Harmon likes Mickelson's 'conservative' game plan


GULLANE, Scotland – If Phil Mickelson sounded borderline effusive over his chances this week at Muirfield it was for good reason. The same, risk-management game plan that brought him to within three holes of a U.S. Open title lives on for Lefty this week at the Open Championship.

“It’s very similar to Merion,” said Butch Harmon, Mickelson’s swing coach who walked with the left-hander during Tuesday’s practice round. “I like his game plan here. It is conservative, the same as at Castle Stuart (where Mickelson won last week’s Scottish Open)

“It takes away his desire to bomb it. He feels good about the place and got a lot of confidence in the wind after last week.”

Harmon told GolfChannel.com that Mickelson will likely only hit 3-wood twice a day – at the par-5 fifth and ninth holes – and Lefty isn’t carrying a driver this week, just like at Merion and last week at Castle Stuart.

Instead, Mickelson plans a steady diet of long irons from most tees in an attempt to “get it on the grass,” Harmon said.

Harmon also said Mickelson’s affinity for Muirfield – which he said on Tuesday he considered his best chance, along with Royal Troon, to claim an Open title – is a combination of a solid swing and an ability to clearly see the lines from nearly every tee.