AUGUSTA, Ga. – Phil Mickelson may not have looked like the guy who won three Masters most of the last two seasons, but he says he’s beginning to feel like the guy.
“I think driving down Magnolia Lane is rejuvenating,” Mickelson said. “It gives me a new energy. It's exciting, and I think that energy helps me work hard, play hard and focus better and play my best.”
Winless for almost 22 months, since his British Open victory in 2013, Mickelson is coming off a T-17 finish at the Shell Houston Open last week. He was in the hunt until falling away with a 75 on Saturday. He recorded just one top-10 finish all of last season on the PGA Tour and is still looking for his first this year. He thinks an upturn is coming.
“This last year and a half has not been my best,” Mickelson said. “It's been terrible. Feels like it's slowly getting better. The last couple of weeks were a good couple of weeks for me, because I got my aggressive play back. I got a lot of birdies again.
“That's what I kind of needed to do first, to start making birdies again. Now that I've been doing that, I've got to try and eliminate some mistakes and see if I can put it together for a good week. I'm excited with what's going to happen the rest of the year. I'm excited with where I see my game going.”
Mickelson won Masters titles in 2004, ’06 and ’10. He missed the cut last year, just his second MC at Augusta National in 22 years playing the Masters. He was, however, second at the PGA Championship late last summer, his last start in a major.
There’s confidence and a certain comfort level returning to Augusta National.
“The thing about Augusta is that for me, personally, I don't feel like I have to be perfect, so it relaxes me,” Mickelson said. “Even though I may not have my best stuff on any given day, I still feel like I can shoot in the 60s, and I still feel like I can make pars and birdie to shoot a decent number.”