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Thursday, June 7, 2018

How Will Phil Play This Week?

Perhaps the more obvious question is, WHY is Phil playing this week? After all, he finished T5 at Wells Fargo the week before THE PLAYERS... and then missed the cut. He said he was too tired when he arrived at Sawgrass.

Phil Mickelson

It begs the question, doesn't it? The US Open is next week, the major he needs for the career Grand Slam... and the one where he has finished runner-up six times. He NEEDS to be fresh!

We all know he likes to play the week before a major, in order to sharpen his game. It has worked in the past, but that's when he was younger. This strategy may be less effective as he ages.

And while the analysts may forget, I think his arthritis is part of the reason he tires more easily these days. Anyone who takes a medicine regularly can tell you that, although they're grateful for the medicine and that it helps with whatever condition it's meant to control, the medicine itself has an effect on their bodies... and typically, tiring more easily is one of those effects. That's just the way life is.

But I do think one thing is different this week. As Phil told the media about this week's course, TPC Southwind:
“I feel the best way for me to prepare for the U.S. Open is to get in contention and get sharp mentally and with my game,” Mickelson said. “That’s what playing here in Memphis does. Precision is a key factor at this course.

“[TPC Southwind] doesn’t beat you up with length, you don’t have to go out and bomb it. You’ve got to be precise with every shot off the tee.”
Quail Hollow is long and demanding, and I don't think Phil took that into account. He shot 64-69 on the weekend on a course that plays roughly 7600 yards. That's probably not the best strategy to keep yourself fresh. But TPC Southwind is under 7250 yards, and Phil routinely plays well there.

So how will Phil play this week? I know what he should do. He should forget about winning the tournament and just work on getting the ball in play and putting decently. If he does that AND somehow wins the event, that's fine.

But I'm afraid Phil will go all out to try and win this event, especially since he has two T2s and a T3 in the last five years. And if he does that, with Shinnecock scheduled to play around 7450 yards, what will happen next week is anyone's guess.

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