Found August 06, 2013 on Fox Sports:
Farmers_insurance_open_b693
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By PAUL NEWBERRY AP National Writer Phil Mickelson looks at himself differently these days. Sure, there's a bit of uncertainty in the grogginess of morning, when he wakes up wondering if that claret jug really belongs to him for a whole year. Then - yep - there it is, his name engraved on the silver chalice. For Lefty, it's all gravy from this point on. He feels complete. ''The British Open really changed some of my perception of myself as a player,'' Mickelson said Tuesday after a practice round at Oak Hill for the final major of the year, the PGA Championship. ''Had I won another green jacket, that would not have done the same thing as what winning the claret jug has done.'' Mickelson is a little over two weeks removed from one of the greatest closing rounds in major championship history, a 5-under 66 at rock-hard Muirfield to claim golf's oldest crown. It was the leg of the career Grand Slam that always figured to elude him. His game was built for the target golf played in America, complete with an array of soaring drives and wondrous wedges. But, over four days along the Scottish coast, Mickelson showed he could grind it out better than anyone on a tabletop of a course, imagining shots that go against everything he's supposed to be about - then pulling them off. ''In my mind, it is an accomplishment in my career that makes me more of a complete player,'' he said. ''To finally have won that and break through and play some of my best golf ever in my final round, that kind of changes the way I view myself and my game, more so than just a major championship that I had already won.'' Mickelson has already won the PGA Championship, back in 2005 at Baltusrol. That's not to say he doesn't want to add a few more majors to a resume that already ensures he'll be remembered as one of the game's greatest players. He's never been this confident about his chances. ''I'm more motivated than ever to work hard to succeed, because I can taste some of my best golf coming out,'' Mickelson said, his voice and demeanor just oozing confidence. ''I can feel it.'' At 43, he's already a man in full, complete with five major championships. Only 11 golfers have won more. But don't get him wrong - he's driven to complete a career Grand Slam, merely lacking a victory in the U.S. Open, where he's been the runner-up a record six times. ''I feel as though I started to play my best golf in the last four, five, six months,'' he said. ''I feel like I've keyed in on two areas that I've struggled with for years, which is putting and off the tee. I feel very confident in my ability to get the ball in play off the tee, and I feel very confident in my ability on the greens now. ''I've turned weaknesses into strengths,'' he went on, ''and this serves me well in major championships. I feel like now the major championships are possibly the easiest ones for me to be in contention and maybe even win.'' At home in California, Mickelson had a practice facility built right in his yard, allowing him to work on shots when there's nothing on the line, no fans shouting his name. ''I enjoy walking out after dinner and hitting some putts and hitting some chips and hitting some balls,'' he said. ''I find it very calming and very serene being out there doing what I've always loved to do.'' He's still fending off the next generation, giving players who aren't even half his age a lesson in how this profession is supposed to work - on and off the course. If it means spending a good half-hour or more signing autographs after a practice round, as Mickelson did Tuesday for the throngs clamoring for a piece of him on a warm, sunny day at Oak Hill - well, that's part of the game, too. ''He's a guy that I've always looked up to, been a fan of,'' said 20-year-old Jordan Spieth. ''I don't know anybody who is not a fan of Phil.'' Well, maybe one. When Tiger Woods was asked about their personal relationship, he danced around the question as much as possible before finally closing with a terse ''it's been a lot of fun.'' Mickelson was more gracious, conceding his record doesn't come close to matching Woods and those 14 major titles, marveling at his rival's remarkable consistency over a professional career that's approaching two decades. ''He's a great motivator for me. He's helped me work hard,'' Mickelson said. ''He's helped me put forth the effort to try to compete at the highest level year in and year out, and I've loved competing against him. He's really brought the best out of me, especially when we've been paired together, and I hope that we are able to play together for many more years.'' They're certainly not going anywhere at the moment. While Woods is mired in the longest major drought of his career, he's won five times this year on the PGA Tour, is ranked No. 1 in the world, and is coming off a seven-shot victory at the Bridgestone. Mickelson is right behind him in the rankings, two exquisite players who have been the face of American golf for so long. ''I'm as motivated as ever to compete and to play and get the best golf out of me, to hopefully play against Tiger when he's playing his best,'' Lefty said. ''That would ultimately be the goal - I play as well as I can at the same time he's doing the same. ''I would love that opportunity.'' --- Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pnewberry1963
THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

