Phil still looking for answers despite 'stepping stone'


PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. – Phil Mickelson returned to TPC Sawgrass, where he won the 2007 Players, and still didn’t have any answers for his inconsistent play this season.

Following his tie for 11th place at the Wells Fargo Championship, his best finish on the PGA Tour this season despite poor putting on Friday and Sunday, Lefty called his week a “stepping stone.”

“I feel like I'm driving the ball longer and straighter than I have in years.  I feel like my long iron play has been better than it's ever been, I feel like my short iron play has been sharp. I feel good with the putter,” he said. “But I've had off days with each one, and I haven't been able to put it together.”

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The biggest issue at Quail Hollow was putting. He took 34 and 33 putts on Friday and Sunday, respectively, and spent Monday looking for answers for about an hour with his putting coach Dave Stockton Sr. at TPC Sawgrass.

Mickelson planned to play a practice round on Monday at Pinehurst, site of this year’s U.S. Open, but couldn’t get a solo tee time and decided to get in some extra work with Stockton instead.

Lefty also got in a unique challenge late in his Tuesday practice round with Dustin Johnson and Rickie Fowler. Mickelson hit right-handed into the island-green 17th hole and Fowler and Johnson played left-handed. Only Fowler avoided the water hazard.

“I wasn't very successful in my attempts, but we had some fun flipping clubs around and trying to hit it the other way,” Mickelson said.