call to promote this month’s Skins Game in Indian Wells, California.

“I look back on ‘08 and, even though it wasn’t what I wanted, there are some positives that I take from it. I try to take that into ‘09 and add to it.

“It (2008) was a consistent year when I would have liked to have had more victories, but I thought I played week-in and week-out fairly well.”

Mickelson won twice in 21 starts on the 2008 PGA Tour while piling up $5,188,875 in earnings but has not claimed a major title since the 2006 U.S. Masters.

Many fans believed he was the best equipped player to take advantage when top-ranked Woods shut down his season to have reconstructive knee surgery after winning the U.S. Open in June.

However, Mickelson tied for 19th and seventh respectively at the British Open and PGA Championship which followed, with Ireland’s Padraig Harrington triumphing in both majors.

“As far as a missed opportunity, certainly Padraig took advantage of the opportunity and won a couple of majors,” Mickelson said. “That’s what I was hoping to do.

“The only thing that I can look at is I just didn’t play my best and I need to find ways to get my best golf out.

“This year I actually struck the ball quite well in every major but I did not putt anywhere near as well so I’ve been addressing that. Fortunately, the last four or five events I’ve played in, I’ve putted very well.”

Although the timing of Woods’s return next year is not certain, the world number one is almost sure to return for the season’s first major, the April 9-12 Masters.

“I certainly am excited for him to come back,” Mickelson said. “I know that’s probably not what you expect to hear but, as well as the entire golfing world, I can’t wait for his return.

“I miss him as a player. I miss him as a person. I miss trying to track him down because that always is a great challenge.”

Champion at Augusta National in 2004 and 2006, Mickelson is particularly looking forward to next year’s Masters.

“I’m a little biased, having won it twice, but it is such an amazing place, an amazing experience,” the 38-year-old said. “As a professional golfer, that’s the tournament that I’ll be gearing for.

“Having not won (a major) the last couple of years, I’m certainly hungry to get another major championship.”

Mickelson will compete in the Skins Game at Indian Wells from Nov. 29-30 with fellow American Rocco Mediate, South Korea’s K.J. Choi and holder Stephen Ames of Canada.

 

 




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