AKRON, Ohio – So much for Phil Mickelson’s eternal optimism.
Despite underwhelming performances throughout much of this season, Mickelson has been steadfast in proclaiming that he’s close to playing great golf once again.
That refrain changed after a 1-under 69 at the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational on Saturday.
“My short irons have been pathetic,” he explained. “I'm not hitting the ball close. I'm not making many birdies. I played pretty well today, and I made two birdies. That's just not going to cut it.
“The bottom line is, if I have to get the ball on the fairway, I'm hitting this 2 iron on the fairway, and I'm averaging over 90 percent with the 2 iron from the Scottish and the British and here. I hit a lot of fairways with that club. If I have to get on the fairway, I can, but I'm just not hitting my short irons close. That's the one factor right now that's really holding me back, because I'm just not making enough birdies.”
Mickelson, who opened with rounds of 71-73 at Firestone before Saturday’s 69, said he needs to turn things around in order to contend at next week’s PGA Championship.
“I've got a little work to do on my game. It's been a long time since I've played well, and it's been more of a struggle than I thought it would be. I thought it would come back a little bit quicker. I felt really close at the British and Scottish. I thought it was going to click. And then the first two rounds here were disappointing.”