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PHIL MICKELSON RELATED STORIES





Phil Mickelson looking to end season on a high note

Phil Mickelson has produced a strong finish to a turbulent year off the course and the world number two credits an improved performance on the greens for helping him end his season on a high note.

Mickelson stormed to a pair of early victories on the PGA Tour and fifth place at the U.S. Masters before his wife Amy was diagnosed with breast cancer and the popular Californian opted to put his season on hold to spend more time with his family.

A brief return to action was halted again after an emotional second-place finish at the U.S. Open to Lucas Glover in June when his mother was also diagnosed with breast cancer and Mickelson took a second sabbatical before returning to action in August.

His results improved steadily and he capped a strong end to the PGA season with last month’s win at the Tour Championship in Atlanta and by helping the U.S. team retain the Presidents Cup.

“It’s been an interesting year,” Mickelson told reporters after completing a practice round for this week’s co-sanctioned Singapore Open on Tuesday.

“The last few weeks I started to play very well but I have had some interesting things go on throughout the year that has made this year unique,” he added.

“Fortunately, I have been able to return to the course and started playing well again.

“Looking back, having won three times in the U.S., it’s been an okay year. I would have liked to have won a major and had opportunities at the U.S. Open and Masters but just couldn’t pull through.”

Mickelson is winding down his schedule with an Asian swing that takes in the Singapore Open and next week’s HSBC Champions in Shanghai and the 39-year-old has been buoyed by the positive recent results following extensive work on his short game.

“My putting has really improved. Since I began working with (swing coach) Butch Harmon I have been striking the ball better than ever, hitting it more confidently and driving the ball straighter and longer than I ever,” he said.

“However, I have not had the scores or the results because my performance on the greens has been bad over the past two years… I have not been consistently at a high level.

“Working with (putting coach) Dave Stockton has got me back the way I have always putted. I had slowly gravitated away from some of the techniques and feel I have grown up playing.

“He has reaffirmed all I believe in my short game. Hearing it from a guy has won two PGAs had validated what I knew.”

Mickelson also feels the development of golf internationally will benefit by the abridged PGA Tour season and the sport’s successful bid to be included as an Olympic event from the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

“Our season in the U.S. has been shortened and that allows many of the top players to play internationally and allows me to come here and compete,” Mickelson said.

“I am hoping this will help grow the game in addition to the Olympics.

“The Olympic Foundations will direct a lot of money towards the educating and teaching of juniors. I think the game of golf will finally get the recognition it deserves.”

 

October 27, 2009




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