Phil Mickelson Almost Forgets to Register for PGA Championship, Risked Disqualification From Tournament

If showing up is half the battle then registering is the other 50 percent. Phil Mickelson holds the No. 2 ranking in the world and he is coming off an impressive victory at the Open Championship three weeks ago, but “Lefty” risked disqualification from the PGA Championship when he almost forgot to register for the event. The tournament is slated to begin Thursday, but as of Wednesday...
BETTER LATE THAN NEVER

Mickelson nearly missed registration

Phil Mickelson nearly forgot to register for the PGA Championship but managed to sneak in just in time, racing into the Oak Hill clubhouse Wednesday wearing flip-flops.

Mickelson still riding Open high

Phil Mickelson looks at himself differently these days. Sure, there's a bit of uncertainty in the grogginess of morning, when he wakes up wondering if that claret jug really belongs to him for a whole year. Then -- yep -- there it is, his name engraved on the silver chalice. For Lefty, it's all gravy from this point on. He feels complete. ''The British Open really...

Lefty almost left out of PGA Championship

Among the things one should do before playing in the PGA Championship, registering for the PGA Championship should probably be the top priority. No one apparently told that to Phil Mickelson, however, and as a result, the Open Championship winner nearly missed out on this weekend's festivities at Oak Hill Country Club. According to the Golf Channel , Mickelson did not play...

Golf's best rivalry still going strong

It has been said there are two kinds of players who putt well -- those with great putters, and those with great swings. In other words: Clashing styles with a shared result, excellence. Both categories help explain the career success of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson. Each is long off the tee. Each is an excellent putter, albeit Mickelson has been streakier. Both categories also...

Tiger Woods celebrates PGA win with son: ‘This is the first win he’s ever been at’

Tiger Woods coasted to a seven-shot victory at the Bridgestone Invitational after parring 16 holes in an even-par 70 Sunday for his eighth win at the event. “As blustery as it was, it was going to be really hard for someone to shoot 62 or 63,” Woods said, via the Associated 

Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson Favorites for PGA Championship, But Several Other Challengers Lurk

The fourth and final PGA major of the season is upon us, giving Tiger Woods one final chance this year to fight for the 15th major title of his career. The 37-year-old has 4-1 odds of winning the PGA Championship, according to oddsmakers, but fans that like to back the veteran know to approach the last major of the 2013 season with caution. Woods was given good chances in the other...

Tiger Woods at PGA Championship: ‘I’m still right there’

Tiger Woods shot a 1-over-par 71 Thursday at Oak Hill Country Club after he double-bogeyed the final hole. Woods, who trails clubhouse leader Jim Furyk by six shots, had just two birdies, failing to take advantage of the relatively good scoring conditions. “The round realistically could have been under par easily,” said 

5 best closing rounds in the PGA Championship

Even as golf embarks on the final major of the year at the PGA Championship, still fresh in the mind is the closing round Phil Mickelson put together at Muirfield to win the British Open. He birdied four of the last six holes for a 6-under 66, the best round of the day in demanding conditions. It matched the low round of the week and was 7.5 shots better than the average score that...

PGA Championship has major problem

Phil Mickelson was elated. Tiger Woods was frustrated. Lee Westwood was trying to pretend he wasn't disheartened. That was the British Open. That was only 15 days ago. Time to move on to the next major. Monday was the first official day of practice for the PGA Championship, which feels more like the next page than a new chapter. ''They come fast and quick once the...

Tiger Woods: It’s been a ‘great year’ even if I don’t win PGA Championship

Tiger Woods, coming off a victory at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Sunday, the 79th of his PGA Tour career, will now try to capture his 15th major title this week at Oak Hill Country Club.  He hasn’t won a major since the 2008 U.S. Open. Woods admits that winning his 15th major has been the hardest hurdle 

PGA Championship could use some separation

(Eds: With AP Photos.) By DOUG FERGUSON AP Golf Writer Phil Mickelson was elated. Tiger Woods was frustrated. Lee Westwood was trying to pretend he wasn't disheartened. That was the British Open. That was only 15 days ago. Time to move on to the next major. Monday was the first official day of practice for the PGA Championship, which feels more like the next page than a new...
Golf News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.