Springfield - Phil Mickelson, still
smarting from a loss to Henrik Stenson at the British Open two weeks ago, hopes
duplicating his final-round performance will let him bounce back with a PGA
The 46-year-old US left-hander returns to
Baltusrol, where he won the 2005 PGA title, intent upon not letting a chance to
win a major title pass due to disappointment.
"What I want to do is just play to
that level that I played at the British Open. I have to try to believe that it
will be enough this time, if I'm able to duplicate that performance,"
"So that's kind of the goal and the
game plan, to not force the issue, but to just go play and trust that I'm
hitting a lot of good shots and trust that I'll make some putts and just try to
go shoot a number and not try to worry about it.
"But that's easier said than
Mickelson fired a final-round 65 at Royal
Troon and finished at 17-under par 267, good enough to win 141 prior British
Opens but not that one as Sweden's Stenson fired a 63, matching the low round
in major history, to finish on 20-under 264, setting a low-aggregate major and
matching the all-time major sub-par mark.
"We pushed each other to the limit,
trading punches and blows all the way," Stenson said. "We both wanted
it badly and we performed so well because of each other. I'm just delighted I
managed to win it.
"A lot of the best players that have
ever played the game are giving us credit for how we played. That's obviously
very pleasing and very humbling."
Mickelson will wait to put it into
"I'll look back over time and my
disappointment will probably increase because I think it's the first time in my
career that I have played to that level of golf and not had it be enough to
win," Mickelson said. "That's a disappointing thing because I would
have loved to have added another Claret Jug.
"But because we have big tournaments
coming up right now and because I am playing well, I don't want to (squander)
another really good opportunity at a course I like while my game is sharp and
let the effects or disappointment linger.
"The idea is just to get back and
start playing at that level again and hopefully it will be enough this
Mickelson joked that he wouldn't have done
anything different in the final round "other than maybe go over to
Stenson's bag and bend his putter a little bit. That's probably the only thing
I could have done and had a chance."
It's a laugh by a guy who is having more
fun and playing stress free at the level he expects to perform.
And the last time he was at Baltusrol, he
won a major that backed up his prior win at the Masters and even helped him
secure another green jacket.
"It was important for me to validate
my Masters win in 2004, because I had said going in that when I win one, that
I'm going to win multiple - it wasn't going to be just a one-and-done,"
"I needed to come back in a fairly
short time period and validate that first win. So that's what winning here at
the PGA did, and it also gave me confidence to come back and win the following
Masters a few months later."
Mickelson would be the fourth-oldest major
champion in history with a victory this week at 46 years, one month and 15
days. He would trail only fellow 46-year-olds Jack Nicklaus from the 1986
Masters and Old Tom Morris from the 1867 British Open and the record of age 48
by Julius Boros at the 1968 PGA Championship.
And "Lefty" doesn't see his
chances of winning a major dwindling.
"I don't believe there is a small
window. I think there's a really big window of opportunity to add to my resume,
to continue to compete in big events," said Mickelson.
"The feel and sensitivity of hitting
shots, the ability to play golf courses a certain way, to visualise, to make
birdies, to pull shots off - that has not diminished."