Posted by: John K. Abendroth, PGA
Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 3:42 PM
As the PGA Tour season for 2013 begins, Phil Mickelson begins the year as one of the most interesting and compelling stories in the world of golf. To use the old marketing line from his Ford ads..."What will Phil do next/?"
In an interview recently, Phil said he has had the flu and was not able to practice very hard prior to the Humana event in Palm Springs, would start slow there, but end up T-37. The following week at San Diego he would barely make the cut at -1 on the Torrey Pines courses where he has played so much golf over the years.
Phil said he had a couple of break-throughs in his game this winter that improved his driving and putting which includes a new Versa Callaway putter that has distinct black and white colors that allows him to line up the putter better and have him not needing to think as much. As the year begins his putting has not been stellar missing short putts on a number of occasions. Lefty says that last year his iron game held him together but the driver and putter where still the parts of his game he needed to work on. On his putting Phil says he is not working with Dave Stockton as much as he did, but does check in with him from time to time. Overall Phil says he is very happy with him game and that it does not need as much attention and change as in the past, it is more self sufficent now.
In 2012 Mickelson started strong with an 8-stroke comeback on the last day to win the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am playing with Tiger Woods the last day and would have a second the following week. You would think the win would be a great jump start for Phil, but he had a fairly flat year for the most part.
Mickelson would talk about Pebble Beach being a favorite place for him to play and has learned patience in playing that course that takes him back to a time when he played in the California State Amateur. Phil has a warm spot in his heart for Pebble Beach as his Grandfather caddied at Pebble for 35 cents per round. Phil carries a silver dollar that belonged to his Grandfather and spoke about how the coin gave his Grandfather the feeling that no matter how tough things were...he always had a dollar in his pocket. I asked Phil if his caddy "Bones" Mackay ever caddied for him for 35 cents in honor of his Grandfather...Phil laughed and said that Bones would often buy him a soda after the round.
So...what will Phil do next. I will predict that if his soft start continues this way for 2013, you will see a different grip and different putter at some time, but he will win this year and contend at Augusta.
Phil if fun to watch and as I noted earlier he is one of the most interesting and compelling stories, in the world of golf all that leads to the term..."What will Phil do next?"