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Thursday, November 1, 2012

Phil Likes China

Bubba Watson does too. As I'm writing this, both are tied at -4 -- a mere stroke behind leader Julien Quesne. Needless to say, this is a good showing for Phil.

After all, this is his first tournament since the Ryder Cup. His scorecard (at this point anyway) is flawless -- 4 birdies and the rest pars. His putting touch also looks to be good, so that may bode well for him this week. He's won this event twice before.

In a Tour Report segment at, Brian Wacker wrote about Phil not being over the Ryder Cup loss yet. But he mentioned an interesting side effect of the Cup, which I'm going to quote here (you can read the full article by clicking the link):
There was, however, a silver lining in Mickelson’s eyes: The partnership he and Keegan Bradley forged. The two went 3-0 playing together and in doing so Mickelson saw some areas of his own game that he needs to improve on.

“I have this new kind of excitement and energy that Keegan has, and it’s rubbed off on me and I am excited to play and work and practice,” Mickelson said. “When we played alternate shot and I was hitting the ball from the middle of the fairway way down there, we were shooting some low scores.

“If I could drive the ball the way Keegan did, I would really have some opportunities and chances to do something special in my career.”

Indeed. Mickelson’s best year driving the ball in the last 10 years came in 2004 — the same year he won his first career major.

“I think [Mickelson] is going to try to focus in on getting the ball in the fairway more and in play, because he’s the absolute best iron player I’ve ever seen,” Bradley said. “If he can do that more consistently, he’ll win so many times more and he’ll be competitive well past and in his 50s.”
This caught my eye because Phil said he's been so excited to practice (leading up to this event) that he couldn't wait to get out to the course. And his driving has been immaculate so far -- at least, what I've seen on TV.

If Phil has truly committed himself to improved driving, he just might go on another tear like he did back in 2004. Wouldn't that make the 2013 season a lot more interesting?

It's certainly making this WGC-HSBC Champions more interesting. By the end of the week, Phil might have another reason to like China.

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